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Wiltshire, Richard John (1993) Personnel transfers and the geographical mobility of population: The case of Japan. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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Personnel transfers within the internal labour markets of large multilocational organizations are shown to be the largest single cause of interregional population migration in contemporary Japan. The challenges which such transfers present to conventional migration theory are examined in the context of Japanese personnel management practices, especially the so-called "lifetime employment system". A typology of transfers under this system is developed, and a typical pattern of career mobility described. The incidence of personnel transfers is examined in respect of industry, company size and the personal characteristics of transferees, and the locus of real decision-making power is explored. The temporal and spatial characteristics of interregional transfers are described in detail. Two case studies illustrate the incidence of transfers in stable organizations and in industries undergoing structural transformation. The first case study, of the Ministry of Labour, reveals intricate relationships between geographical mobility and the career paths of senior government officials, while the second, which examines personnel transfers within the Nippon Steel Corporation, shows how transfers are incorporated within broader policies for structural adjustment. The housing needs of transferees are often met directly by the employer through the provision of company housing, a distinctive feature of the Japanese case, as is the prevalence of "partial migration", in which the primary migrant (the transferee) leaves his/her family behind for the duration of a posting. These aspects of the Japanese transfer system are examined in detail, before a concluding chapter sets the agenda for future research.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:03

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