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High-Involvement Work Systems in Japan, the United States, and Korea: Evidence from Field Research

Takao Kato ()

A chapter in International Perspectives on Participation, 2014, vol. 15, pp 95-119 from Emerald Publishing Ltd

Abstract: Abstract This chapter is aimed at filling two important gaps in the large literature on high-involvement work system (HIWS). First, the existing literature tends to focus on North America and Western Europe, and detailed information on HIWS outside of the two regions (especially Asia) is still limited. Second, while there is a large body of quantitative evidence, the literature is relatively scant on detailed account of exactly how specific HIWS practices are implemented in the real workplace. This chapter draws on our extensive field research at firms in Japan, the United States, and Korea, and presents real-world examples of HIWS of firms in Japan, Korea, and the United States. Our detailed account of the implementation of HIWS in the three countries points to an intriguing process of transnational diffusion of HIWS. Japanese firms as early experimenters of HIWS posed a challenge to U.S. firms in the global marketplace, resulting in the trans-pacific diffusion of HIWS which is modified to the U.S. corporate culture. Due to its geographical proximity and historical connections to Japan, Korean firms were initially heavily influenced by Japanese HIWS. However, with the rising link to the United States and Europe, Japanese influence appears to have been waning, and interest in U.S. style HIWS and European-style state-mandated works council has risen, suggesting that a hybrid model may be emerging in Korea.

Keywords: High-involvement work systems; high-performance work systems; employee participation; human resource management; Japan; Korea; M5; J53; J33; J24; J41; L2; O53 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
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