The Steel Industry in Japan: A Comparison with Britain

The Steel Industry in Japan: A Comparison with Britain

The Steel Industry in Japan: A Comparison with Britain

The Steel Industry in Japan: A Comparison with Britain

Synopsis

The Japanese steel industry has experienced both recession and boom over the past 30 years. This book analyses the economic, technical & politcal changes paying particular attention to the impact of modern technology upon employees.

Excerpt

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This book examines continuity and change in the Japanese steel industry over the past thirty years in contrast to the steel industry in Britain. Our main concern is the impact of technology upon management and labour.

THE STEEL INDUSTRY

The heavy industrialisation of post-war Japan cannot be understood without taking into account the crucial role of the steel industry. Although numerous studies of the steel industry have been carried out in the framework of 'industrial studies' in general (Cockerill 1974; Ishida 1981; Okishio and Ishida 1981; Barnett and Schorsch 1983; Hogan 1983; Toda 1984; Hudson and Sadler 1989; ILO 1992), no study has yet been carried out on the steel industry over the past thirty years with a view to both management and labour and in comparison with the contrasting case of Britain. This study aims to fill this gap. But why is the steel industry appropriate as a case study in the context of management and labour?

The following reasons may be given. First, technological innovation in the post-war Japanese steel industry was extraordinarily rapid and extensive and its impact upon management and labour can be regarded as a typical case of change in management and labour. It was the steel industry which, ahead of other industries, adopted both technological innovation and management methods from abroad and reformulated them into a new production and management system. In addition, the end of expansion in 1974 and subsequent stagnation signalled a relative decline in this industry as well as the termination of rapid growth in Japan's manufacturing industry overall. The thirty-year period from 1960-90 is therefore indeed appropriate for an analysis of management and labour to examine its formation and reforms. Second, while the

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