Us and Japanese Perceptions of Advanced Manufacturing Technologies: Revitalizing the Convergence/Divergence Debate
Posted: 22 Aug 1998
In this study we investigate the perceptions of US and Japanese managers toward advanced manufacturing technology (AMT) using data collected from l60 American Firms and l25 Japanese firms. We examine the importance managers from these countries attribute to l8 AMTs such as computer-aided design and flexible manufacturing systems in light of two competing theses--convergence and divergence. The convergence thesis asserts that imperatives of technology homogenize social organization across nations ultimately leading to similar ways of thinking. In contrast, the divergence thesis argues that a society's cultural influences on organizations and ways of thinking are prepotent to those of technology. We propose a model of cognitive categorization to explain the extent to which cognitions might differ as well as why and how this might occur and then analyze the survey data using t-tests and factor analysis. Our results indicate similarity along some AMT dimensions, suggesting support for the convergence thesis, and differences along other AMT dimensions, lending support for the divergence thesis. Based on these findings, we explore the implications for international management and for future international management research.
JEL Classification: O32
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