Japanese innovation processes

Masaharu Ota (Graduate School of Business, Osaka City University,Osaka City, Japan)
Yohsuke Hazama (Fujitsu Limited, Tokyo, Japan)
Danny Samson (Department of Management and Marketing, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Publication date: 15 February 2013



The aim of this study is to propose and test a model of innovation process management and to clarify the managerial strategies required to achieve it in Japanese enterprises.


The authors conducted empirical tests of the model using the data from the questionnaire surveys of Japanese companies, and an illustrative case study.


It was found that there was a high likelihood that the IP of Japanese companies thought to have had success with innovation matched the proposed model. The support for the model from the Japanese data is sufficiently strong so as to suggest that certain managerial factors should generally be implemented in order to succeed with innovation. The authors then conducted a case study on a notably prominent Japanese company, Toyota, interviewing senior executives both in Japan and Australia. This was done in order to further verify and enrich the findings of the model development and the empirical survey study. The authors found specific practices and capabilities that were statistically significant in Japan's manufacturing companies in general, which were also deeply engrained within Toyota in particular. The importance of structured process in Toyota in particular and generally in the Japanese manufacturing sector was confirmed, comprising scanning, idea occurrence, strategy formulation, resource procurement, implementation and value creation.


This study is one of few that shows the particular approach used in Japanese manufacturing companies. That systematic approach led Japanese manufacturing companies to be at the forefront of innovation for three decades from 1975, and able to successfully expand internationally.



Ota, M., Hazama, Y. and Samson, D. (2013), "Japanese innovation processes", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 33 No. 3, pp. 275-295. https://doi.org/10.1108/01443571311300773

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