The Habit of a Lifetime? Japanese and British University Students' Attitudes to Lifelong Employment
Japan Forum, Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 229-254, 2006
34 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2011 Last revised: 6 Jan 2012
Date Written: November 29, 2006
This article presents an analysis from a social constructionist perspective of data collected from British and Japanese university students on the desirability of lifetime employment at a single organization. The article emphasizes two related processes and in so doing helps to account for the diversity of employment structures both between and within the two countries as well as the persistence of lifetime employment in Japan. First, it shows that the two groups display some similarities in their attitudes but that their assumptions about employment practices in their countries may differ. These lead the two groups to develop the belief that they may be offered different outcomes and, thus, the students develop different conclusions as to the desirability of lifetime employment for themselves. Second, the research shows some differences in the students’ approaches and these too lead them to reach different conclusions about the desirability of lifelong employment. In addition, the research highlights how, in both Britain and Japan, medical students’ expectations are at times at odds with those of their colleagues in other subjects, and this may have important consequences for our understanding of how the respective employment systems are reproduced over time.
Keywords: lifetime employment, permanent employment, attitudes, values, university students, social constructionism
JEL Classification: Z10, J21, J24, J29, J41, L2
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation