Human Resource Management in Japan

Description of the Mitsubishi corporation management

The Japanese management system is based on the traditional values of the Japanese society in combination with the measures taken by the enterprises to attract qualified working force t the business in the post-war period after the Second World War. In this respect, the nature of the business relations in Japan is fostered by the traditions and historic circumstances.

However, it is necessary to compare the way the business is ran in Japan and in the Western world and find out whether these two types of business are interchangeable and whether there is a slightest necessity for applying the Western type of business management to Japan. At the same time, globalisation is the concept that facilitates the process when the borders blur between cultures which also concerns business, the management tactics, and corporate culture.

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The image of a company man is distinguished in Japanese business model in terms of employment and management. As indicated in the case cited in the study by Beardwell and Claydon (2007), “…company man may be on the way to extinction in Western firms…” (p. 571).

In this case, the concept of ‘company man’ is referred to as a person who is on the lifetime employment and has an extremely high level of corporate culture and corporate commitment to the work, company, other individuals that work there, and the goals set and reached by the company as a whole.

So, it can be understood that the skills and achievements of every person are not important whereas the main thing that counts is the company’s achievement and financial performance. Therefore, the lifetime employment can be considered an advantage and a disadvantage in the framework of changing roles and priorities in global business.

Analysis of japanese management

The main HRM roles in Japan. The main human resource management roles in Japanese companies have a little different function than in other countries of, for instance, Western world. For example, the supervision is a typical role executed by an HR manager in all countries but only in Japan the manager should contribute greatly to the solution of the problem rather than become a part of the problem and simply report about it.

In this respect, every manager should be aware of what is going on in the company, especially related to the sector of his/her direct supervision. The system of payment and bonuses does not depend on the performance levels of employees. So, rewards and benefits are distributed in accordance with the age, seniority, and length of employment principles making the promotion on the professional ladder almost impossible for young colleagues in spite of the effective performance or extraordinary skills applied to practice (Tayeb, 2005, p. 41).

As reported by Debroux (2003), “…top managers in large Japanese companies think that the main role of management is to increase capital efficiency and maximize shareholder profits” (p. 68). As such, the roles of Japanese human resource managers are not clearly defined from management perspective because the corporate culture blurs away the differences and borders.

Pros and cons of solving the case from HR perspective. The company man case can be solved from the human resource perspective but it will take a lot of time to adjust people’s way of perception and the hierarchy they got used to in accordance with the principles promoted in the Western companies.

The pros of solving the case from human resource perspective include a wider range of opportunities for personal and professional growth within the companies. As such, graduates of universities who obtain a position in a corporation would not be trained during the entire career in one corporation and the training programmes would be more focused on acquisition of the basic skills and knowledge for successful performance and financial benefits for the company.

The cons of solving the case from human resources perspective include the relations between the traditions and loyalty in Japanese companies and effectiveness of performance. As claimed by Tayeb (2005), “the Japanese loyalty is to the group to which they belong and for which they are prepared to sacrifice their personal interests” (p. 65). So, it is possible that implementation of the new HRM model would influence the performance of Japanese companies in a negative way.

Difficulties in the case. The most difficult issues in the case concern the promotional patterns applied to Japanese companies as contrasted to the Western firms where the abilities and skills contribute to the professional achievements and, consequently, enable employees to attain their career ladder goals and increase of the wages.

In this respect, the main problem that should be solved concerns the management roles and the structure/hierarchy of the company based on the age-related issues where seniority is the reason for promotion and not the achievements that contribute positively to the image and performance of the company in whole. As soon as management problems are solved in the companies, pay and bonus functions of HR managers can be reconsidered after introduction of changes into structure of the company.

Tactical questions in the process. The issues of primary concern include the context in which the problem occurs because Japan is the country with solid history and traditions that are part of this history. Besides, every employee is aware of the strategic and tactical plans of the company and fulfils his/her functions in order to make a contribution to the final goal.

The behaviour of employees is the key factor to the corporate success of Japanese companies due to the loyalty and commitment principles promoted through the career-long training, seniority-based promotion, and seniority-based wages and bonuses that do not depend on the professional qualification of employees.

In this respect, the situation is difficult to approach with or without human resource perspective because it is closely related to personnel and would influence people and their work as well as corporate performance in whole.

Professional experience

To handle the case from different managerial perspectives, it is necessary to be aware of the typical principles in the country where the problem occurs because the origin identifies how the case should be approached and what strategies better suit the situation in terms of the managerial functions, management roles, and corporate culture.

For instance, in Japan every employee who works for a large corporation is either a part-time/seasonal employee or was recruited right after graduation and overcame training within the corporation to understand the principles of work and become qualified in his/her professional sector. Lack of knowledge about the national rules of business operation may lead to inadequate approach chosen for the case.

To conclude, every national have specific traditions and rules that become either influential for the behaviour or the basis for business conduct. As such, Japanese companies should solve the problem of redundancy of employees without influencing the employment status of currently employed workers.

Bibliography

Beardwell, J., and Claydon, T., 2007. Human resource management: a contemporary approach. 5th ed. Harlow, Essex: Pearson Education.

Debroux, P., 2003. Human resource management in Japan: changes and uncertainties: a new human resource management system fitting to the global economy. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.

Tayeb, M. H., 2005. International human resource management: a multinational company perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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