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Strategic Planning in Japanese Companies: A qualitative study on strategic planning with a focus on cultural aspects
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Japanese companies have been said to rarely have strategies that resemble the ones that can be seen in literature from the Western world. However, even though Japanese companies do not show the same kind of strategy as can be found in the west, it does not necessarily mean they have no strategy at all. Recent studies have shown that Japanese companies do show clarity in their approach to strategy. Still, not much research can be found on this subject. When the world is becoming more globalized and multinational, it is of interest for both the companies’ stakeholders and shareholders to know how they operate, and their strategic planning process is one part of this. The research question therefore becomes:

  • How does the process of strategic planning in Japanese companies work and in what way is the Japanese culture an influence?

The main purpose of this master thesis is to provide a deeper understanding concerning the concept of strategic planning in Japanese companies. It also has two sub purposes. Firstly, this research aims towards understanding the current strategic planning process, in what way it is used in Japanese companies. Secondly, it will try to understand if the Japanese culture influences the strategic planning process and if so, in what way.The thesis is based on a qualitative study with semi structured interviews where five respondents were divided into two categories (based in the respondents’ background), two respondents with a Japanese view and three with an international view. A constructionist ontological position, interpretivism epistemological position and an inductive scientific approach have been adopted.The theoretical framework is divided into two parts; the first concerns the strategic planning process and the second Japanese business culture.Analysis was done across the two different categories of respondents’ and from my research I have found that the strategic planning process in Japan is different from company to company but that they all tend to share one important step, consensus. I have also found that Japanese culture has had a great impact on the strategic planning process although there seem to be a shift towards becoming more streamlined and more international to be able to compete on the global market.The practical implications of my findings are that since Japanese companies seem to incorporate their culture into their strategic planning, it is important that the field of strategic planning research take into consideration the culture and its effect on the strategic planning process. Japanese companies also need to assess if strategic planning should be used as a way towards becoming more globalized, and if so, in what way.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 57 p.
Keyword [en]
Strategic planning, Japanese business culture, SWOT, Consensus, Culture dimensions
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-60442OAI: diva2:560151
Educational program
International Business Program
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2012-10-22 Created: 2012-10-11 Last updated: 2012-10-22Bibliographically approved

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