By Hidemasa Morikawa

This publication analyzes the head administration of best jap firms. Drawing at the paintings of Alfred Chandler, Morikawa demonstrates the variation among family-owned organizations and professionally controlled firms.

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Extra info for A History of Top Management in Japan: Managerial Enterprises and Family Enterprises

Sample text

The Examples of the Zaibatsu We have been examining the various processes by which companies are transformed from family enterprises into managerial enterprises. In Japan prior to the Second World War, there were a few other significant variations on this process, most notably that of the zaibatsu. Let us now take a few moments to explore this theme. My views concerning the zaibatsu system have drawn comments from researchers outside of Japan, a fact of which I’m most appreciative. Having said this, however, as in the example of Church, above, it can be problematic to enter into such discussions when it may be that the understanding of my views is not complete.

Although these rules, or customs, are not particular to Japan, I would like to use some Japanese examples to help expand our analysis and understanding. In the family precepts of merchants in the Edo era, which were widely introduced by Matao Miyamoto and others, there were a number of stipulations that prohibited family businesses from being treated as the private property of their owners. For example, the Konoike family had precepts stipulating that any family heir must observe the family precepts until the transfer of the enterprise to the next legitimate child.

Indeed, it is not unusual for a founder to maintain confidence in his abilities and his authority into ripe old age, even while his powers to think rationally and make judgments are diminishing. As a result, decisions can easily get made that harm the company, and the founder may unfairly intervene in personnel matters to ensure the entrenchment of “yes” men. Another common scenario is when a founder who has outlived his usefulness suddenly mixes his private affairs with company business, which lowers employee morale and creates unwieldy and unnecessary problems.

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