chapter  3
33 Pages

Japanese human resource management: Inspirations from abroad and current trends of change


The objective of this chapter is to develop suggestions as to how Japanese multinational corporations might best make use of foreign, here specifically American and German, HRM practices in order to reform their own HRM model. These suggestions are based on a large-scale empirical study, encompassing responses from more than 800 HR managers. The learning possibilities for Japanese companies from abroad are analyzed on two different levels: at headquarters and at subsidiary level. Based on empirical evidence, this chapter argues that, for Japan, the American system serves as a powerful source of inspiration, highlighting the direction of change. However, in order to establish to what degree to change, more “moderate” approaches – such as, for example, the German one – might provide additional sources of inspiration. In any case, no matter from where outside inspirations are taken, the Japanese socio-cultural context has to be taken fully into consideration if this adaptation process is to lead to positive results.