Multinational Corporate Restructuring and International Competitiveness

by Peter Enderwick

Fall 1989

Volume 32
Issue 1

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This article addresses an important facet of corporate restructuring: namely, the implications for future competitiveness. It compares patterns of restructuring within leading U.S. and Japanese companies since the late 1970s. Marked differences are apparent. U.S. firms rely to a considerable extent on intensification, rationalization, collaboration, and incremental internationalization. In contrast, major Japanese enterprises' restructuring has concentrated on investment and technical change and incremental internationalization. In the long term, the restructuring strategies pursued by Japanese multinationals appear to offer more significant and enduring competitive benefits. This is because the most widely adopted strategies have their principal impact on proprietary competitive assets and internationalization advantages. In contrast, the emphasis of U.S. corporations has been on overcoming locational disadvantage and restoring the conditions for competitive operation in the home market. This emphasis, while enhancing locational or comparative advantage, does little to create proprietary competitive advantages.

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