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Knowing who you are doing business with in Japan: a managerial view of keiretsu and keiretsu business groups

By George Ming-Hong Lai

Abstract

Most executives do not fully understand the notion of keiretsu or keiretsu business groups (KBG) nor the implications of dealing with a KBG member. A keiretsu is a sophisticated, multifaceted management device--not a form of organization. KBGs are not trusts, cartels, or conglomerates but groups of firms with an intricate web of inter-firm relations. Both are products of Japan's peculiar culture, history, and business system and represent the manner in which many Japanese firms conduct their collective operations.

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