SOAS University of London

School of Finance and Management

Management in Japan and Korea: Domestic and International Developments

Module Code:
Year of study:
Year 1
Taught in:
Full Year

This course is specially designed for under-graduate study of contemporary international business and management developments in Japan & Korea. The course is designed to provide the student with the necessary theoretical background to enable an in-depth understanding of the development of these economies, and their relations with each other and with trade partners. It is designed to compare and contrast various aspects of economic development in Japan and Korea, and to evaluate the changes ahead insofar as they affect management.

As this course is multidisciplinary in content, students will study a wide range of relevant topics from such disciplines as economics, international trade and business management, negotiation and conflict management. A previous knowledge of these disciplines is not necessary for the study of this course.  Other topics covered include the economic, historical, geographical and political background of the economies of Japan & Korea, responses made to the economic problems of the past 20 years, responses to the emergence of China, and the need to develop a broader professional management class.  Case studies of business and economic policies and institutions will give students a practical understanding of management issues in Japan & Korea and also offer insight into fundamental challenges facing future developments.

Upon successful completion of this course students will have acquired a firm understanding of the key elements of the economies of Japan & Korea from an international management perspective. In order to achieve this, a strong emphasis is placed on the relationship between theoretical managerial concepts and how they relate to real world business issues.

Module sign-up information for non-departmental open option students
  • Required approval: Approval is required from the Law and Social Sciences Faculty Office
  • Required pre-requisite module(s): None
  • Year of study: 2
  • Maximum number of non-departmental students permitted per year: 10
  • Weekly timetable: One lecture (2 hours) and one tutorial (1 hour)

Further information on open option modules can be found here

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of a course, a student should be able to demonstrate that they can:

  • Understand current economic and political strategies, analyse their main implications, and examine the consequences
  • Understand the processes of management practices in the years before the 1990s decline.  
  • Understand the impetus for reform since 1997 and the impediments to further reform
  • Evaluate the role of the state in industry and agriculture
  • Distinguish between the main forms of private ownership in Japan & Korea, and understand the relationship between industry leaders and others
  • Understand the culture of small family companies, analyse their business practices, and the contribution they make to economic growth
  • Discuss the importance of business networks and relational capital
  • Outline the economic and political consequences of the economic slowdown in the 1990s (in particular in Japan), and discuss the implications for the regional and global economies
  • Discuss the changes that have taken place in Japan & Korea’s trade policies, particularly since the 1990s, and evaluate their importance
  • Evaluate the pace, scale and form of recent Foreign Direct Investment trends in Japan & Korea, and the specific features of development in these economies their explain its attraction (or not) to foreign investors
  • With reference to the investment strategies of multi-nationals, identify the main attributes underpinning successful partner selection and evaluate how their presence/absence might affect the performance of a joint venture
  • Explain the influences of traditional and contemporary culture in Japanese and Korean negotiations, and how they influence negotiation style
  • Evaluate the factors influencing the success of foreign control of businesses in Japan & Korea
  • Analyse the potential for organisational/environmental conflicts and discuss how these conflicts can be resolved in a constructive manner.

Method of assessment

This course is assessed by two essays worth 15% each and 70% by one three hour examination.

Suggested reading

Indicative only.

  • Brown, C, Y Nakata, and I Ulman (1997) Work and Pay in the United States and Japan.  New York: OUP
  • Chen, M (2004) Asian Management Systems: Chinese, Japanese and Korean Styles of Business.  London: Jones..
  • Chung, K H, H C Lee, and K H Jung  (1997) Korean Management: Global Strategy and Cultural Transformation.  Berlin: Walter de Gruyter
  • Daniels, J and L H Radebaugh (1998) International Business: Environments and Operations, Reading (MA): Addison-Wesley
  • Dore, R and M Sako (1998) How the Koreans learn to Work.  London: Cussands.
  • Foong, W  (1999) The New Asian Way: Rebuilding Asia through Self-Reliance. Malaysia: Pelanduk
  • Hasegawa, J and C Noronha (2009) .  Asian Business Management.  Basingstoke: Palgrave McMillan.
  • Kim, L  (1997) Imitation to Innovation: the Dynamics of Korea’s Technological Learning.  Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press
  • Nishiyama, K (2000) Doing Business with Japan.  Honolulu:University of Hawaii Press
  • Nonaka, I and H Takeuchi (1995) The Knowledge-Creating Company: How Japanese Companies Create the Dynamics of Innovation.  Oxford: OUP
  • Ohtsu, M and T Imanari (2001) Inside Japanese Business.  New York: M E Sharpe
  • Roberts, J (2004) The Modern Firm, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  • Tachibanki, T (1996)  Wage Determination and Distribution in Japan.  Oxford: OUP
  • Woodall, B (1996) Japan under Construction: Corruption, Politics, and Public Works.  Berkeley: University of California Press
  • Yonekawa, S (ed)  (1990)  General Trading Companies:  A Comparative and Historical Study.  Tokyo: United Nations University Press  


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules