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Article
Publication date: 13 February 2009

Hugo van Driel and Wilfred Dolfsma

The purpose of this paper is to disentangle and elaborate on the constitutive elements of the concept of path dependence (initial conditions and lock‐in) for a concerted…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to disentangle and elaborate on the constitutive elements of the concept of path dependence (initial conditions and lock‐in) for a concerted and in‐depth application to the study of organizational change.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach takes the form of a combination of a longitudinal and a comparative case‐study, based on secondary literature.

Findings

External initial conditions acted less as “imprinting” forces than is suggested in the literature on the genesis of the Toyota production system (TPS); a firm‐specific philosophy in combination with a critical sequence of events mainly shaped and locked‐in TPS.

Research limitations/implications

The empirical sources are limited to publications in English, so relevant factors explaining the path taken may not all have been included. The importance of a salient meta‐routine might be firm‐specific.

Practical implications

The study contributes to understanding the factors underlying corporate performance by a critical re‐examination of a much heralded production system (TPS).

Originality/value

The paper highlights the use of the concept of meta‐routines to connect the core elements of path dependence, that is, sensitivity to initial conditions and lock‐in mechanisms.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 22 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

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Article
Publication date: 11 January 2011

M.L. Emiliani and P.J. Seymour

The purpose of this paper is to introduce management historians to the long‐forgotten work of Frank George Woollard (1883‐1957), who in the mid‐1920s established flow…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to introduce management historians to the long‐forgotten work of Frank George Woollard (1883‐1957), who in the mid‐1920s established flow production in the British motor industry, and its remarkable similarity to current‐day production principles and practices used by Toyota Motor Corporation, also known as lean production.

Design/methodology/approach

Overview of Frank Woollard's life and work obtained from newly discovered journal papers, his 1954 book, Principles of Mass and Flow Production, newly discovered archives, and new first‐hand testimony from a close friend and from a long‐time family friend.

Findings

Frank Woollard was a pioneer in the establishment of flow production in the British motor industry in the mid‐1920s and the principal developer of automatic transfer machinery. His accomplishments are comparable to Taiichi Ohno, regarded as the architect of Toyota's production system.

Research limitations/implications

Woollard's accomplishments in flow production are a fruitful area for future research given the speed and completeness with which flow production was established at Morris Motors Ltd, Engines Branch. Newly discovered papers describing his flow production system have yet to be studied in detail by academics.

Practical implications

Woollard's application of flow production beginning in 1923 means that timelines for discoveries and attributions of key accomplishments in lean management must be reexamined and revised.

Originality/value

Woollard's work fills important gaps in the literature on the history of flow production generally and in the British motor industry in particular. His work constitutes an early application of current‐day lean principles and practices, and is therefore noteworthy and relevant to management historians and the operations and production management community. It is hoped that this paper will inspire management historians to study Woollard's work and place him in the context of other early twentieth‐century pioneers in industrial management and flow production.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 17 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

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Article
Publication date: 1 September 1997

Joseph Spina and Brian H. Kleiner

Excellent companies in the automative finance industry are considered so because of, among other things, their financial strength. In order for these companies to have…

Abstract

Excellent companies in the automative finance industry are considered so because of, among other things, their financial strength. In order for these companies to have achieved such status there have been strategies successfully executed by a committed workforce. Policies and procedures have been put in place in each company that ensures that employees are afforded certain basic benefits that protect their livelihood and others that reach beyond to create a more attractive environment that will help guarantee a long relationship between company and employee. The employee benefits of Toyota Motor Credit Corporation, Ford Motor Credit and Nissan Motors Acceptance Corporation are explored here in an effort to illustrate why these companies have succeeded, why some have succeeded more than others and, very importantly, how these companies are affected by the benefits that are put in place as a means of achieving long term success.

Details

Management Research News, vol. 20 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0140-9174

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2006

M.L. Emiliani

The purpose of this paper is to provide a historical account of the significant role that Connecticut businesses and business leaders had in the spread of Lean management…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a historical account of the significant role that Connecticut businesses and business leaders had in the spread of Lean management throughout the USA. The paper aims to describe what happens when managers do not understand and apply an important principle of Lean management.

Design/methodology/approach

Survey of published and unpublished records, as well as personal communications with key figures.

Findings

Establishes the role and importance of Connecticut businesses and business leaders in the discovery and dissemination of Lean management in America since 1979, external to Toyota and its affiliated suppliers.

Research limitations/implications

The accuracy of some past events necessarily relies on the recollection of key figures that were obtained by personal communications.

Practical implications

Describes how an important principle, “respect for people,” was not understood by most management practitioners, thus hindering efforts to correctly practice Lean management and improve business performance.

Originality/value

The paper provides a historical account of Lean management in America, focusing on activities that occurred in the State of Connecticut post‐1979. Description and relevance of a key area of misunderstanding among practitioners of the Lean management system.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2002

George K. Chacko, Kelvin Tan Thean Beng, Agatha Yeoh Siew Ling, Nazlina Nasihin, Harlimi Muhamad and Ong Jiun Jye

What should a Multi‐National Corporation (MNC) like UMW Toyota Motor Sdn. Bhd. set as its targeted growth in revenue by the Year 2020 to help its host country Malaysia…

Abstract

What should a Multi‐National Corporation (MNC) like UMW Toyota Motor Sdn. Bhd. set as its targeted growth in revenue by the Year 2020 to help its host country Malaysia realise its “Vision 2020”? To survive/succeed, Toyota has to anticipate its high technology niche, which is but a “Technological Gleam” today in the eye of Toyota’s “Technical Entrepreneur”. Significant segments of corporate resources will not be committed to the “Technological Gleam” unless the “Technical Entrepreneur” can present an irresistible transformation boost converting the Technology‐Push into Market‐Pull. What will be the market for the hitech product embodying the yet‐to‐emerge hitech? What present product is closest to the potential product? Can its life cycle profile be applied to the potential product? Using the theoretical structure of the Management Of TEchnology Protocol (MOTEP), we analyze Toyota’s transition from the present hybrid fuel (gasoline‐and‐hydrogen combination) to the potential hydrogen fuel in five years.

Details

Management Research News, vol. 25 no. 12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0140-9174

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Article
Publication date: 26 October 2010

Thomas L. Powers and Jocelyn L. Steward

In 1921, Alfred P. Sloan developed an extensive repositioning strategy that was instrumental to General Motors' success over the decades that followed. This paper aims to…

Abstract

Purpose

In 1921, Alfred P. Sloan developed an extensive repositioning strategy that was instrumental to General Motors' success over the decades that followed. This paper aims to provide a review of the development and evolution of this strategy and how the later deviation from this strategy was responsible for the company's marketplace decline and eventual bankruptcy.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reviews the historical 1921 repositioning strategy developed by Sloan and the specific models and price levels that were a part of this strategy. These price levels are then examined over the following decades to determine when and how this strategy was modified over time.

Findings

The findings indicate that although Sloan developed a brilliant strategy at the time of its inception, General Motors has over time deviated from its own historic and successful repositioning strategy. It is demonstrated that the deviation from the 1921 strategy has contributed to the decline in General Motors' market share and their bankruptcy in 2009. In addition, the 1921 strategy is compared to those of successful 21st century competition.

Originality/value

The research provides the reader with a historical review and analysis of the Sloan strategy and provides evidence that a historically successful marketing strategy can be applicable in other time periods for the company that developed it and for other competitors that make use of a similar strategy.

Details

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, vol. 2 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-750X

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1989

Powell Niland

New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. [NUMMI] was formed in February 1983, when General Motors Corporation and Toyota Motor Corporation agreed to establish a joint venture…

Abstract

New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. [NUMMI] was formed in February 1983, when General Motors Corporation and Toyota Motor Corporation agreed to establish a joint venture to produce Chevrolet Nova passenger automobiles in an already existing assembly plant, located in Fremont, California. General Motors had closed down the plant site in 1982. Each partner has a 50 percent interest in the joint venture.

Details

Planning Review, vol. 17 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0094-064X

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Article
Publication date: 12 June 2017

Wayne Gordon Macpherson and James C. Lockhart

For the past three decades, the dominant economic policy environment across the Anglosphere has assumed that industrial performance results from increasing national…

Abstract

Purpose

For the past three decades, the dominant economic policy environment across the Anglosphere has assumed that industrial performance results from increasing national competitiveness. The US Government and others have extensively used the tools of deregulation that emerged from the influential frameworks of Michael Porter and the Chicago School. That both the contributing analysis and attendant policy environment largely neglected the very source of national disadvantage, mostly Japanese industry in the 1970s and 1980s, remains surprising. What was going on in Japan at the time, and to some extent continues today, remains largely hidden. The aim of this paper is to expose one source of Japan’s influential competitive advantage – the human resource.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper, through the translation of a Japanese-language paper by Professor Emeritus Masaki Saruta, introduces the Japanese phenomenon of managed education in Aichi Prefecture, home of the Toyota Motor Corporation, and provides insight into the lifestyles of the Japanese workers who live and work in corporate castle towns that feed Toyota. Inductive content analysis was used to identify four themes that can be identified as the strategies used to produce a homogenous pool of labor that sustains the Toyota Way philosophy and Toyota Production System.

Findings

The content analysis identified four major themes: Toyota’s abnormal level of influence over local government, a unique education system of education management, a closed labor market and the homogeneity of labor. It is only now that business leaders in the Anglosphere are able to comprehend the vastness and depth of inculcation and nurturing policies of Toyota and other Japanese industrial giants – something business leaders in the Anglosphere today can only dream. It now becomes evident that Chandler’s visible hand remains alive and well, but critical drivers of its success in Japan and Toyota were largely invisible to the West.

Research limitations/implications

The research required the knowledge of one of Saruta’s works that is only published in Japanese, and therefore, inaccessible to researchers in the Anglosphere. The translation process and development of themes is reported in detail. The findings are then located in the broad context of national competitive advantage.

Practical implications

With the insight presented in this paper, business and government leaders may now be empowered to implement policies and practices to nurture a pool of labor more conducive with the organizational strategic policy. While leaders in the Anglosphere are able to implement policy, there also remains a new threat to economic sovereignty – the nurturing of human resources in the dormitories, refectories and shopping malls of industrial China.

Social implications

The development of a company-focused workforce to support corporate castle towns, one of the sources of national advantage, has been identified in this paper. The social implications are twofold. First, in Japan, the nature and influence of these towns are accepted and heralded by the community. Second, outside of Japan, and especially across the Anglosphere, these towns are a major source of competitive advantage.

Originality/value

Through the translation of original research published in the Japanese-language medium, this research provides otherwise inaccessible insight into the inner workings and effectively the “black box” of what was Japan Inc. in an era when business people in the West were playing catchup. As the debate on globalization extends to sovereignty across the Anglosphere, it is beholden on the academic community to provide effective solutions for industrial competitiveness.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

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Article
Publication date: 3 March 2020

Nicholas Loyd, Gregory Harris, Sampson Gholston and David Berkowitz

Few companies have had the success that Toyota Motor Corporation has experienced over the past 70 years. Many give credit for Toyota's success to the company's famous…

Abstract

Purpose

Few companies have had the success that Toyota Motor Corporation has experienced over the past 70 years. Many give credit for Toyota's success to the company's famous Toyota Production System. Companies outside of Toyota have tried to implement versions of Toyota's system as Lean production; however, few companies have experienced the success of Toyota, and none have experienced Toyota's sustained success. In 2001, Toyota released a publication entitled The Toyota Way 2001 as a set of globalized standards of the culture that drives the success of the Toyota Production System.

Design/methodology/approach

This research examines the effect of the Toyota Way on the implementation of Lean production outside of Toyota. A survey was developed and a study was performed on a sample of 349 participants with Lean experience. Structural equation modeling was used to test the relationship between the Toyota Way culture, Lean production, and achieving the desired Lean production system results.

Findings

The results of this research discovered that the existence of the Toyota Way culture has a significant and positive mediating effect on a Lean production system achieving the desired Lean results.

Originality/value

This research created a validated survey instrument that can be used to evaluate and understand the status of a Lean implementation initiative based upon employee perception. The results of this study support assertions made by Lean practitioners and previous research stating that culture affects the level of success of Lean production system implementation. While this may not seem like breaking news, prior to this study no statistically validated research supporting such an assertion could be found. Furthermore, this research defines culture very specifically as the Toyota Way culture as outlined in The Toyota Way 2001.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 31 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 13 July 2012

Victoria Miroshnik

The purpose of this paper is to examine whether a multinational company can transmit its corporate management system and operations management system from its domestic…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine whether a multinational company can transmit its corporate management system and operations management system from its domestic operation to its subsidiary located in a country with very different national culture.

Design/methodology/approach

This research proposes that it is possible for a multinational company to override differences in national culture and create a “company citizenship” across the globe, with similar corporate management and operations management system. Another purpose of this research is to show that it is not true that globalization would create just one single culture, originated in the USA and Western Europe, which is called “Jet‐Set Culture” by Freedman. Japanese multinational companies are spreading their own unique organizational values of their management system across the world in their subsidiaries. Thus, different multinational companies may create their own unique organizational culture that produces their own company citizenship, which can be spread globally. To prove these hypotheses, this paper has reported the result of a survey conducted in the domestic operations of the Toyota Motor Company (Toyota) and in its operations in India.

Findings

Core values of Toyota's management systems are derived from the values that are identified in the mission statement of Toyota. According to the results of the survey based on opinions of Toyota's employees, there are broad similarities in the values composing its management systems, irrespective of national locations. Thus, Toyota has managed to form the “company citizenship” in its headquarters in the host country, Japan, and successfully transmitted it in its subsidiary located in the host country, India, with an alien national culture.

Research limitations/implications

The paper shows that company citizenships of different companies, based on their unique organizational cultures, but not on their national cultures, are emerging as a new organizational form in this global era.

Practical implications

Different multinational companies may create their own unique organizational culture that produces their own company citizenship and which can be spread globally.

Originality/value

This paper proposes that there are some specific espoused values in every important multinational company, which form its organizational cultures and create values, which in turn may form commitment of its employees. These commitments are the indicator of successful performance of a company because creation of commitment leads to success of the company; this interrelationship between culture and commitment can be called company citizenship and can be transmitted from one part of the globe to another by a multinational company through the transmission of its corporate management and operations management system.

Details

Journal of Management Development, vol. 31 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0262-1711

Keywords

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