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Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 188; doi:10.3390/su9020188

An Analysis of the Contribution of Japanese Business Terms to Corporate Sustainability: Learnings from the “Looking-Glass” of the East

1
Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, University of Gavle, Gavle 801 76, Sweden
2
Organisational Sustainability Ltd., Cardiff CF11 6EQ, UK
3
Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies, Sophia University, Tokyo 102-8554, Japan
4
School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK
5
Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, The University of Tokyo, Chiba 277-8563, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 25 July 2016 / Revised: 11 January 2017 / Accepted: 23 January 2017 / Published: 4 February 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Abstract

During the last decade, there has been increasing research on Corporate Sustainability, whereby most of such research was undertaken in the Western world. This paper is aimed at analysing the contribution of Japanese Business terms to Corporate Sustainability. The paper analyses, using Grounded Theory, 28 Japanese business terms through a Corporate Sustainability framework based on the four dimensions of sustainability (economic, environmental, social, and time), the company system (operations and processes, strategy and management, organisational systems, procurement and marketing, and assessment and communication), and stakeholders (internal, interconnecting, and external). The underpinning principles of the Japanese business terms provide complementary approaches to Western views on corporate sustainability by offering a more holistic perspective by linking the company system and its stakeholders to the four dimensions of sustainability. The paper proposes that Corporate Sustainability can learn from Japanese business approaches through: (1) the interaction and alignment of the factory, the firm, and inter-firm network; (2) the relationships between management and employees; (3) the inter-linkages between the company system elements; and (4) how Japanese companies remained competitive, even under the stress of a long-term major economic crisis. However, the analysis indicates that the relationship with external stakeholders and communicating with them through assessment and reporting is lacking in Japanese business management practice. Japanese businesses and their management can also learn from the Corporate Sustainability of the West by: (1) considering the four dimensions of sustainability and how they interact; (2) taking a holistic and systemic approach to Corporate Sustainability; (3) engaging in more Corporate Sustainability research; and (4) making Corporate Sustainability part of a company’s culture and activities. Businesses in the East and the West need to recognise that they can both contribute to making the world more sustainable by learning from each other’s approaches on Corporate Sustainability and adapting them to their own contexts. View Full-Text
Keywords: Corporate Sustainability; company system; business terms; business models; Japanese businesses Corporate Sustainability; company system; business terms; business models; Japanese businesses
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Lozano, R.; Suzuki, M.; Carpenter, A.; Tyunina, O. An Analysis of the Contribution of Japanese Business Terms to Corporate Sustainability: Learnings from the “Looking-Glass” of the East. Sustainability 2017, 9, 188.

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