Abegglen, James C. 1926-2007

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Abegglen, James C. 1926-2007


See index for CA sketch: Born 1926; died May 2, 2007, in Tokyo, Japan. Consultant, business owner, and author. Abegglen was a noted expert on the Japanese business world who presciently warned back in the 1960s that Japan would rival the United States in manufacturing. Educated at the University of Chicago, he earned a doctorate in anthropology and clinical psychology. His interests turned to Japan, however, which initially fascinated him after his time serving in the U.S. Marines during World War II. Abegglen was part of a team assigned to evaluate how American strategic bombing had impacted the Japanese. He became enthralled by the country, and in 1955 returned there on a Ford Foundation fellowship. He studied Japanese business organizational methods and compared them to those in the United States. Abegglen was impressed by their efficient structure and believed that Japanese factories would soon be competing with America's. Publishing The Japanese Factory: Aspects of Its Social Organization (1958), he advised readers that American businesses had a lot to learn from the Japanese. By 1967, Abegglen had helped to found a consulting firm in Tokyo called the Boston Consulting Group, and he later established his own firm, Asia Advisory Service K.K. Also serving, over the years, as a faculty member of such institutions as the University of Chicago, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Sophia University, Abegglen became a Japanese citizen in 1997. He was also the author of such books as Management and Worker: The Japanese Solution (1973), The Strategy of Japanese Business (1984), Sea Change: Pacific Asia as the New World Industrial Center (1994), and 21st-Century Japanese Management (2006).



Los Angeles Times, May 15, 2007, p. B9.