Inderscience Publishers

An organisational approach to coping with the paradox between individual career and collective research in Japan

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Courtesy of Inderscience Publishers

Issues on collective research remain a subject of considerable interest to analysts and policy makers. This paper is a modest attempt at providing some new observations in Japan on one of the issues, namely, the paradox between collective research and individual career. The evidence, based on collective research in Japanese firms and universities, shows that such a paradox does not exist in Japan since the unique lifelong employment custom and various adopted fluid organisations (while keeping individual researchers' original positions stable at the same time) prevented such a paradox from arising. In other words, the paradox is coped with by efforts of transferring "burdens" from individual researchers to fluid organisations. We called the measures and efforts an organisational approach. Case studies are also provided. We also try to point out a re-build-up of the organisational approach due to the latest changes in the collective research environment, and call for revised concerns and efforts from Japanese policy makers and firms' management. Our findings can also shed some light on studying organisational approach and the university-industry network in Japan.

Keywords: organisational approach, individual careers and collective research, paradox, Japan

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