I truly enjoyed this inside look at Honda’s integration process into the markets of the United States motorcycle industry. I found myself agreeing with the Japanese perspective of strategy by the close of the article.
Strategy can be defined simply as Webster defines in his dictionary but it is not so simple in reality. Strategy embodies more than just a process or large scale plan of operation, it is the entire implementation model of how an organization she be guided and define its decision making criteria. The Japanese model of strategy turns away from the “formula” aspect of strategy and find it to be inflexible and ineffective in its elements. The example of Honda’s approach to introducing the Honda motorcycles to the United States was in reality “trial and error.” Honda did have an organizational process of entering the new market but it was extremely flexible and ever changing as it identified its competitors and segment of need. The article actually states that Honda had no strategy but rather had an idea of seeing if he could sell his product in the United States. He saw the US as a new frontier, a new challenge and a potentially successful venture. After attempting to enter he analyzed the problems that were hindering his efforts to integrate into the American market place. He found his timing and structure of motorcycle to be hindering his marketability to Americans. He faced these challenges head on and changed the product and marketing approaches to meet the needs of the American segment. After these changes to the initial strategy of entering the market, Honda experienced success and soon become the leading motorcycle provider in the US. In conclusion, success was achieved by the senior managements’ humility to acknowledge that their initial strategic position could use adaptation and change. The Honda Effect sees strategy decisions as more of “strategic accommodation” or “adaptive persistence.” Success is found in the adaptive mechanism of a company in the changing market place.