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"The Evolution of Enterprise Unionism in Japan: A Socio-Political Perspective"

Dae Yong Jeong and Ruth V. Aguilera


First Author :

Dae Yong Jeong
Department of Sociology
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
702 South Wright Street
Urbana, IL 61801

Second Author :

Ruth V. Aguilera
Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations and Department of Business Administration
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Business
1206 S. Sixth Street
Champaign, IL 61820

Abstract :
This paper proposes an alternative framework to understand enterprise unionism by emphasizing political dynamics and the role of the state in labor relations. Our framework delineates the strategic behavior patterns of the tripartite IR actors, and maintains that the initial period of the collective bargaining era constituted critical junctures (state labor policy) that occurred in distinctive ways in different countries and that these differences played a central role in shaping the different union structures in the following decades. Our historical analysis shows that unlike their counterparts in Western countries, the Japanese state whished to and was able to eradicate the horizontal union movement at the onset of the collective bargaining era because of its late developer advantages and the Cold War politics resulting in enterprise unionism in Japan.
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Footnotes & Acknowledgements :
We would like to thank Koji Taira, John Lawler, Donald Smith, Michael LeRoy, Edward Hertenstein, and Michelle Kaminski for their valuable feedback on the earlier drafts of this manuscript. Correspondence concerning this paper should be addressed to Dae Yong Jeong, Department of Sociology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 323 Lincoln Hall, 702 South Wright St., Urbana, IL 61801. Tel: 217-244-2279, Email:
Manuscript Received : 2006
Manuscript Published : 2006
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