Non-Japanese women working in Japanese organisations: a phenomenological study

Molnar, Nikoletta (2018) Non-Japanese women working in Japanese organisations: a phenomenological study. Doctoral thesis, Anglia Ruskin University.

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This thesis focuses on the experiences of non-Japanese women, who had been working in Japan in the last ten years. The study discusses theories regarding the challenges women face in the workplace, reviews the literature about the Japanese working culture and expatriation in Japan. It also highlights the obstacles, foreign women faced at work in Japan and the enablers, which supported their adjustment and career development. This research is exploratory, phenomenological and adopts a subjective, constructionist - interpretivist research paradigm. The primary data was collected qualitatively through twelve phenomenological interviews with primarily self-initiated expatriates. The interviews reveal four significant challenges non-Japanese women face in Japan: (1) the Japanese working culture, especially long working hours and hierarchy, (2) limited career chances due to gender-stereotyping, (3) expectations of the Japanese, how a woman should behave and what her role in the society is, regardless of her nationality, and (4) challenges to combine career and family. The four most important advantages and enablers, which helped non-Japanese women were (1) knowing the Japanese language and the culture, which supported them in adjustment and increased their career chances, (2) foreigner card or acting as a non- Japanese, giving them a temporary opportunity to ignore the Japanese behavioural rules, (3) support from their boss, helping their adjustment in Japan, and (4) mentoring and networking, especially with the international management to increase their career chances. This study contributes to knowledge by narrowing the gap in the international human resource management (IHRM) literature about the experiences of self-initiated expatriate women, who had been working in Japan. The thesis closes with practical recommendations and ideas for future research.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Keywords: female expatriates, self-initiated expatriates, working in Japan, gender
Faculty: Theses from Anglia Ruskin University
Depositing User: Lisa Blanshard
Date Deposited: 02 Jan 2020 11:34
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 18:56

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