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Benchmarking the Internationalisation and Co-Ordination of R&D of Western European and Japanese Multi-National Corporations

: Reger, G.


International journal of innovation management 1 (1997), Nr.3, S.299-331
ISSN: 1363-9196
Fraunhofer ISI ()

There are few publications that provide benchmarking of suitable forms and mechanisms for the co-ordination of international R&D and innovation processes in multi-national corporations. This paper aims to help close this gap on the basis of interwievs conducted in 18 Western European and Japanese enterprises. In this respect, the analysis of the differences between European and Japanese corporations is highly important because the co-ordination in Japanese firms is often regarded as a model of "best practice". The empirical results reveal that the major strenghts of Japanese companies are their effective co-ordination of the value chain and integration of R&D into their business strategies. Both advantages are achieved through intensive use of personal contacts, informal communication and socialisation. However, European enterprises obviously underestimate these instruments and rely more on international quasi-markets in R&D. These advantages in Japanes R&D management are also accompan ied by drawbacks; while co-ordination is successfully supported within the company in Japan, the integration of international R&D is rendered more difficult.