Toto: The Bottom Line

Posted: 9 Jun 2010 Last revised: 10 Jun 2010

See all articles by Mary Tripsas

Mary Tripsas

Boston College; Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit

Masako Egawa

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Jun Fukuyoshi

Harvard Business School

Date Written: June 8, 2009

Abstract

TOTO, the leading manufacturer of toilets in Japan, is struggling to penetrate the US market with its premier bidet-toilets, which are present in 63% of homes in Japan. The case examines the behavioral, cultural, and institutional barriers that TOTO faces in gaining adoption of an innovation. It also explores the role of product categorization in driving consumer behavior – in contrast to the US, toilets in Japan are considered a high-tech consumer electronic device. Finally, the role of organizational identity and culture is examined. The creation of the bidet-toilet category in Japan was a defining accomplishment for TOTO, and this history has created a strong commitment to promoting it in the US. But given that TOTO has been highly successful selling regular high-end toilets in the US, is this commitment to the bidet-toilet appropriate?

Suggested Citation

Tripsas, Mary and Egawa, Masako and Fukuyoshi, Jun, Toto: The Bottom Line (June 8, 2009). Harvard Business School Case No. 809-064; Harvard Business School Entrepreneurial Management Unit Research Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1622890

Mary Tripsas (Contact Author)

Boston College ( email )

Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
United States

Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit ( email )

Cambridge, MA 02163
United States

Masako Egawa

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Jun Fukuyoshi

Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

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