A study of the employment system of Japanese multinational retailers in Hong Kong

Mei Ling, May WONG, Chris HENDRY

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This study examines the employment system of Japanese multinational retailing corporations in Hong Kong through two case companies - Morioka and Okadaya. The human resource management (HRM) practices - recruitment and selection, remuneration, and training and development - of the companies are studied. The different HRM practices applied to different groups of employees within each case company are compared using an employment systems model. The employment system is structured and multi-layered. The development of the structured employment system is then analysed in relation to the cultural and sectoral factors. It is shown that only the cultural characteristics of the Japanese parent companies can explain the ethnocentric management approach used in which Japanese personnel are employed in the internal labour marker (ILM) and local employees are employed outside the ILM. Economic and labour market conditions in both parent and host countries and sectoral characteristics have also contributed to the stratification of the employment system among the local employees. The implications of this study are that the long-term development of Japanese multinational retailers will be weakened if the structured employment system persists.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)629-643
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 1997


  • Employment system
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Multinational
  • Retail


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