Handbooks of Research on International Political Economy series
Edited by Kees van der Pijl
Chapter 15: Globalization and Japanese-style management: image and changing reality
Japanese-style management has attracted widespread attention from the period of high economic growth in the 1960s to the zenith of the bubble economy in the 1990s. However, with the slackening of the Japanese economy, the same management style has become a target for criticism and has declined in relevance. The evaluation of how Japanese companies manage their workforces has accordingly fluctuated, depending on general business conditions. Most critical assessments meanwhile are based on a stereotypical image of Japanese behavioural patterns and society, and have therefore failed to grasp the true reality of the workplace. With this in mind, this chapter reviews and assesses studies of Japanese-style management in order to separate fiction from fact. In addition, the chapter will look at those changes that have affected the Japanese workplace in the epoch of globalization, in part based on the author’s own direct experience.
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