Agents for knowledge transfer in Japan’s post-World War II telecommunications industry

[Deutscher Titel: Wissenstransfervermittler in der japanischen Telekommunikationsindustrie nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg]

Stephen B. Adams and Paul J. Miranti
Global Knowledge Transfer and Telecommunications: The Bell System in Japan, 1945–1952
Enterprise and Society 2008 9(1):96-124

Abstract: This study evaluates the Bell System’s role in the revival of Japanese telecommunications during the post-World War II occupation. Civilian and military personnel who had worked for the firm and who served in the Civil Communications Service (CCS) of the Supreme Command Allied Powers represented the primary agents for knowledge transfer to Japan’s Ministry of Communications (MOC) and its supporting independent equipment manufacturers. The MOC became a channel for communicating ideas about management practices at the Bell System to the local telecommunications industry. The CCS’s actions in Japan represent what Alfred D. Chandler has termed the “integrated learning base” in action in the public sector. The CCS’s role in knowledge transfer has been underestimated by many scholars who have focused primarily on its contributions to promoting production and quality engineering in telecommunications manufacturing. Its central achievement was laying the managerial groundwork for the establishment in 1952 of the governmental enterprise Nippon Telegraph and Telephone.

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