Guide Women and Japanese Management: Discrimination and Reform

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Buchanan, J. The psychological contract and career agency of young scientists in the entrepreneurial university Lam, A. Academic scientists and knowledge commercialization: self-determination and diverse motivations Lam, A. Welpe, I. Switzerland: Springer , p. Reale, E. Tacit knowledge, embedded agency and learning: local nodes and global networks Lam, A.

The psychological contract and careers of young scientists in the entrepreneurial university Lam, A. Lam, A. University-industry collaboration: careers and knowledge governance in hybrid organisational space Lam, A. Knowledge sharing in organisational contexts: a motivation-based perspective Lam, A. Tacit knowledge, organizational learning and societal institutions: an integrated framework Lam, A.

Anderson, N. Academic scientists in fuzzy university-industry boundaries Lam, A. A scoping study of university-industry knowledge transfer in the creative and cultural sector Lam, A. Tacit knowledge problem in multinational corporations: Japanese and US offshore knowledge incubators Lam, A. Knowledge creation and sharing in organisational contexts: a motivation-based perspective Lam, A.

Human resource management Lam, A. Gabriel, Y.

Boonstra, J. Work roles and careers of academic scientists in university-industry collaboration Lam, A. Knowledge networks and careers: academic scientists in industry-university links Lam, A. Multinationals and transnational social space for learning Lam, A. Karen, P. The Learning organisation and national systems of competence building and innovation Lam, A.

Lorenz, E. Oxford University Press , p. Hybrid scientific community bridges the divide Lam, A. Organizational Innovation Lam, A. Fagerberg, J. Societal institutions, learning organizations and innovation in the knowledge economy Lam, A.

Women in Japan

Alternative societal models of learning and innovation in the knowledge economy Lam, A. Communities of practice and networks: key concepts and issues Lam, A. Higher education systems and industrial innovation Verider, E. Skills formation in the knowledge-based economy: transformation pressures in European high-technology industries Lam, A. Hanami, T. European Commission Directorate General for Research , 26 p.

Verdier, E. Innovation policy and knowledge management in the learning economy - the interplay between firm strategies and national systems of competence building and innovation Lam, A. OECD , 34 p. Tacit knowledge, organizational learning and societal institutions: An integrated framework Lam, A.

Management of product development and utilisation of skills of engineers Lam, A. Maurice, M. Paris: L'Hartmattan , p. Tacit knowledge, organisational learning and societal institutions: a societal perspective Lam, A. The social embeddedness of knowledge: knowledge sharing and organisational learning in international ventures Lam, A. Embedded firms, embedded knowledge: Problems of collaboration and knowledge transfer in global cooperative ventures Lam, A. Engineers, management and work organization: A comparative analysis of engineers' work roles in British and Japanese electronics firms Lam, A.

Warner, M. All these facts prove that Japanese religion and philosophy rather influenced gender roles of women in a negative way. Consequently, Japanese religious beliefs not only regard women to be inferior but also defined their gender roles and limited existing opportunities. Gender separation has been introduced as an accepted necessity in economy, society, and education and mastered every possible aspect of life Ziegler, The Japanese society has not always been hostile against women. Indeed, early societal structures were rather matriarchal and mirrored a myth of the Japanese as direct successors of sun goddess Amaterasu [1].

Some years ago, women even suffered from arranged marriages, so-called omiai, and had to walk three steps behind their men in order to show obedience Crump, Although modern women are more independent in their choices, other forms of discrimination remain. Obviously, religiously influenced gender roles still count today: Japanese women shall stick to their traditional function and sacrifice their careers for being house-keeping mothers and wives Morinaga et al. According to societal concerns, working women might neglect their caring-function concerning maternal duties and care for the elderly, a generation that is growing in Japan Krupp, Nevertheless, rigid gender roles and power spheres also lead to contradictions: On the one hand, the Japanese woman is considered to be powerless and inferior when it comes to business life, but on the other hand, she has complete control at home over totally dependent men [2] Ogasawara, But does such a sharp gender separation mean that women do not work at all?

Women and Japanese management :discrimination and reform /Alice C.L. Lam. – National Library

Of course not; the number of women entering the workforce is steadily increasing. The reasons responsible for a low female labour force participation become visible at the second glance: Firstly, many women quit work after childbirth and marriage and secondly, Japanese men dominate the labour force and are preferred candidates for leadership positions Ogasawara, Japan is relying only on the male part of its labour force and offers women fewer possibilities to be recruited Pesek, a.

Patriarchal mind-set is also illustrated by the Japanese value system. Japanese men are both family- and career-oriented, but at the same time they see no need to participate in family life. Females are crucial to keep a family together Levey Silver, ; albeit family members will spend only little time together as long as men are loyal life-time employees giving their company the first priority Kaminski Paiz, Now one might understand why the Japanese do not only appreciate commitment to career but also to everyday life duties Sugihara Katsurada, : Separated gender roles require both women and men to dedicate themselves to their clear responsibilities.

When speaking about Japanese ideals, education cannot be left out as most important driver of status, promotion, and social recognition Haak Haak, Whitehill describes the continuous striving for education and personal improvement as deeply rooted Confucian principle to measure an ideal society according to educational standards Pudelko, Thus, high motivation and discipline are typical Japanese characteristics Krupp, and necessary to enter highly valued prestige universities as essential preparation for management careers Edwards Pasquale, Apart from masculine values like competitiveness and striving for power, face-saving tendencies are also essential.


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Honne Tatamae name the double-structured identity that is already learned during early childhood: Individual interests are always hidden between group motives that reflect societal expectations Nakane, as cited in Sugihara Katsurada, One should always avoid speaking directly about personal needs without considering group census Haak Haak, During their whole life, the Japanese learn to derive their own identity from group relationships and to fit in vertical hierarchies Sugihara Katsurada, When entering male territories, career women and working mothers may be confronted with their biggest fear of becoming outsiders Haak Haak, If females really gain access to management levels, in-group status will only be maintained until their loyalty becomes doubtful, for example when they have to interrupt employment for starting a family Sama Papamarcos, Due to face-saving, the Japanese also dislike public struggles and law suits.

Additionally, masculinity is an integral part of society: On the one hand, male values like achievement are preferred; on the other hand, gender roles are extremely fixed [3] and prevent women from climbing the career ladder.

Daily Noon Briefing

Japan has been isolated from foreign influences for a long time before American allied forces initiated first international business relations in the middle of the 19th century Haak Haak, In , however, the situation changed when Japan was confronted with the end of the bubble economy and decreasing growth rates towards a recession Katzner, The former miracle was now known as deflation accompanied by high national debts and economic stagnation Goldberg, Although the situation relaxed slightly during the following years, future prognoses remained guarded Goldberg, The 21st century finally brought an economic recovery with new growth rates supported by government measures, increasing exports, and corporate investments Haak Haak, Today, Japan ranks the second place among the richest world economies [4] Lewis, ; United States Commercial Service, and belongs to the leading global powers.

As only Asian country that has successfully introduced a market economy, Japan is comparable to Western economies Levey Silver, Nevertheless, official sources currently speak of a recession and even downgrade their annual GDP growth forecast Lewis, While public debts are high, consumption levels are too low and accompanied by limited employment opportunities BBC News, Japan is still growing slowly, but runs the risk of not being able to keep up with the faster and higher worldwide growth Kitazume, But what consequences can be derived from these economic facts for women?

Regardless of the business cycle, female employees and managers in Japan always have to face more obstacles than their male counterparts. Under the current economic situation, these problems will probably be boosted: If employment opportunities and growth are stagnating, chances for female minorities on the labour market are likely to decrease further. Benson et al. Without higher participation of females on the labour market, important sources of income and consumption are missing and make the reduction of the high national debt impossible Pesek, a.

Why Japan's Women Problem Is Hard to Fix

Additionally to the mentioned economy issues, Japan has a serious demographic problem. In , the Japanese population amounted to The beginning population decrease leads to a shrinking labour force whereas this problem will accelerate within the next decades Statistics Bureau, d. If current downward trends will continue, the Japanese population is expected to halve until the end of this century Renshaw, However, lacking talent will not remain the only consequence of this development.

As population and long-term growth are closely linked, a shrinking Japanese society will lead to productivity reduction, additional national burden, and limited competitiveness in the future Duesterberg, Again, women could be the key to improve this situation as a higher utilization of females could close the increasing labour force gap.

Other countries like Norway even show how fostering female labour force participation correlates with increasing birth rates Atoh, But obviously such ideas have not yet been fully adopted in Japan. Some politicians even want to refuse governmental support for childless women and blame them for their independence Nakata, Unfortunately, such attitudes are widespread and not a single case. Thus, Japanese women are openly encouraged to sacrifice their careers for marriage and child rearing Walsh, b; Nakata, Despite economic and demographic problems, Japanese companies and politicians still neglect female talents who might offer solutions.

Previously discussed findings about national culture reveal that Japan is not comparable to other industrial countries due to exceptionally unequal gender roles Chiavacci, whose cultural embedding becomes also visible through existing legal principles. Therefore, Table 2 see below illustrates selected legal milestones for Japanese women from which the most discussed shall be explained briefly.

Obviously, elementary rights were granted relatively late to Japanese women. While tertiary education was already open to American women in , Japanese females gained the right to enter universities not until Renshaw, Foreign influence, however, often fostered Japanese gender equality: After World War II, American allied forces initiated the right to vote for women Kelsky, Similarly, the United Nations Convention of Discrimination against Women was signed in order to raise international acceptance Renshaw, Originally, the EEOL from was initiated to prevent gender discrimination in employment due to lacking legal standards and loopholes which enabled employers to recruit only men for management positions Nakakubo, The solution seemed to be the introduction of a dual career track system which allowed new recruits of both genders to choose between a management career track and a clerical career track Nakamura, Only the first track enabled candidates to work on complex tasks and to pursue a management career, but also required unlimited mobility, loyalty, and career commitment.

In contrast, the clerical track required less mobility, but also did not include promotions or an adequate salary Krupp, ; Wirth, However, this innovation was highly criticized; only few women selected a management career and employers were now officially entitled to focus personnel development on few and often male employees Nakamura, Indirect discrimination continued and companies preferred male applicants or were only willing to recruit female managers in case of too few male applicants Lam, as cited in Ziegler, In , two years after its enactment, the first EEOL revision came into effect and prohibited discrimination in every aspect of employment from recruitment to retirement Nakata Takehiro, Sexual harassment protection was strengthened and females were also allowed to work overtime and at night Kinoti, Although real penalties were again missing, it was now possible to denunciate violators in public which would mean a loss of face Sama Papamarcos, Nevertheless, the rather weak revision could not ban indirect discrimination like the dual career track system Nakakubo, ; Kinoti, Clearer definitions of discriminatory practises and higher compliance standards shall finally bring equality Gross Minot, In spite of stricter governmental controls, Nakakubo still describes the second revision as ineffective and regards court trials as the only way to achieve equal opportunity.

The irony of globalization: The experience of Japanese women in British higher education

The Japanese government also enacted several laws for fostering childcare support like the new Next Generation Law from Implemented in order to advance work life balance, companies have to develop specific childcare support programs. However, as long as corporate cultures discourage women from making use of their rights, enacting childcare laws is not a panacea to support mothers Weathers, Apart from proper implementation, childcare support programs also require public acceptance of both working mothers and fathers in order to work properly.

In summary, gender equality is considered to be an important topic in Japan and major legal progresses have been made. However, compliance is affected by weak definitions and lacking penalties. Western gender equality principles are not implemented yet and courts still agree with discriminatory employment practises and discretion Faiola, Despite existing laws, female managers remain a minority and the dual career track system has survived in varied forms Weathers, As organizational values are also culture-bond Morinaga et al. Career commitment is not only an important societal value, but generally expected from Japanese men.

Work and work ethic are regarded to be the most important aspects of life Pudelko, Long working hours, overtime, short vacations, collective after-work discussions, and permanent stress are typical for Japanese employment relations and coined the term karoshi which means death by excessive labour [5] Haak Haak, Thus, cases of karoshi will probably occur in future, too — whereas working mothers who also want to succeed in business but cannot neglect their family duties are likely to suffer most.

Baba developed the term companyism which describes the work-obsessed society and strong community spirits between employees Osawa, However, strong inner-company groups are not open to all employees: Indeed , women are not only excluded from these male-dominated domains but should also support their husbands with household and childcare services.