Every economy faces a set of decisions about the optimal organization of its business activities. Firms acquire other firms, sell corporate assets, form strategic alliances, spin off factories and divisions as independent enterprises. In doing so they establish boundaries around business unitsand define the interrelationship between those units. Special attention has been devoted in recent years to the distinctive features of Japanese economic organization, and in particular the ways in which firms in Japan have created alternatives to arm's-length markets or vertically integratedhierarchies. This book brings together contributions from international scholars presenting analysis and evidence of these phenomenon. How have they evolved? Are they a particularly Japanese or Asian phenomenon? Are there historical comparisons in Europe and America? What distinguishes 'corporatecomplexes', 'corporate groups' and ' assembler- supplier relationships'? By raising these questions and presenting detailed evidence from the traditional business groups such as Mitsubishi, Sumitomo, and Mitsui; and the more recently established corporate groups such as Toyota, Sony, andMatsushita. In so doing the book both provides valuable historical detail, raises questions for conventional theories of the firm, offers insight into the resilient international competitiveness of Japanese companies and into the varying institutional characteristics of different business systemsand cultures. This is the second volume in the collaboration between OUP and the Business History Society of Japan to publish the 'Fuji Conference Series' under the general editorship of Professor Akira Kudo of the University of Tokyo. The series itself has been established for 20 years or so andis a major international forum for scholars from Asia, Europe and North America. Books in the series were formerly published by the University of Tokyo Press.