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Clark, Rodney (1972) Social relations in a Japanese company. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis is an account of social relations in a medium sized, but rapidly growing Japanese corrugated paperboard manufacturer. The main determinants of these relations are, it is suggested, the isolation of the directors and employees of the company from people in other companies and from local communities; the state of the labour market, and its effect on the prospects of those within the company of finding equally good Jobs in other firms; and the nature of the organization of the company. The fact of the company's isolation is established by considering the relations of those within the company with other parts of Japanese society. It is suggested that a corollary of this isolation is the development of a strong sense of community within the company. The peculiarities of the Japanese labour market are explained and its consequences for recruitment and resignation from the company are considered. It is shown that for reasons which might be described as cultural the company recruits new workers in an extremely uneconomic manner. It is proposed that, partly as a result of this, there are two categories of workers within the company: those who can leave it without difficulty and those who can not. Differences of opinion and behaviour between the members of these two categories are described. The distinctive feature of company organization is shown to be an all-embracing system of grades and ranks, up which company members pass semi-automatically as they grow older - this in spite of the widespread acceptance of an ideal of meritocracy among employees. It is shown how relations between labour and management, among others, are affected by this form of organization. It is suggested that future changes in social relations in Japanese industry will be caused by increasingly severe labour shortage, and also perhaps, by changes in public attitudes to industry.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:02

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