Inderscience Publishers

Barriers to the software industry development in Japan: the structure of the industry and software manpower

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While the Japanese manufacturing firms have competitiveness in the world market, the Japanese software industry seems to be unsuccessful yet despite some efforts in firms and government. In this paper, we try to find out the reason through an analysis of industry structure and software manpower. As most businesses in the Japanese software industry were done by the division of labour for the customised software development of the mainframe computer, the software industry was largely driven by mainframe computer vendors. In this business practice, the highly dependent relationship between firms had a large influence on the exploitation of software manpower as well as its performance in the firm. Another feature is the deviated market structure to one side. In the structural characteristics such as the division of labour and the deviated market structure, software firms focused on managerial issues rather than on the development of a creative and innovative developer's ability. The issues of software manpower show the close interaction with the industry structure. In addition, it is shown that the software industry has been developed by a quantitative manpower expansion rather than a qualitative improvement. In particular, the problems in the supply side are considered. An analysis of manpower in the firm shows the low productivity of the software developer. With the results of an analysis of the industry structure and manpower in the Japanese software industry, we suggest some implications.

Keywords: Japanese software industry, division of labour, deviated market structure, management practices, productivity, supply structure of software manpower, firms', performance

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