By the early 1980s it had become apparent that the extolled virtues of portfolio strategy had not delivered on the promised achievement of sustainable competitive advantage and the US was increasingly losing out to foreign competitors who were now outperforming US companies on US soil: ‘It was the powerful and dramatic impact of foreign competition, particularly from Japan, that jolted awake most American managers, and with them, students and analysts of management and firm behavior’ (Bartlett and Ghoshal 1991: 5). It seems that American business, buoyed by decades of stability and growth, had been unable to anticipate the emerging competition from the East. Or was it that they simply believed that the threat was not serious? Kiechel reminds us of Henry Ford II's famous remarks on the entry of Japanese automobiles into the US car market in the 1980s, dismissing them as ‘those little shitboxes’ (Kiechel 2010: xii).