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SUEMATSU Chiaki “Japanese Corporate Culture, Employment Practices (English)”

Course information

1. Lecture Subject Special Topics on Global Issues

2. Lecture Title Japanese Corporate Culture, Employment Practices
3. Number of Credits 2
4. Eligible Years Undergraduate
5. Instructor SUEMATSU Chiaki
6. Term/Day/Period 2nd Semester, Monday, 2nd Period (10:30~12:00)
7. Language of Instruction English
8. Class Outline, Objectives This course introduces students to Japanese corporate culture with the history of changes in employment practices. The classes will cover the Japanese Style Management, Bubble Economy, and the Lost 20 Years. How did Japanese companies develop their management style? Why were Japanese manufacturers regarded as the strongest? What caused the Bubble Economy? Why did they have to give up the practices once thought to be essential? While answering these questions, the course will emphasize the role of employment practices to illustrate the Japanese culture. Two main objectives of the course are to possess the knowledge of Japanese employment practices and to understand the rationales for changes in the practices for the past 20 years.
9. Class Schedule The course is a hybrid one. .The students get access to Google Classroom and get the instructions and materials.
The students staying in Sendai are strongly encouraged to show up and join the face-to-face class in the classroo, The students joining the crouse online need "Meet," and turn on the camera so that the instructor and other members can check the attendances.

It consists of lectures, discussions, and presentations. The instructor will provide online lectures on key issues about the process of employment practices. Then, he will lead discussions about important items. In order for students to join the discussions actively the reading papers will be posted in the Google Classroom together with some assignments. Students will need to read the papers and related materials, turn in the assignments prior to due dates, and join the discussions actively in the class. A couple of classes toward the end will be devoted to the student presentations. Students in small groups will work on case studies and make a presentation on one of them. The time of each presentation will be 20 min to 30 min long, adjusted depending on the number of groups.

The class schedule is as follows:

1)Introduction: Present an overview of the course. Make the self-introduction of the instructor and the students. Discuss the economic development in Japan after World War II briefly.

2)Theme: Japanese Style Management
Discuss the three basic elements, Lifetime Employment, Seniority Ranking System, and Corporate Labor Union. What are advantages and disadvantage of the elements over other management styles?

3)Theme: Japanese Employment Practices
Illustrate the human resource management typical to the Japanese companies during 70’s. They provided houses, dormitories, resort houses or loans. Employees traveled together and stayed overnight for harmony. Why were hot spring spots so prosperous? Who went there?

4)Theme: Corporate Japan
Besides the employment practices there were some systems peculiar to Japan, which supported the Japanese Style Management. Keiretsu, Shitauke, or Zaibatsu were often criticized from the US as unfair business practices. Were they really peculiar to Japan?

5)Theme: The Strongest Manufacturing
Under the Japanese Style Management employees worked quite hard. “Made in Japan” was (and still is) synonymous with the highest quality. How did the employment practices function to accomplish the highest quality?

6)Theme: What Caused the Bubble Economy
Accomplishing the economic success, how did most of Japanese feel? What was their “happiness?”

7)Theme: Too Much Assets and Too High Labor Costs
In 1991 the Bubble Economy ended with burst. Restructuring and re-engineering became key words in the business. What did they try to do?

8)Theme: Changes to Employment Practices
Gave up the lifetime employment and the seniority ranking system and introduced temp employees and the performance related pay system. Why did they have to give up the practices once thought to be essential? What did the new system bring to employees?

9)Theme: Japanese Disease
Serious problems spread to the society as a whole. The huge national debts, deflation, collapse in social securities, low birthrate, or elderly society… How are they going to solve them?

10)Case Study
The automobile industry and the electronics industry were leading powers that had driven the Japanese economy. The class will discuss one company from those industries and exemplify the management systems discussed in the classes.

11)Case Study 2
The class will discuss another company to learn about the applications of the management systems. The rest of the class will discuss important points on the student presentations. A set of case studies for the student presentation will be given out.

12)Student Presentations
Student groups will make presentations followed by questions and answers.

13)Student Presentations
Student groups will make presentations followed by questions and answers.

14)Student Presentations
Student groups will make presentations followed by questions and answers.

15)Summary
Return the graded student presentations and summarize the course.
10. Evaluation/Assignments 50%: Score of the group presentation
The presentation will account for 50% of the final grade, while the assignments and the overall class participation will contribute 30% and 20%, respectively. Discussions during the case studies and after the student presentations are more important and will make up one-half of the overall class participation. Low class attendance, missing three or more classes, will be regarded as no class participation.
Overdue assignment may not be accepted.

Grades for the course will be assigned as follows:

AA…… Excellent (90-100%)
A……… Good (80-89%)
B……… Fair (70-79%)
C……… Passing (60-69%)
D……… Fail (0-59%)
11. Textbooks Changes in Japanese Employment Practices: Beyond the Japanese Model, Arjan Keizer, Routledge, 2010, 978-0-415-44758-4
12. Out of Class Study Copies of the textbooks and other reading materials will be posted on the Google Classroom. Students need to read them before each class and prepare for the discussions conducted in the classes.

There will be four to five written assignments.

The final presentation is the group one. Students need to prepare for the presentation outside of the class hours.
13. Notes on Enrolling The online students use "Meet" to get access to the course. The students have to turn on the camera so that the instructor and other members can check the attendances. Discussions during the case studies and after the student presentations are more important and will make up one-half of the overall class participation. Low class attendance, missing three or more classes, will be regarded as no class participation.
Overdue assignment may not be accepted.
14. Syllabus URL Japanese Corporate Culture, Employment Practices
15. ICL Enrollment Limit 5
16. Language Requirements Students enrolling in this course must have good English proficiency.
17. Frequency of Intercultural Collaborative Learning Activities 100%
18. Other (Notes for ICL Enrollees)
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