Annual Report

Annual Report 2008


Research Committee for Socio-cultural Changes and Advancement in Corporate Management

Fiscal 2007 Project consigned by the Japan Keirin Association


In his 1998 book “the New Reality,” the revered management theorist, late Professor Peter Drucker, wrote that “history does not make spectacular changes when crossing the dividers on chronological table.” He pointed out that “new realities can gradually and sometime swiftly penetrate into and spread through various sectors of the world, well before many of the society notice, and take over the old realities.” His idea of new realities included the globalization of economy, emergence of information-based society, no more salvation by the state, and the rise of civil society.

As the spectacular changes taking place in domestic and international fora, Japan’s economy and society must find new ways to address and respond to such changes that include: (1) global environmental issues bringing new challenges to humans; (2) globalization of international community and changes in economic and industrial structures in response to the shift of powers led by BRICs; (3) revision of socio-economic structures due to the advancement in information and communication technologies; (4) modification of a framework for ever-growing economy, which has dominated Japanese economy and society after the end of the World War Second, and (5) the emergence of aged society with fewer children and/or mature society and the conversion of social orientation toward civil society. In other words, Japan is currently undergoing significant changes in dual paradigms of domestic and international economy and society. Without the clear recognition of such historical trends and paradigm changes, the ongoing economic and social phenomenon may be seen as a mere phase of economic circles, as in the case of economic downturn in 1990’s, which was described as a “lost decade” to lessen its enormity.

Current changes in international and domestic situation will not only affect people’s views and behavior, but also significantly influence the management of a private corporation, which is the constituent of the society and the target of this study. Today’s corporate management needs to introduce the most appropriate responses that conform to the ongoing situation.

Now, global environmental issues are ringing a warning bell on the modern industrialized society as well as people’s life styles since the industrial revolution, which have emphasized the overcoming of the nature and enabled the emancipation from resource restraints by the advancement in science and technology. What is essentially wanted in today’s society is to create a recycling society. In addition, the global environmental issues may promote human’s sense of mutual dependency, while changing the consciousness of, and the relationship between, producers and consumers.

The globalization of world economy as seen in the emergence of BRICs has completely altered the world map of economic powers. Products manufactured in China and South East Asian nations flood the global market, changing the scenes of competitive world.

The advancement of information technologies and the development of IT-based society significantly influence the society at large, as they drastically reduce the costs of communication and information exchanges, rebuilding industrial and social structures. The traditional information dissemination structure that depicts less emphasis on consumers has been converted to more consumer-oriented system through the development of journalism and Internet, and this conversion has completely altered the way private companies respond to consumers.

The concept of economy and society with higher growth rates used to determine the relationship between employers and employees of a company, as in the case of Japanese companies, where lifetime employment, seniority system, and company-based labour union used to dominate. The market failure and political and administrative mismanagement hit heavy blows to these systems, and led to the development of civil society and the emergence of NGOs.

While these changes are taking place, the Government of Japan has newly established the Basic Environment Law, Fundamental Law for Establishing a Sound Material-Cycle Society, Product Liability Law and Consumer Contract Act, and drastic ally revised and modified the Consumer Protection Fundamental Law to become the Consumer Basic Act. In addition to the legislation, increasing number of entities finds the growing importance of CSR (corporate social responsibility).

This Research Committee on Socio-cultural Changes and Advancement in Corporate Management is to address the concept of corporate management in response to drastic changes taking place domestically and internationally. The Committee is consisted of experts in broader-ranged fields, and invites lecturers from various fields.

The scope of this Committee is extremely broad and covers significant depth, so that it is essential to observe and analyze the most recent situation from various viewpoints. It has a feature that cannot be concluded within a very short period of time.

This year’s projects include:
(i)“Toward the Fixation of Product Safety Culture” that should be recognized and addressed by administration
(ii)“Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Corporate Culture” as the measurement stick used by advanced corporations
(iii)“Creating the Ethics in Manufacturing” through the observation of favorable practices in corporate management
(iv)“Development of New Products and the Nurturing and Challenging of Corporate Culture for Product Safety
(v)“Compliance and the Values of Corporations” from the viewpoint of administration and legal experts with experiences in corporate management
(vi)“Consumers’ Anxiety, Dissatisfaction, and Appreciation” from the viewpoint of research institutes in advertisement and public relations
(vii)“Environmental Safety and Corporate Responses to the PCV issue” from the viewpoint of administration and business entities

As shown above, the Committee heard the views of its members and invitees invited from various fields of the subjects, including administrative branch, private companies, industry groups, legal services, academic researches, market analysis, etc., as well as private corporations. The latter actively and aggressively participated in the Committee’s discussion.

There is no doubt that this Committee’s broader scope will inevitably invite the depth of discussion to be rather shallow, and the views expressed to be more generalized. Still, the Committee may be able to achieve its purpose of developing revolutionary corporate management approaches that can conform to ongoing paradigm changes, through the accumulation of data, comments, and studies, and the holding of more in-depth discussions in awareness of the subject. The outcome of this Committee can be the very first step in that direction.