A Swedish Presence ”A case study of Swedish companies in Japan”

University essay from Lunds universitet/Produktionsekonomi

Abstract: As one of the largest economies in the world, Japan obtains great potential for foreign investors. Nonetheless, the Japanese market has been known to be difficult to penetrate for foreign companies. Research areas of adjustment regarding Swedish companies’ market presence in Japan were identified as; forming the organisation characteristics, culture and leadership approach, acquiring skills, managing networks and relationships and adapting to the market demand. There exists limited literature involving Swedish companies’ market presence in Japan. Thus, the purpose of this study was to identify patterns of, and describe, how Swedish companies in Japan have chosen to establish themselves, how they have managed to sustain their market presence and if the presence in return has contributed to the Swedish company. This was accomplished by conducting six case studies of Swedish companies active in Japan. The study found that the Swedish companies have market-seeking motives when entering the Japanese market. However, these evolve to non-marketable asset seeking motives during the market presence. The majority of these companies currently manage wholly owned subsidiaries, which were established through transitional phases with distributors or by risk-averse actions. It was also found that Swedish companies do experience difficulties when being active on the Japanese market, in particularly regarding managing the acquirement of new skills and adapting to Japanese market demand. Other areas of market presence such as organisation characteristics, leadership and culture were managed to a limited extent as they where also seen to be affected by local factors. Networks and partnerships were managed according to the business model or overall industry standards, rather than adjusted to local conditions. Furthermore, the study also found that the Japanese market offers valuable insights for multinational organisations, applicable to several markets internationally.

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