Overall the Japanese LME is still characterized by four distinctive features. First, it spans the ownership-management divide. The family LME evidences the simple fact that firms are created in the main by individuals. However, as many LMEs have matured the professional manager of the business text books has established his turf, although here again, as in Germany and France for instance, that professional manager can still be family. At any event, the Japanese LME of current times effect a linkage between personal entrepreneurialism and externally trained professionalism, as well as between the large corporation and the mass of small enterprises. Second, in terms of size measured in number of employees, having achieved LME status the core company within Japan has remained remarkably stable. There have been exceptions, such as Sony and Kyocera waxing mighty during the 1960s and 1970s respectively, as well as, conversely, some LMEs making drastic personnel cuts during the recession of the 1990s. But most LMEs are apparently locked into a set status, partially of their own volition and partially in adherence to the conservative ordering of the Japanese business structure. As we have seen, one means of unobtrusive expansion is group networking; the other — increasingly — is foreign direct investment.
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