From Factory to Enterprise, from Enterprise to Business Group
This chapter describes a broad trend in the transformation of the structure of companies and unions in Japan from the end of the Second World War to the present day. Four periods are identified: the first decade after 1945 when many unions sprung up at the factory level; the 1950s and 1960s when corporate consolidation led to the unification of factory unions into enterprise unions; the 1970s and 1980s when the diffusion of corporate groupings led to the formation of roren (i.e., union federations organised along the lines of a corporate group); and the years since the recession of the 1990s when corporate spin-offs and rationalization were challenging unions to redefine their boundaries. For each period, the types of corporate boundary, hierarchical boundary, or workforce boundary that became topical and contentious are discussed.
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