Abstract: Diversification and Labor Strategy of the Nippon Rayon Company, Ltd., after World War II: A Case Study of the Introduction of Skill-Based Management in the Japanese Textile Industry

Takashi Hirao

Abstract

This case study aims to clarify why Nippon Rayon, whose position in the Japanese chemical fiber industry was lowest, reassigned the labor force in advancing diversification into new business, nylon, in the late 1950s, when the firm was faced with decline of its main business, rayon, and how intellectual skills, one of characteristic of Japanese workplace, were used by the firm. From a human-resource management point of view, this study resulted in the following conclusion. First, the reason for the reassignment was labor strategy to use potential services in the human resources. Second, skill- based management was introduced to foster the multi-skilled workers with job-rotation, in-house education and training, welfare policy and skill-based payment, which were employed and revised one by one in the 1960s. The reallocation of resources within the firm was carried out not as cultural, but as economic rational response to productive services available from the human resource.