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Impact of business management and data utilization on process innovation in the Japanese wholesale industry

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This study empirically analyzes how business management and data utilization efforts affect innovation behavior in the Japanese wholesale industry using individual data from a survey of business establishments. The analysis covered 2954 valid responses from business establishments to a questionnaire survey conducted in FY 2018. The study revealed that in the wholesale industry overall, process innovation was more actively implemented in establishments with higher levels of organizational management structure development, frequency of feedback through data use, and degree of data utilization. Analysis by sector revealed that the impact of business management and data use on innovation behavior varied across sectors. It also revealed that business management and data use did not have a significant relationship with innovation behavior in the textile and clothing wholesale sector, which handles products that are easily influenced by trends and temperatures in a complex supply chain.

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Data availability

The datasets generated and/or analyzed by the current study are available from the corresponding author on a reasonable request.


  1. As this study was based on a questionnaire survey of business establishments and it was difficult to use objective data related to innovation, such as R and D expenditures, cognitive indicators obtained through the questionnaire survey were used as a proxy variable for innovation.

  2. Many data samples that were excluded were from establishments that did not respond to the questionnaire survey for all or multiple data variables, making it difficult to estimate missing data from other information. In such cases, we believe that missing data cannot be accurately estimated; therefore, we have chosen to exclude them from the analysis.

  3. The questions on innovation are based on the OECD’s Oslo Manual 2018. Due to the abstract nature of the innovation questions, it is possible that specific examples of innovation that come to mind for survey respondents at each establishment may differ, and this should be kept in mind. However, if concrete examples are given in the survey questionnaire, the way in which the concrete examples are presented may influence the responses to the questionnaire. Therefore, the survey questionnaire was designed without concrete examples.

  4. The standardization method is described in Table S4 in Supplementary Material.


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The authors declare not to have received any funding for the work done on this article.

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Authors and Affiliations



HF: Conceptualization, Investigation, Methodology, Data curation, Writing, review and editing. SW: Conceptualization, review and editing. AS: Conceptualization, project administration, review and editing.

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Correspondence to Hidemichi Fujii.

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The authors have no competing interests to declare that are relevant to the content of this paper.

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The authors confirm that all research has been done in compliance with the Code of conduct and Regulation relating to academic integrity at the Kyushu University.

Informed consent

All survey participants listed in the article have given their informed consent. Survey results are processed anonymously and participants' identities will not be revealed based on published results. There is no risk to participants by responding to the survey.

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Fujii, H., Washio, S. & Shinozaki, A. Impact of business management and data utilization on process innovation in the Japanese wholesale industry. SN Bus Econ 3, 179 (2023).

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