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High Tech CEOs & Their Businesses

Aims & objectives

This project compared high-tech CEOs and their businesses in Britain and Japan. Its main objectives were to enhance understanding of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship by identifying and comparing personal and attitudinal characteristics of CEOs in different socio-economic contexts and to shed light on the processes of transformation of industrialised economies. The questionnaire administered in the UK in 2001, and reported earlier, was repeated in Japan in 2002. 

Results & dissemination

Both groups of CEOs tended to see their competitive advantages as being personal attention to customer needs, the specialised nature of their product/service, and technological/scientific expertise, but unlike their UK counterparts, Japanese CEOs did not consider the reputation of their business to be particularly important. Japanese businesses displayed slightly higher levels of customer dependence than those in the UK and were more likely to be involved in subcontract relationships, with slightly stronger local links. In common with UK CEOs few in Japan rated any limitation to their business as 'crucial', and again in common with their UK counterparts, 'demand' limitations were more important than any other type. There were important differences in the CEOs' personal objectives. Although both groups of CEOs strongly supported the objectives of building a business with a reputation for excellence and their own personal enjoyment and satisfaction, Japanese CEOs placed far greater emphasis on objectives relating to the permanence of enterprise and to a lesser extent on 'social' objectives such as contributing to science and technology and society in general. By contrast UK CEOs were more concerned with financial objectives. There were notable differences in growth objectives, while the majority of UK CEOs sought growth, over a third of Japanese CEOs sought no growth, and in sharp contrast to those in the UK, few sought substantial growth.

Download the Executive Summary of Key Findings, published May 2002.

Working papers

Whittaker, H., Byosiere, P., Higuchi, J. and Quince, T. (2003), 'Entrepreneurs, HRM Orientations and environmental Fit: A UK-Japan Comparison in High Tech Manufacturing', Centre for Business Research Working Paper No. 330.

Quince, T. and Whittaker, T. (2003) 'The beer beneath the froth: preliminary findings from case studies of 25 small hgh-tech firms', Centre for Business Research Working Paper No. 272.

Quince, T. and Whittaker, H. (2003) 'Entrepreneurial Orientation and Entrepreneurs: intentions and objectives', Centre for Business Research Working Paper No. 271.

Quince, T. (2002) 'Meet the parents: the importance of pre-conception conditions in facilitating high technology spin-out companies', Centre for Business Research Working Paper No. 233.

Quince, T. and Whittaker, H. (2002) High tech businesses in the UK: performance and niche markets. Centre for Business Research Working Paper No. 234.

Quince, T. and Whittaker, H. (2002) Close encounters: evidence of the potential benefits of proximity to local industrial clusters. Centre for Business Research Working Paper No. 235.

Whittaker, D. H. (2001) 'Crisis and Entrepreneurship in Japan: a new future through techno-entrepreneurship? Centre for Business Research Working Paper No. 193.

Books

Momose, S., D.H. Whittaker and T. Morishita (1999), Chusho kigyo: kore kara no seicho senryaku (Growth Strategies for SMEs: Lessons from the UK 'Resurgence'), (Tokyo: Toyo keizai).

Book chapters

Quince, T. A. (2004) 'Close encounters: evidence of the potential benefits of proximity to local industrial clusters', in During, W. , Oakey, R. and Kauser, S. (eds) New technology based firms in the new millenium, Amsterdam, Elseivier Ltd, 3.

Whittaker, D. H. (2001) 'Crisis and Entrepreneurship in Japan: a new future through techno-entrepreneurship?' in W. Keller and R. Samuels (eds) Crisis and Innovation in Asian Technology, Cambridge University Press.

Project leader

Hugh Whittaker

Research fellow

Thelma Quince

Project status

Completed