Handbook of the International Political Economy of Production
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Handbook of the International Political Economy of Production

Edited by Kees van der Pijl

This Handbook provides a state-of-the-art overview of the changing world of global production. Chapters cover the geography of why and where jobs are moving in both manufacturing and services. The authors discuss topics relating to the human and natural basis on which production rests, from the consequences of exploitation and marginalization on body and mind, to sex work, biotechnology, and the prospects for ecological re-balancing. This Handbook will appeal to academics at all levels interested in political economy, international studies and politics, as well as trade unionists and NGO activists.
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Chapter 15: Globalization and Japanese-style management: image and changing reality

Ryoji Ihara


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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