Japanese Hrm

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JAPANESE HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT: INSPIRATIONS FROM ABROAD AND CURRENT TRENDS OF CHANGE

Markus Pudelko Anne-Wil Harzing

Version November 2009

To be published in Bebenroth, R. (ed) (2010) International Human Resource Management in Japan, London: Routledge.

Copyright © 2008-2009 Markus Pudelko & Anne-Wil Harzing All rights reserved.

Prof. Anne-Wil Harzing University of Melbourne Department of Management & Marketing Faculty of Economics & Commerce Parkville Campus Melbourne, VIC 3010 Australia

Email: anne-wil@harzing.com Web: www.harzing.com

Japanese Human Resource Management: Inspirations from Abroad and Current Trends of Changei

Authors Markus Pudelko University of Edinburgh Management School 50 George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9JY, UK Tel: + 44 131 651 1491; Fax: + 44 131 668 3053, e-mail: markus.pudelko@ed.ac.uk Anne-Wil Harzing University of Melbourne, Department of Management Parkville 3010, AUSTRALIA Tel: +61 3 8344 3724, Fax +61 3 9349 4293, e-mail: harzing@unimelb.edu.au

Markus Pudelko is Professor of International Business at Tübingen University and worked previously at the University of Edinburgh Business School. He has earned Masters degrees in Business Studies (University of Cologne), Economics (Sorbonne University) and International Management (Community of European Management Schools - CEMS) and a PhD (University of Cologne). Markus Pudelko published previously on Japanese management practices in journals such as Human Resource Management, Long Range Planning, International Journal of Human Resource Management, Human Resource Management Journal, Organizational Dynamics and Asian Business and Management. In 2005 he co-edited a book entitled “Japanese Management: The Search for a New Balance between Continuity and Change” with Palgrave. Anne-Wil Harzing is Professor in International Management at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Her research interests include international HRM, expatriate management, HQsubsidiary relationships, cross-cultural management and the role of language in international business. She has published about these topics in journals such as Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of Organizational Behaviour, Strategic Management Journal, Human Resource Management, and Organization Studies. Her books include Managing the Multinationals (Edward Elgar, 1999) and International Human Resource Management (Sage, 2010). Since 1999 she also maintains an extensive website (www.harzing.com) with resources for international and cross-cultural management as well as academic publishing and bibliometrics.

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Abstract The objective of this chapter is to develop suggestions as to how Japanese multinational corporations (MNCs) might best make use of foreign, here specifically American and German, HRM practices in order to reform their own HRM model. These suggestions are based on a large scale empirical study, encompassing responses from more than 800 HR managers. The learning possibilities for Japanese companies from abroad are analyzed on two different levels: at headquarters and at subsidiary level. Based on empirical evidence, this chapter argues that for Japan, the American system serves as a powerful source of inspiration, highlighting the direction of change. However, in order to establish to what degree to change, more ‘moderate’ approaches – such as, for example, the German one – might provide additional sources of inspiration. In any case, no matter from where outside inspirations are taken, the Japanese socio-cultural context has to be taken fully into consideration, if this adaptation process is to lead to positive results.

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2 INTRODUCTION Human resource management (HRM) has been perceived by many observers as a key ingredient accounting for the success of Japanese companies on world markets during the 1980s. Suggestions of how Western managers could learn from Japanese HRM practices were plentiful. Only one decade later, however, Japan went...
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