Lifetime Employment in 21st Century Japan: Stability and Resilience Under Pressure in the Japanese Management System
University of Sheffield - School of East Asian Studies; Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies
October 31, 2011
EMERGING PERSPECTIVES IN JAPANESE HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT, pp. 15-44, S. Horn, ed., Peter Lang, 2011
Despite repeated predictions of its demise, lifetime employment remains the core institution of the Japanese management system, and regular employment in a large and prestigious organization continues to be the aspiration of the majority of Japanese younger people.
Although organizations have continuously adapted their systems to developments in the domestic and international political economies, prompting debates as to the nature and significance of such change, assertions that lifetime employment is disappearing, or has even collapsed, have thus far proven incorrect. In this chapter we root our analysis in the social constructionist assumption that all employment relationships are produced and reproduced as a continuously negotiated settlement between the past, current, and anticipated requirements of employers and employees. Thus, the persistence of lifetime employment depends upon both the willingness of employers to offer it to current and prospective employees, and the extent to which current and prospective employees wish to accept that offer. However, we also assume that all meetings of employers’ and employees’ needs are to some degree context dependent, and it is therefore necessary to frame our analysis within an understanding of the environment within which lifetime employment rests.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 27
Keywords: lifetime employment, Japan, organization, human resource management
JEL Classification: Z10, J41, J5, J50, J6, L20, L22, M12, M51, M54, N30Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: December 14, 2011 ; Last revised: January 6, 2012
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