Thriving in the shadow of giants: The success of the Japanese surgical needle producer MANI, 1956–2016

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Abstract

Large companies have a clear presence in the medical instruments industry, but in their shadow, many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have successfully carved out and defended niches. This article examines one of these enterprises in detail: MANI, a Japanese company that manufactured the world’s first stainless steel surgical needles and remains among the top three producers of these needles today. This article explains the company’s success using the ‘dynamic imbalance’ framework; this framework helps map MANI’s development of a sustainable competitive advantage as the result of internally driven and repeated processes rather than externally driven and specific technological inventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-455
Number of pages27
JournalBusiness History
Volume61
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Apr 3
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • dynamic imbalance
  • Japan
  • Medical instruments industry
  • small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)
  • technological capability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • History

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