Building Capabilities by Learning, Innovation and Public Policy
Japan was the first major non-western nation to take on board the Western technological and organizational advances of the century after the fist industrial revolution. It subsequently proved fully able to exploit and contribute to the broad, sustained technological advances that began in the twentieth century, as science became harnessed to technology. Japan's economic development remains a model for many technologically less advanced countries which have not yet
mastered modern technology to organizational forms; and a knowledge of Japanese technological and economic history can contribute importantly to our understanding of economic growth in the modern
era. This book studies the industrial development of Japan since the mid-nineteenth century, with particular emphasis on how the various industries built technological capabilities. The Japanese were extraordinarily creative in seraching out and learning to use modern technologies, and the authors investigate the emergence of entrepreneurs who began new and risky businesses, how the business organizations evolved to cope with changing technological conditions, and how the
managers, engineers and workers acquired organizational and technological skills through technology importation, learning-by-doing, and their own R&D activities. The book
investigates the interaction between private entrepreneural activities and public policy, through a general examination of economic and industrial development, a study of the evolution of management systems, and six industrial case studies: textiles, iron and steel, electrical and communications equipment, automobiles, shipbuilding and aircraft, and pharmaceuticals. the authors show how the Japanese government has played an important supportive role in the continuing innovation, without being a
substitute for aggressive business enterprise constantly venturing into unfamiliar terrains.