We admire Toyota’s ability to thrive in different environments and in changing, challenging conditions. Yet it is not necessarily a problem that organizations sometimes come and sometimes go. The economist Joseph Schumpeter saw this as a process of creative destruction, and suggested that it accounts for a lot of the vitality in the most vibrant and dynamic economies on Earth.

In the late 1980s when I was starting to research how manufacturing companies can retain or regain competitiveness, a Buddhist colleague surprised me with an observation. He pointed out that by conducting that research and trying to assist manufacturers, it is possible that I was interfering with natural selection, artificially prolonging untenable situations ...

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