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The future of remote work in Japan: Covid-19’s implications for international human resource management



Objective: The objective of this article is to elaborate how the form of remote work can be hindered in an institutional cultural context in non-Western countries.

Research Design & Methods: The article adopts data collection based on public report and news release in reference to the current academic literature of human resource management.

Findings: The article finds that the institutional contexts of non-Western countries, unlike those of Western countries, may hinder or limit remote work because of a poor fit between remote work and human resource management (HRM). The article reveals that the cultural context of non-Western countries, such as Japan, may hinder remote work because of collectivism, high context, high power distance, and high uncertainty avoidance.

Implications & Recommendations: The article implicates a possible diversity of how remote work can be implemented in relation to the institutional and cultural contexts of both Western and non-Western countries, such as Japan.

Contribution & Value Added: The article contributes to future international human resource management by showing that there are some institutional and cultural hindrances to remote work in certain countries. The text contributes to future international business and human resource management by showing that other non-Western countries may have similar problems in terms of the execution of remote work due to contexts that are different institutional and cultural from Western examples.


COVID-19 pandemic, remote work, Japanese firms, managerial work, HRM practices

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Author Biography

Hitoshi Iwashita

Academic researcher and teacher of cross-cultural management in multinational firms. His continuing interest lies in developing theory and practice regarding Japanese management in a cross-cultural context with a focus on leadership, culture, organizational behaviour, and strategy in Asia and other regions. As a corporate educator and consultant, he delivered a number of consulting projects to Japanese multinational corporations facing cross-cultural issues on strategy, post integration, organizational development, and leadership. He completed an International MBA from IE Business School and received a PhD in Business and Management from Cardiff Business School. He was formerly a management consultant, helping large Japanese multinationals to build strategy and leadership in cross-cultural environments.


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