Shifting Boundaries of the Firm: Japanese Company - Japanese Labour

ISBN : 9780199547036

Mari Sako
304 Pages
156 x 233 mm
Pub date
Jun 2008
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All firms wrestle with restructuring, involving consolidation of mergers and acquisitions on the one hand, and fragmentation through outsourcing and spin-offs on the other. Through an in-depth investigation into the organizational strategies of Japanese corporate management and union leaders in Japan, Mari Sako explores the issue of 'organizational boundaries' that arises from such restructuring. Examining the strategy and structure of both businesses and trade unions, the book draws upon empirical evidence drawn from interviews conducted at Toyota and Matsushita and their respective unions. It examines their respective strategies in coping with organizational boundaries against the backdrop of changing labour markets, and, in the process, challenges widely held notions about Japanese corporate and union structures. Mari Sako goes on to explore the implications of these relationships in other advanced industrial countries for corporate restructuring, jobs, and labour market flexibility.


1. Strategy, Structure, and Institutions of Management and Labour
2. From Factory to Enterprise, from Enterprise to Corporate Group
3. Strategy and Structure at Matsushita Group
4. Strategy and Structure at Toyota Group
5. Inter-Industry Differences: Criteria fro Union Boundary Decisions
6. Intra-Industry Differences I: Why Companies Differ
7. Intra-Industry Differencesx II: Why Unions Differ
8. Harmonization vs. Differentiation, Employment Security vs. Labour Flexibility
Appendix: List of Interviews

About the author: 

Mari Sako is Professor of International Business at the Said Business School, University of Oxford. An international expert on Japanese business, she has published widely on the issues of global coroporate strategy, comparative business systems, and human resource management. Her recent books include Are Skills the Answer? The Political Economy of Skill Creation in Advanced Industrial Countries (with Colin Crouch and Donald Finegold, OUP, 1999) and Japanese Labour and Management in Transition: Diversity, Flexibilty and Participation (edited with Hiroki Sato, Routledge, 1997).

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