Corporate Governance Reform and the Toshiba Scandal: Did a New System Hide an Old Mess?

Colloquium | March 6 | 4-6 p.m. | 180 Doe Library

 Christina Ahmadjian, Professor, Hitotsubashi University

 Steven Vogel, Professor, Political Science, UC Berkeley

 Center for Japanese Studies (CJS)

An ongoing financial reporting scandal has stunned and puzzled observers of Japanese corporate governance reform. Toshiba was one of the first companies to adopt so-called “US-style” corporate governance practices. How could a company that had seemed to think so carefully about good governance have ended up like this? Where was the board? This presentation considers the possibility that the uneasy combination of elements from two very different business systems and institutions of governance at Toshiba may have created the conditions for scandal. This presentation uses the Toshiba case as an entry point to examine the larger theme of corporate governance reforms in Japan, and more generally, the unanticipated consequences of the convergence of business systems. Dr. Ahmadjian’s analysis of Toshiba and corporate governance reform in Japan is based on her experience as a researcher on Japanese corporate governance and Asian business systems, as well as her experience as a an external director at several large Japanese firms.

Christina Ahmadjian is a professor at Hitotsubashi University's Graduate School of Commerce and Management and former dean of the Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy. Her research interests include comparative corporate governance, globalization, systems of capitalism, business groups, and Japanese business and management. Her publications have appeared in journals including the American Sociological Review, Administrative Science Quarterly, Organization Science, and California Management Review. She teaches courses including organizational behavior, corporate governance, leadership, and global management. She received a BA, magna cum laude, from Harvard University, an MBA from Stanford University Graduate School of Business, and a PhD in Organizational Behavior and Industrial Relations at the Haas School at the University of California at Berkeley. Prior to her position at Hitotsubashi, she was an assistant professor at Columbia Business School. Her business experience includes positions at Bain & Company and Mitsubishi Electric. Currently, serves as an Outside Director of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (since June 2012) and at Japan Exchange Group, Inc. (since June 2014). She was an Outside Director at Eisai, Ltd. from 2009-2013. She is an American citizen, but has lived in Japan for 20 years., 510-642-3415