Continuous improvement and competitive pressure in the presence of discrete innovation
AbstractDoes competitive pressure foster innovation? Technical progress consists of numerous small improvements made upon the existing technology continuous improvement and innovative activities aiming at entirely new technology (discrete innovation). Continuous improvement is often of limited relevance to the new technology invented by successful discrete innovation. By capturing this interplay, our model predicts that, in contrast to previous theoretical findings, an increase in competitive pressure measured by product substitutability may decrease firms' incentives to conduct continuous improvement. Continuous improvement had been regarded as an important source of strength in Japanese manufacturing until the 1980s. However, several studies have found that levels of continuous improvement have recently decreased in a number of Japanese manufacturing firms. Through field research at two Japanese firms, we demonstrate the real-world relevance and usefulness of the model which offers new insights on possible mechanisms behind the declining focus on continuous improvement in Japan.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by School of Economics, The University of New South Wales in its series Discussion Papers with number 2012-17.
Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2012
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Competitive pressure; continuous improvement; discrete innovation; field research; location model; product substitutability; small group activities; technical progress.;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General
- L60 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - General
- M50 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting - - Personnel Economics - - - General
- O30 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
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