Price, Quality and Trust

Price, Quality and Trust : Inter-firm Relations in Britain and Japan

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The management of buyer-supplier relations has come to be regarded as a key to achieving manufacturing competitiveness, particularly in sectors facing global competition based on both price and quality. This book is a theoretical and empirical exploration of the link between the type of buyer-supplier relations and corporate performance. Dr Sako examines how British and Japanese companies in the electronics industry manage their relationships with buyers and suppliers, the empirical study comprising a three-way comparison of a Japanese customer company, a British customer company, and a Japanese company in Britain, and an analysis of 36 supplier companies in Britain and Japan. Variations of the companies' business practices are assessed in terms of technology, the nature of market competition, the national legal framework, financial structures, employment systems, and the mode of entrepreneurship. The author identifies two distinct approaches in the two countries - the arm's-length contractual relation (ACR) in Britain, and the obligational contractual relation (OCR) in Japan - and argues that the trust and interdependence present in the latter can be a powerful springboard from which to achieve corporate success.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 152 x 228 x 16mm | 440g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 27 Tables, unspecified; 5 Line drawings, unspecified
  • 0521061067
  • 9780521061063

Table of contents

List of figures; List of tables; Acknowledgements; Introduction; Part I. Theory and Concepts: 1. A spectrum of transactional patterns: from ACR to OCR; 2. Trust and organisational efficiency; Part II. Case Studies and Survey: 3. Setting the scene; 4. JJ Electric, GB Electronics and TCP (UK); 5. The analysis of supplier companies; Part III. Explanations of Variations: 6. Economic and technological factors; 7. The legal framework; 8. Banks and financial links; 9. Employment system links; 10. Entrepreneurship, and the dynamics of small firm creation; Part IV. Outcomes and Implications: 11. How ACR-P OCR patterns relate to competitiveness; 12. Conclusions; Appendix; Notes; Bibliography.
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Review quote

"Sako clearly presents both the theoretical and observable features of ACR and OCR, applies these concepts to a sample of firms, and attempts to explain differences in behavior from a variety of perspectives....a rich description of how buyer-supplier relations are managed in both Britain and Japan." Peggy K. Takahashi, Contemporary Sociology "...a very well-researched, informative, and scholarly account of differences between buyer-supplier relations in Japan and Britain and one that should be read by academics in the field, but should certainly be prescribed reading for all Western purchasing managers trying to implement OCR and all management gurus exhorting them to do so." Journal of Japanese Studies "...makes a valuable contribution to the literature, both in terms of documentation and interpretation....All of us interested in corporate strategy and performance have much to learn from this fine study." Edward H. Lorenz, Journal of Economic Literature
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