The Fading Of The Ie In Corporate Japan Essay

This essay has a total of 952 words and 4 pages.

The Fading Of The Ie In Corporate Japan

The Japanese culture has allowed for very little diversity. This started very early in
their history. The social controls used to eliminate diversity are the family, the power
of gender, the poor treatment of minority groups, the corporate Japanese mentality, and
the respect required by the people in authority. However, due to the globalization and the
shrinking of the world, Japanese society is starting to make the change to diversity. The
individualistic mentality shared by the new technology driven younger generation is
putting pressure on the old Japanese system. The transformation is happening very slow,
but as the population ages and the old conservatives are being replaced by the new
liberals, the old way of thinking is also being replaced by the new.

The traditional family system known as the ie is used as a model for the large Japanese
corporations. The family is very important to the Japanese. Japan has seen the nuclear
family replace the extended family as the dominant form of family life. In premodern
Japan, the extended family was not a large kinship group consisting of all or most family
members living together. Rather, the Japanese extended family consisted of the main family
and separate branch families. Nowadays, the nuclear family, consisting of the parents and
their children with, on occasion, one or two grandparents is the most common type in
Japan. As it applies to the Japanese extended family, the ie system refers to a lineal up
and down structure, with the main family at the top and the various branch families
arranged downward.

In the ie, continuity of the main family is very important. Special privilege is given to
the eldest son so that one day he would become successor of the family. Also, just as in
the rest of Japanese culture and other cultures, the elderly are respected by the younger.
The ie system fostered sexual discrimination and status distinctions both within and
between families. The highest status went to males of the main family, while the branch
families and especially females were considered less important. Although there was no
reason to suppose that daughters and younger sons were loved any less by their parents,
the ie system was normative, requiring them to leave and form their own branch families.

In the same sense, the Japanese corporation serves in the same tradition of the ie. Just
as parents expect respect and loyalty from their children, company authorities expect the
same loyalty from their workers. Males are given privileges over females in the companies.
Most young male workers once entering a company stay with it for their entire life. These
workers come to view their company as almost a benevolent parent. A worker's identity is
shaped not by their individual title but by the company they belong to. Female workers are
not treated with the same consideration. Since female workers usually become housewives
later on in their life, it is hard for them to fill a long-term position, especially since
they are usually the first to go if a company needs to cut back. In addition, outsiders
are rarely welcomed into the company, adhering to the ie and keeping the business within
the corporate family. However as the newer generation comes into the corporate world, the
tradition of this ie system could possibly be fading, thus making room for more diversity.

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