A re-examination of flexible working in Japan

Jason MacVaugh, Jason Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This article re-examines commonly held perspectives on flexible employment practices used in Japanese organisations. Recent research has concluded that market conditions have caused a shift away from lifetime employment and towards flexible employment. To examine this position, the literature is compared with statistics available from Japan's Nippon Keidanren, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Public Management Ministry, Ministry of Health Labour and Welfare, the United Nations and OECD. A synthesis of these sources demonstrates that flexible employment practices are part of a historic, not recent, model of employment. Concluding with an integrated table of key labour market statistics, the article highlights a Western academic tendency to rely on the macro-level three pillars model and not use meso-level labour statistics as a reference point to define flexible employment conditions in Japanese organisations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1245-1258
Number of pages14
JournalThe International Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Asia
  • Human resource management
  • Japan
  • Model of employment
  • Theory of the flexible firm


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