Yusaku Takeda: Nationalism and Corporate Strategy: From Yamaha Pianos to Motorcycles, 1945-1960


Friday, September 10, 2021, 1:00pm to 2:30pm


HBS Baker Library B82 and Zoom

Work, Organizations, and Markets Workshop presentation by Yusaku Takeda, HBS Management.


I theorize how nationalist ideology sparks unconventional managerial discourse about strategies and sets in motion novel strategy processes and outcomes. Using proprietary archival data, I study the evolution of strategic discourse at Nippon Gakki Ltd, later known as Yamaha Corporation and Yamaha Motor Company. In the 1950s, Nippon Gakki diversified into the motorcycle and other motorized product businesses from its incumbent musical instrument business, driven by an imperative to help Japan regain national prestige and prosperity after World War II. I depict a dynamic process in which, over time, nationalist ideology reinforces and fundamentally transforms managerial discourse and perceived strategic priorities. Nationalist ideology initially frames organizational identity and strategic priorities within the existing business context, but as nationalism becomes emotionally charged, it obscures the relative significance of the identities tied to the existing businesses, leading to a substantial deviation from prior core businesses. I synthesize these findings to offer an integrated theoretical framework on the effect of nationalist ideology on strategy-making, introduce nationalism as a potent ideological force on corporate strategy, and invite research on the link between nationalism and organizations.

Contact Workshop Coordinator for Zoom link.