What Do They Want

Different competitors may have different business objectives. For example, some may be focusing on short-term profits, some on long-term market share. Business objectives affect behavior. In the early 1980s, a survey was made of managers in U.S. companies and managers in Japanese companies. The U.S. managers ranked return on investment and stock price as their most important objectives, whereas the Japanese managers ranked market share, return on investment, and new products—each nearly the same—as their top three objectives. Many people interpreted the findings of this survey to indicate that during that period Japanese companies had much longer-term business objectives than did U.S. companies. If true, that would explain the very aggressive pricing strategies used by many Japanese companies to gain shares in the automotive and consumer electronics industries in the United States during the 1970s and 1980s.

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