Japanese Bosses, Chinese Workers: Power and Control in a Hong Kong Megastore
- About the Book
This book, the result of two years of fieldwork in the Hong Kong subsidiary of a Japanese supermarket, is a cross-cultural study within Asia by an Asian anthropologist. This intra-Asian perspective makes the author less susceptible to the exoticizing of Japanese society or Japanese forms of social organization as uniquely unique because, for him, much of it is familiar. In fact, rather than large generalizations about the cultural bases of the success of Japanese companies, attention is drawn to the micro structures of power and resistance within these companies, as revealed by his fieldwork.
Japanese Bosses, Chinese Workers examines the ways of organizing work, rank, compensation, and promotion inside the company to reveal the socio-economic base of managerial control. By exploring how the categorical difference between Japanese expatriates and Hong Kong Chinese staff is produced, the hidden aspect of the control by a monopoly of identity formation is made visible.
The book also demonstrates how Japanese and Chinese employees adopt different orientations towards the company’s authority and towards one another. It is the structure of these different strategies, orientations, and social relations between people that gives rise to the pattern of social life within the company.