Handbook of Research on Comparative Human Resource Management
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Handbook of Research on Comparative Human Resource Management

Edited by Chris Brewster and Wolfgang Mayrhofer

This unique and path-breaking Handbook explores the issue of comparative Human Resource Management (HRM) and challenges the notion that there can be a ‘one best way’ to manage HRM.
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Chapter 27: Japan, Korea and Taiwan: Issues and Trends in Human Resource Management

Philippe Debroux, Wes Harry, Shigeaki Hayashi, Hwang Heh Jason, Keith Jackson and Toru Kiyomiya


Philippe Debroux, Wes Harry, Shigeaki Hayashi, Huang Heh Jason, Keith Jackson and Toru Kiyomiya The three countries discussed here, although very different in ethnic and cultural backgrounds, share some common factors. The three are at the periphery of the Asian landmass – South Korea on a peninsula and the  other two in groups of islands. These countries had a shared history, at least for a time, when Korea and Taiwan (then Formosa) were occupied by Japan for much of the first half of the twentieth century. During the second half of that century the three countries successfully embraced capitalism, with government support and under the influence of the United States of America, and in so doing recovered fairly rapidly from the devastation of the Pacific War – in contrast to their neighbours in North Korea and the People’s Republic of China which in the 1940s adopted the Communist economic model (as discussed in Chapter 27). In this chapter we draw attention to the aspects of HRM that may be little understood by foreigners even those who are resident in the region for many years. Although much has been written by foreigners about the economic miracles of these East Asian states the impressions gained by outsiders may not reflect the realities of hard work, dedication, ability and innovation of the citizens nor the uncertainly, exploitation and health risks also experienced by these citizens. As we are concentrating on the HRM aspects of these countries we have omitted general discussions of the business environment...

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