Survival Tactics; January 1994; Scientific American Magazine; by Patton; 3 Page(s)
Bouts of economic malaise and corporate restructuring have caused U.S. management to rethink the role of the corporate research laboratory--mostly to the detriment of those institutions and research funding in general. Have Japanese managers, now battered by two years of recession, found different strategies for adjusting research and development programs to economic adversity?
Few big Japanese corporations have drastically curtailed research efforts. The link between technology and the country's dramatic postwar success is too well recognized for that. Instead some Japanese high-technology firms are spending somewhat less, and many are reallocating resources from basic research to product improvement and manufacturing. As Mitsubishi spokeswoman Alison Clark puts it: "It's the need for profit soon. We're taking a more practical view now."