Using IT to Improve Communication between Boundaries of Organizations - Case Studies in Japanese Companies

Sho Hanaoka
Kanto Gakuin University, Japan

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Tatsumi Shimada
Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Technology, Japan

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Most Japanese companies are facing difficulties caused from a long term recession of Japanese economy, plagued with such questions as how to accelerate decision making process, how to make proper judgments in decision, and how to predict the future trends of concerned industry, etc. There are two main causes of these difficulties now facing most Japanese companies using the traditional so-called "Japanese management style." The first notable characteristic is the "middle up down" decision-making process, which is supported by mutual consent of all belongings to numerous groups or organizations in the same company. The second is each group or organization has its own peculiar knowledge tacit to them, called "tacit knowledge." The pressing need for most Japanese companies is to quicken the decision-making process by furthering the advantages and reassessing the disadvantages of gaining access to knowledge or information of each or organization. In this paper, first, we clarified the basic structure of the traditional decision-making process in Japan. Then second, we described the mechanism of sharing information across the groups or organizations each having its own boundary. Finally, we discussed the use of IT to cross the boundary of groups to effectively to quicken and to share communications in the decision-making process in the future of Japanese industries.