Local Research for Better Lives


Photo by Jason Ortego/Unsplash


In partnership with the JICA Research Institute (JICA-RI), the Global Development Network will document the increase of quality and productivity at the firm level through new managerial methods, such as Kaizen, the Japanese management approach, under a two-year collaborative research program.

The Japanese word Kaizen means change (kai) for good (zen), and encourages continuous learning and improvement. If adopted as a managerial guiding principle, Kaizen is said to lead to industrial growth and to development within both public and private sectors.

The number of empirical studies which analyze the effectiveness and/or the challenges on improving quality and productivity through implementing different management methods, like Kaizen, remains limited in developing countries. GDN and JICA-RI aim to address this lack of contextualized knowledge on managerial capital and its interactions with policies to enhance quality and productivity growth. Research teams will study different cases to document what has been done to enrich our shared knowledge of initiatives in the public or the private sectors to boost quality and productivity (through Kaizen activities, for example). Results will be published in a book co-edited by Akio Hosono (JICA-RI), John Page (Brookings Institution) and Go Shimada (Meiji University).


  • Mobilize local researchers to mainstream important issues linked to raising quality and productivity (in manufacturing and beyond) in domestic debates, and lead to improved policies and managerial capacities;
  • Document existing initiatives to improve managerial capital and their effectiveness in increasing quality and productivity at the firm level in developing countries;
  • Document the determinants of the success or failure of this initiative and their ability to lead to actual change

Download the program fact sheet here.


The program is supported by the JICA Research Institute with US$558,150 from Jun 2016 to Dec 2018.

For further information, contact Pierre Bertrand, Fellow | Economic Transformation & Ecological Transitions

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