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The layering of meso-level institutional effects on employment systems in Japan

Morris, Jonathan ORCID:, Delbridge, Rick ORCID: and Endo, Takahiro 2018. The layering of meso-level institutional effects on employment systems in Japan. British Journal of Industrial Relations 56 (3) , pp. 603-630. 10.1111/bjir.12296

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Japan’s corporate governance and employment relations systems have been under considerable pressures to reform towards a more Anglo-American model, against a back-drop of intensified global competition and slow economic growth over two ‘lost’ decades. But what is the relationship between these systems, and specifically, how does corporate governance structure condition employment relations practice? This paper adopts the ‘Systems, Society, Dominance and Corporate effects’ framework in order to contextualize and evaluate the outcomes of these pressures, particularly in the period following the 2007-8 global financial crisis. It reports case study data from various parts of the Japanese economy drawn from a series of firm-based interviews and a variety of secondary sources. It is argued that there has been a strong degree of continuity in certain employment practices, such as lifetime employment, even in relatively new high technology firms, but that the pattern for other practices, such as seniority-based pay, is more mixed with increasing differentiation between industries and individual organizations. We articulate a layered assessment of the varying SSDC effects at play in corporate Japan. This differentiation across industries and organizations is a function both of strategic choice (corporate effects) and also the increasing variation in the meso-level institutional pressures that are experienced at organizational level; that is, the differentiation in the sources and nature of dominance effects that are relevant.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0007-1080
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 27 November 2017
Date of Acceptance: 18 November 2017
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2023 22:37

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