In the last blog, we began a discussion on the relation between organizational learning and organization structure. We continue this discussion today to better understand the J-Form of organizational structures.
In order to really understand the source for success of J-Form of Organizations in innovation and learning, it would be good to begin with the larger economy and drill deeper into an organization.
Japanese economy is generally characterized by high level of cooperation and organizational integration. There exists extensive long-term collaboration of firms in business groups and networks. The smaller firms are very well integrated with the larger firms.
The knowledge embedded in organizational routines, team relationships and shared culture are what form the basis of the innovative capacity of the J-Form organizations. The shop-floor skills in problem solving, intensive interaction and knowledge sharing across different functional units create an "organizational community" which drives Learning and Knowledge Creation. New Knowledge is formed the fusion, synthesis and combination of the existing knowledge base.
The J-Form of organizations tends to develop an orientation towards incremental innovation as a strategy and generally perform well in relatively mature technology fields characterized by rich possibilities of combinations and incremental improvements to existing products or components. The focus is on nurturing organizationally embedded, tacit knowledge and it emphasizes continuous improvement in such knowledge. This approach however has been found to be not as effective when dealing with radically innovative platforms where the knowledge might have to gain knowledge from external sources.
The success of Japanese firms in mature industries like - automobile, electronics etc and it’s not so good performance in areas like software and biotechnology are what we could related to.