Strategic Management Journal

Leadership Lessons from Japan’s Cotton Spinning Industry

When it comes to a company’s success, many have wondered whether it’s better to have one strong leader at the top or several leaders sharing the responsibilities. Leadership in firms that became enormously successful in the early Japanese cotton spinning industry might have the answer, according to new research from Maryland Smith, published in the Strategic Management Journal.

Early Auto Racing And Firm Survival

The automobile circa 1895 was perceived as a new, dangerous invention and a plaything of the rich. So the earliest auto races were essentially reliability trials, which morphed into mass-marketing opportunities for competing automakers. As Henry Ford recounted in 1922: “That ‘Model B’ — the first four‐cylinder car for general road use — had to be advertised. Winning a race or making a record was then the best kind of advertising.”

Trapped But Not Lost With Limited Mobility

Nobody likes to feel trapped. But employees benefit in certain ways when two factors combine to pin them in place, making it harder for them to exit their organizations with intellectual and social capital. New research co-authored by Evan Starr at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business shows that employees tethered to their firms by noncompete clauses and nontransferable skills receive more on-the-job training and often get hired with less experience.


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Robert H. Smith School of Business
Map of Robert H. Smith School of Business
University of Maryland
Robert H. Smith School of Business
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