1st Edition

Women and Japanese Management Discrimination and Reform

By Alice C L Lam Copyright 1992

    Standard works on the employment systems of Japanese companies deal almost exclusively with men. Women, however, constitute the vast majority of the low wage, highly flexible "non-core" employees.
    This book breaks new ground in examining the role of Japanese women in industry. It assesses the extent to which growing pressure for equal opportunities between the sexes has caused Japanese companies to adapt their employment and personnel management practices in recent years.
    The author puts the argument in an historical perspective, covering the employment of Japanese women from the start of Japan's industrialisation up to the turning point of the 1986 Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Law. She examines the background and execution of the legislation and she looks at the response of the business community. In her case study of the Seibu department store, which takes up the final part of the book, Lam concludes that the EEO Law has not had the desired effect.

    Introduction 1 Introduction and background Part I Discrimination against women in employment: theory and practice 2 Internal labour markets and discrimination 3 Sexual inequality in the Japanese employment system: discriminatory company practices 4 The emerging situation: changing company practice in response to market pressures Part II Legislation and reform 5 Legislating for change? The Equal Employment Opportunity Law 6 The management response Part III A case study 7 The Seibu case: an introduction 8 The Seibu case: changing company practice 9 Changing roles and attitudes of Seibu women: towards equal opportunity? Part IV Conclusions 10 Equal employment for women in the Japanese employment system: limitations and obstacles


    Alice C L Lam

    `The book is a rich source of information not only on the conditions for women in Japanese corporations but also on Japanese management practices in general... for the student not only of Japanese management but of women's studies generally, the book offers some helpful insights.' - The Financial Times

    `...a fascinating study that breaks new ground.' - Long Range Planning

    `...a well crafted and multi-dimensional account of the problem that will probably not be bettered for some time to come... in its path-breaking mould, clarity of writing, theoretical review and data manipulation, Lam has done us all a favour.' - Industrial Relations Journal

    `[Alice Lam's] study is the most detailed treatment to date of Japanese firms' employment policies, the general legal framework, and the impact the 1985 Equal Employment Opportunities Law on employers' behaviour and women's own work attitudes. Moreover, in analyzing the state's role in formulating and interpreting labor policy, Lam adds an important dimension to previous studies of male employment.' - Monumenta Nipponica