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Japanese Companies Respond to the Unforeseen: The 3/11 Disaster, Population Ageing, and Environmentalism

11.04.2013 | 18:30

Kenichi Matsuno, Professor, Babson College & Visiting Professor, Josai University & Josai International University


The term 'beyond the scope of assumptions', variously used in conjunction with the 3/11 disaster was factual; however it also served as an excuse for inaction. What is it that makes many Japanese companies so slow to react to external events and developments?

This presentation poses a number of questions regarding reactions by Japanese corporations to external forces beyond their control, such as the 3/11 disaster, population aging, and rising environmentalism.

The relevant literature suggests that internal and external factors (e.g., perceived level of uncertainties, ambivalence, and industry environment) can explain the behaviour of Japanese businesses, but direct empirical investigations on the matter are rare. This talk presents preliminary findings of a large-scale survey on the determinants of corporate response to external change. It is hoped that the discussion will generate some useful insights for how to deal with unforeseen challenges.  

Ken Matsuno is an Associate Professor of Marketing at Babson College, on leave for the academic year 2012-2013 as an Assistant to the Chancellor and an Invitational Professor at Josai University and Josai International University. He has published in such academic journals as Journal of Marketing, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Business Research, among others. For full details see http://www.babson.edu/faculty/profiles/Pages/matsuno-kenichi.aspx.

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