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  5. Human Resource System Reform 3.0

2014 Vol.2
Human Resource System Reform 3.0


Genuine human resource system reform in Japanese firms began with the collapse of the bubble economy in 1990. Since that time, as a consultant specializing in organizational and human resource strategy, I have managed consulting projects at a think-tank consulting firm and have supported human resource system reform at Japanese firms. Drawing on this professional background, I review the flow of human resource system reform at Japanese firms by taking a comprehensive, panoramic view of its trajectory and by following the recent trends in the reform, which have called for diversification, complexity, and globalization. I also touch on the recent challenges and future prospects of human resource system reform. As seen from the history of reform over the last 20 years, many human resource management issues remain unresolved. I have encountered any number of situations where I felt the presence of insurmountable barriers even while working on actual consulting projects. Looking at trends in group consolidated management, the theme of human resource system reform since 2000 has changed from single-firm human resource management to group human resource management. The year 2010 was one such turning point marked by a contraction of Japanese markets with the full-fledged arrival of depopulation and an aging society with fewer children and fierce global competition with firms in Europe and emerging countries, thus requiring a global response without exception, not even for the human resource sector. In this paper, this trend regarding human resource management is positioned as“human resource system reform 3.0.”This situation leads to major questions such as how Japanese firms will adopt strategies in the future and consequently how active human resources will need to respond in the future to compete in global markets. Here, I would like to discuss the present and future of human resource management at current Japanese firms who stand on the stage of developed countries and developed economies.