The Evolution of Enterprise Unionism in Japan: A Socio-Political Perspective
54 Pages Posted: 19 Apr 2007
Date Written: April 2007
This paper proposes an alternative framework to understand enterprise unionism by emphasizing political dynamics and the role of the state in labor relations. Our framework delineates the strategic behavior patterns of the tripartite IR actors, and maintains that the initial period of the collective bargaining era constituted a critical juncture (state labor policy) that occurred in distinctive ways in different countries and that these differences played a central role in shaping the different union structures in the following decades. Our historical analysis shows that unlike its counterparts in Western countries, the Japanese state was able to eradicate the horizontal union movement at the onset of the collective bargaining era because of its late developer advantages and Cold War politics resulting in enterprise unionism in Japan.
Keywords: enterprise unionism, Japan, corporate governance
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