Product and market diversification among Japanese multinational enterprises

Ken Steenlandt
Persbericht

Product and market diversification among Japanese multinational enterprises

Facebook: big business in de jaren 70 

 Facebook is in zijn essentie niet nieuw, de basisfunctie is: mensen laten netwerken. Wat het onderscheidt van de rest is: mensen in contact brengen die elkaar kennen. Laat dit nu het principe zijn van de keiretsu, simpelweg een facebook van Japanse ondernemingen die in informeel contact met elkaar opereren. Hun start op het internationaal podium kennen ze in de jaren 70, toen ze de rijzende sterren waren onder de noemer kaisha: de grote Japanse ondernemingen.  In plaats van administratieve rompslomp, was een woord genoeg als garantie. Dit zorgt ervoor dat deze bedrijven veel korter op de bal speelden. Een gemeenschappelijk doel voor ogen hadden en dat ze als een land groeiden, niet enkel enkele als grote bedrijfsspelers. Dit uitte zich op ieder niveau: geen massale ontslagen, vakbonden gegroepeerd per bedrijf in plaats van sector, .. Alles liep gesmeerd tot een eerste financiële crisis Japan raakte en de groei op een stop bracht.  In het kielzog van dit eiland kwamen landen als Korea (Samsung, L.G.) en China (Huawei, Lenovo). Deze volgden een analoog pad van Japan en zijn nu ook niet meer uit ons leven te denken. Toch is Japan lang niet uitgeteld, het is nog altijd de derde grootste industriële macht en brengt belangrijke bijdrages tot technologische innovaties. Het leek in dit licht interessant om te achterhalen wat een sleutel van het mogelijke succes zou kunnen zijn en in welke mate de keiretsu een rol spelen in dit verhaal.  Het komt eigenlijk neer op het volgende: helpt het de juiste mensen kennen of doe je het beter alleen? Dit hebben we gekoppeld aan het overkoepelend onderwerp: diversificatie. Diversificatie is het verkopen van verschillende goederen, diensten of het verkopen in verschillende landen. Het is al jaren een twistpaal tussen verschillende economische stromingen. We nemen de keiretsu bedrijven als maatstaf voor een gediversifieerd bedrijf. De keiretsu is onderverdeeld in acht grote families, waaronder de alom bekende Mitsubishi keiretsu.  Eerst hebben we hetgeen alreeds geschreven over diversificatie, keiretsu en zakendoen in Japan doorgenomen. Daar sprak er veel elkaar tegen, maar het toonde wel aan dat er flink cultuurverschil is tussen de Westerse en Japanse bedrijfssfeer. Dan hebben we een set van intuïtieve berekeningen verricht op data verkregen via Bureau Van Dijk. We werkten op basis van omzet en winstcijfers van de keiretsu bedrijven en gewone bedrijven van de top 250 best presterende Japanse bedrijven.  We namen 2001 als een basisjaar en bekeken de evoluties over de tijdsperiode van een decennia lang. Daaruit bleek dat keiretsu bedrijven groter waren, maar minder sterk groeiden dan andere bedrijven. Degene die in de best presterende sectoren zaten, niet de best presterende keiretsu waren, in tegendeel. Het kwam er op neer dat er geen duidelijkheid was buiten: keiretsu bedrijven groeien, maar minder sterk dan andere bedrijven. Een situatie analoog met het verschil tussen het ontwikkelende Westen en groeiende Oosten.  Dus zijn we er nu niet wijzer op geworden? Eigenlijk wel. Het toont aan dat zich richten op meerdere producten of markten niet negatief hoeft te zijn. Wat het ook laat zien is dat een fenomeen diepgeworteld in een cultuur zit, dezer dagen ook nog een meerwaarde kan betekenen. Wij, het Westen, ook kunnen leren van het Oosten, zoals zij immers van ons geleerd hebben.  Bovenal is het ook een aanzet tot verder onderzoek, want landen als Zuid-Korea kennen een structuur analoog met het keiretsu verhaal. Misschien blijkt het wel een sleutel tot competitief succes te zijn, want vergeet niet: Japan is een land in ongunstige economische omstandigheden, die zich kan meten met de allergrootsten .. 

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Universiteit of Hogeschool
MBA - International Business Management
Publicatiejaar
2011
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