SIEM / Spaces of International Economy and Management

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SIEM Session at 3rd Global Conference on Economic Geography 2011, Seoul, Korea, June 29, 2011

Please find below the abstracts of the six speakers joining the double session on management geography at the conference. Please do not quote the abstracts of the working papers without permission from the authors.

1.Professor Dr. Rolf D. Schlunze (Ritsumeikan University; e-mail:

Creating synergy by co-leadership and visionary thinking about location and management.

Abstract: Jones (2002) sees the 'global city' misconceived discovering the myth of 'global management' by making the international manager or "change agent" his subject, whereas the multinational firm in the global city network the object of his study. Due to globalization corporate leaders of MNEs are facing strong competition. Leaders are under pressure to ride out global recessions, global financial crisis, and setbacks of their company in the global network, global economic crisis and fraud. This article discusses how therefore leaders could re-think traditional approaches of competition about leadership with in a long-term more successful networking behavior and a transcultural co-leadership approach that suits also demands of the local business community. Within the center of our analyses stands a case study survey of two international managers who succeeded doing business with a co-leadership approach in first-tier global city Tokyo.
Three important components such as mutual cultural adjustment, preferably combined preferences and open information sharing through an appropriate networking behavior will be introduced that enables global leaders to create synergy in a intercultural workplace. Evidence also comes from the research object, the co-leaders of a financial multinational corporation based in Tokyo who will comment the empirical evidence introduced and argue that "Geocentricity" is a trend whereby multi-national companies adhere more tightly to the demands of geography and allocate more resources and more decision power to some of their overseas units. They view it as a result of a deliberate decision, based on the experience of previous failures, or a decision forced by external factors, such as changes in the balance of economic weight or changes in the regulatory environment. It is a balancing factor to blind globalization and, as such, can be considered as the international extension of the principles of corporate governance. They observed a trend to geocentricity presently gathering much momentum in the financial world. In conclusion, global leaders need to seek constantly to integrate with the global business community meanwhile being commitment to promote their local business and perform well in the local market. The co-leadership approach introduce here might help global leaders to re-think how they can build relations with global and local actors in purpose to create positive futures for their globally interconnected company and the local business community in which they use to work.

2.Päivi Oinas (Turku University; e-mail:

Management subjects and management objects through the lenses of 'embedding', 'coordination', and 'competition'

Abstract: Management geography should not be "a bit of management studies attempted by geographers". Rather, it should be a study of management practice from a perspective that is distinctively geographical; i.e., not already practiced by representatives of other disciplines. In this explorative paper, I take it to be the study of corporate management that acknowledges the conditioning role of a geographically delimited environment of the firm on managerial practice, and vice versa. I discuss management from the perspective of three concepts: embeddedness, coordination, and competition. I consider them as mutually complementary ways of approaching managerial practice (the ways of management subjects) vis-à-vis what is being managed (management objects), and as significant for geographical analysis.

3.Nicholas Phelps (University College London; e-mail: )

Promoting the global economy: towards an economic geography of the investment promotion industry.

Abstract: Stocks and flows of foreign direct investment (FDI) have grown steadily since the second world war. National and subnational governments via their investment promotion agencies (IPAs) have encouraged this growth when seeking the economic development benefits that FDI is presumed to bring. Although in some senses territorially-rooted, these agencies also operate, and have effects, internationally. These bodies sit alongside private actors who promote investment flows: small specialised multinational location consulting and related companies; specialist arms of large multinational legal, accounting and merchant banking companies, and; an emerging array of associations, organisations and professional networks. As a prelude to proposed research, this paper considers questions of how to interpret the quantitative and qualitative role of the investment promotion industry in processes of international economic integration. The geographically uneven development of this industry points to a possible 'development paradox' regarding the promotion of FDI in that the industry is most developed in those developed country economies where it is least needed and least developed in those emerging market settings where it conceivably may play a role in reducing the transaction costs facing FDI.

4.Taira Atsushi (Kagawa University; e-mail:

Agenda of geography of local industries in Japan in relation to the internationalization of management

Abstract: Local industries, called "jiba sangyo" in Japan, have been struggling to survive in the age of globalization particularly since the 1980s. For a long time, over a century in many cases, those local industries have been played crucial roles in local economies and societies where they are located. Firms of those local industries have been likely to be located in small areas in their regions for a variety of reasons such as existence of labor force and raw materials. So far, many geographers in Japan have kept attention to those local industries and have been trying to explain their spatial structures. Currently, some jiba sangyos are making efforts to internationalize their operations: the glove-related industry in eastern Kagawa and the towel-related industry in Imabari, Ehime, both in Shikoku in southern Japan, are good examples; both of them consist of small and medium-sized companies, but the former has about 90 percent share in the Japanese market and the latter has about 60 percent, still keeping the dominant status in the country through internationalization of production processes mainly in China. On the other hand, since the 1980s, economic geographers, particularly in Europe and the United States, began to pay attention to spatial agglomeration of industry in the different fashion. To date, many studies have been conducted to explain their spatial processes and meanings: representative topics are embedded and shared implicit knowledge in local places and learning region as the center of knowledge creation and innovation. At the same time, globalization of economy have also urged many economic geographers to examine its spatial patterns and its influences on firms' behavior and performances; structures of multinational corporations, processes of internationalization of firms, intra- and inter-firm relations and strategic arrangement of multinational corporations have been main themes. Previous studies have focused mostly on large firms, although small and medium-sized firms are also trying hard to establish foreign plants and offices to form own "glocal" networks.
To date, however, in spite of the fact that agglomeration and globalization are closely connected each other, they are likely to be argued separately. Thus it is possible to say that the study of the internationalization of management of the local industries in Japan could be a good example to bridge those two arguments, which might contribute to expand our understanding of today's rapidly changing global and local economy.

5.Patrik Ström, (University of Gothenburg; e-mail:

Managing the Japanese service industry - location, competitiveness and internationalization

Abstract: Japan has been a leading industrial power during the last 50 years. The manufacturing industry has developed world leading competitiveness and productivity. The service industry on the other hand has been less competitive and internationalized in comparison with other OECD countries. Increased regional and global competition changes the role of Japan in the knowledge intensive economy. Services are becoming a more important part of the future competitiveness of the economy. Japan is facing a number of challenges to foster a competitive knowledge economy with a high degree of services. The paper seeks to explore the advanced service industry and its connections to the manufacturing sector through two perspectives. First, structural and cultural reasons in the business environment could help to explain the limited success of the service industry. Service internalization and bundling of services have made it difficult for independent firms to compete. Japanese firms need to rethink their global strategy and build networks that are in line with knowledge creation and globalization. Service firms must clearly define their strategy for localization and internationalization. Manufacturing firms need to develop their offering of bundled services in order to move from free to fee. Companies that are well placed to produce value-added for clients through the product life cycle utilizing the broad base of intra- and inter-firm competence would enhance their competitiveness.
Second, uneven regional economic development has proven to be a hurdle for the development of a knowledge intensive service economy. Knowledge flows between companies in regional economic clusters has proven difficult. The paper uses primary and secondary data on the national, regional and company levels to shows the difficulties, but also the potential that exist within the service industry in Japan. The paper concludes that more stringent strategy of companies to unbundle services and charge for the concrete value, will increase competitiveness and productivity. Regional policy must also be better to see the potential in the service sectors and find policy tools to develop this further. Bringing actors together in regional business systems or connecting value adding global production networks marks the challenge for the development of the Japanese service industry.

6.JI, WeiWei (Rtisumeikan University;

Overseas Chinese Firms in Japan: Local Networks and Extra-Network Linkages

Abstract: Previous studies about Overseas Chinese firms have been mainly focused on two themes: one is the prominent mainland Chinese firms following China's Zou Chuqu (go abroad) policy since 2002; the other is the embedding of Overseas Chinese family business in local economies, particularly in Southeast Asia. Despite Japan being the only developed country neighboring China, very few studies examine Overseas Chinese businesses in Japan. Indeed, certain authors have pointed out the need to analyze what drives business to internationalize from emerging to developed economies. The lack of academic work on the lessons and successes of Chinese actors and organizations in Japan's economy makes this work all the more timely. This paper aims to discuss the interaction of Chinese firms with networks of communities in Japan and their linkages with external resources, such as home country financing and host country policies, to achieve business growth. This paper also seeks to show that Xin Huaqiao (New Overseas Chinese) are active and creative social actors promoting the embedding of Chinese firms into local markets while making linkages among Chinese firms and Japanese firms. Based on original survey as well as secondary data from multiple case studies, this paper shows that globalization has spurred Chinese entrepreneurs to grow business not only in developing economies, but also in developed economies. Unlike South Asia, Japan's economic milieu is difficult for Chinese to embed in, thus they need to depend on extra network linkages. Xin Huaqiao (XHQ) also creates local networks through organizations like the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Japan and the Wenzhou Chamber of Commerce in Japan. This new trend clearly suggests a different internationalization pattern of Chinese firms is evolving in the Japanese context. The Japanese context, though difficult for these businesses, has led to noteworthy successes of XHQ businesses, such as the expansion of EPS to Singapore and China as well as SJI's development of linkages with Lenovo, the computer OEM. By showing cases of these Chinese firms locally embedded and with extra-network linkages, this paper seeks to serve as a springboard for new discussion in economic globalization and international business studies.