Stratified sustainability in human resource management in Japanese subsidiaries in Hong Kong

Mei Ling May WONG

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

2 Citations (Scopus)


Human resource management (HRM) plays an important role for an organization’s sustainability endeavor. This paper attempts to provide a concise overview of the sustainability in HRM in Japanese overseas subsidiaries. The purpose of this paper is to examine two branches of business (finance and retail) from a major Japanese multinational corporation in Hong Kong and identify the nature of sustainability in HRM in these two operations. It draws on qualitative interview data from a sample of 20 Japanese and locally hired employees and two HR directors working in these two case companies with a total of 80 stories and two company interviews. A conceptual framework of sustainable HRM based on the Respect Openness Continuity (ROC) model is used to examine sustainable HRM in the two Japanese subsidiaries. The results show that sustainability in HRM differs between these two case companies even though they are operated under the same Japanese headquarters. Distinctive stratified patterns of sustainability in HRM are found among the respondents in both case companies, and the nature of sustainability in HRM in these two case companies varies from each other to a large extent. The analysis of the interview data provides insight of how cultural, sectoral, and institutional factors have led to the different stratified pattern and nature of sustainability in HRM in these Japanese overseas subsidiaries. Further larger-scale research needs to be done on the case headquarters in Japan, and multinational corporations of other national origins to discover more about the patterns and nature of sustainability in HRM in a global context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-175
Number of pages25
JournalAsian Journal of Business Ethics
Issue number2
Early online date4 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018
EventThe 6th World Business Ethics Forum : Making a difference? Business sustainability and social impact - Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong
Duration: 11 Dec 201613 Dec 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


  • Sustainability
  • Human resource management
  • Japanese
  • Overseas subsidiaries
  • Social well-being
  • Externalities


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