Work and Pay in the United States and Japan

By Clair Brown; Yoshifumi Nakata et al. | Go to book overview

it, have developed practices that promote just-in-time learning but do not rely on long-term career ladders. These practices include short-term job rotation, cross- training by co-workers within teams, designation of certain workers as mentors for others, awarding extra pay to employees who demonstrate greater knowledge of work tasks, and using off-the-job training to solve actual problems arising from the work itself. Although it has become conventional wisdom to argue that such programs enhance company performance (Ichniowski et al., 1996), we find that such practices must be organized in a coherent ensemble in order to be successful.


NOTES
1.
Levine and Tyson ( 1990), writing on the link between participation and productivity, represent an influential argument along these lines. It is worth noting that some economic theories (for example, Shapiro and Stiglitz, 1984) expect employment security to result in more shirking rather than more effort.
2.
Influential statements along these lines by economists are Mincer and Higuchi ( 1988) and Lynch ( 1994). A contrary position is put forward by Heckman ( 1994).
3.
This distinction is captured formally in the British Workplace Industrial Relations Surveys, which ask explicitly about the vertical direction of communication and decision making. See McNabb and Whitfield ( 1995).
4.
For a sample of studies, see Levine and Kruse ( 1991); Lawler et al. ( 1992); Cooke ( 1994); Osterman ( 1994); Frazis et al. ( 1995); and Lynch and Black ( 1995). Osterman's survey of establishments with fifty employees or more found that about three-eighths were using multiple forms of EI. A 1993 survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of establishments with five employees or more obtained much lower figures, mainly in the 5-10 percent range ( Frazis et al., 1995).
5.
Lawler et al. ( 1995) surveyed the largest Fortune manufacturing and service companies in 1987, 1990, and 1993, but all of their respondents were at the corporate level, and they experienced a large attrition rate from one survey to the next.
6.
Brown and Reich ( 1989); Brown, Reich, and Stern ( 1993). For an interesting British study, see McNabb and Whitfield ( 1995).
7.
Voices in this chorus include Kruse ( 1993); MacDuffie and Kochan ( 1995); and McNabb and Whitfield ( 1995). Kruse argues that worker participation can be successful only when it is linked with profit sharing in pay, while MacDuffie and Kochan refer to the complementarities between technological change and organizational change.
8.
Inagami ( 1988). See also Gould ( 1984, pp. 95).
9.
Numerous empirical studies have found that firm-provided employee training is associated with higher pay (for a survey, see Bishop, 1994). A very small number of studies have direct evidence of the impact of training on productivity ( Bartel, 1994; Baker and Lynch, 1996). Even their findings remain only suggestive since they confront difficult econometric issues involving who is chosen for training (selectivity biases) and the direction of causation between individual productivity and the receipt of training (simultaneity biases).
10.
The U.S. survey asked workers about training since they had started their the current job, but the Japanese survey asked workers about training since they had joined their cur

-95-

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Work and Pay in the United States and Japan
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • 1 - Comparing Employment Systems 3
  • Note 20
  • 2 - Security 21
  • Notes 61
  • 3 - Employee Involvement and Training 67
  • Introduction 67
  • Summary: Employee Involvement and Training in the Set Model 94
  • Notes 95
  • 4 - Pay Systems, Career Paths, and Earnings Inequality 97
  • Introduction 97
  • Summary and Major Findings 130
  • Appendix: Calculation of Standard Career Paths 132
  • Appendix: Calculation of Standard Career Paths 134
  • 5 - Employers and Unions 137
  • Notes 156
  • 6 - National Wage Determination in Japan 158
  • Summary 189
  • Notes 190
  • 7 - Conclusion 191
  • References 209
  • Index 227
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