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Corporate Governance in JapanInstitutional Change and Organizational Diversity$
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Masahiko Aoki, Gregory Jackson, and Hideaki Miyajima

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199284511

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199284511.001.0001

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Employment Adjustment and Distributional Conflict in Japanese Firms 1

Employment Adjustment and Distributional Conflict in Japanese Firms 1

(p.282) 10 Employment Adjustment and Distributional Conflict in Japanese Firms1
Corporate Governance in Japan

Gregory Jackson (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines employment practices and adjustment drawing on both survey data and case study materials. While over 80% of Japanese listed firms maintain a commitment to lifetime employment, many firms have abandoned seniority-based wages in favour of merit-based payment systems based on individual performance evaluations. Some corporate governance practices, such as stock options and equity-based performance measures, negatively impact the continued use of seniority-based pay. Meanwhile, the percentage of in-house board members has a negative impact on market employment patterns, which suggests that external market pressures may be less important than the style of insider governance in determining employment patterns. Despite this continued commitment to lifetime employment, the core of employees covered under such arrangements is shrinking through the active use of ‘benevolent’ methods of employment adjustment, such as early retirement schemes. These finds suggest that some elements of Japanese-style HRM may be compatible with changing corporate governance institutions.

Keywords:   Japanese economy, lifetime employment, human resource management, performance-related pay, downsizing, corporate restructuring

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