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Societal Effects and the Transfer of Business Practices to Britain and France


  • Edward Lorenz


This paper seeks to reconcile the notion of a 'societal effect' in business organisation with the considerable evidence that competitive pressures continuously lead national producers to emulate the business practices of other nations, which are perceived as providing a basis for superior economic performance. The paper identifies three sources of national specificity in the process of emulation giving rise to 'hybrid' models. First, the fact that a nation's manufacturers have a distinctive knowledge base means that adopting another nation's methods will depend on local learning involving trial and error. The more 'distant' the emulated technology is from the local one, the less likely it is that this learning process will result in an exact replica of the parent model. Second, when there are strong interdependencies between a nation's production methods and its systems of vocational training, there will be strong pressure to adopt new methods in ways that are compatible with existing career structures. Third, the fact each nation has a particular industrial relations legacy involving varying levels of trust between labour and management, means that new practices will be introduced through a distinctive process of negotiation and compromise giving rise to national specific effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Edward Lorenz, 1998. "Societal Effects and the Transfer of Business Practices to Britain and France," DRUID Working Papers 98-15, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:aal:abbswp:98-15

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lazonick, William, 1979. "Industrial Relations and Technical Change: The Case of the Self-Acting Mule," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(3), pages 231-262, September.
    2. Elster,Jon, 1983. "Explaining Technical Change," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521270724, March.
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    More about this item


    knowledge; learning processes; national specificity;

    JEL classification:

    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes


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