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Wide angle photo looking up to the top of a tall building.
  1. The Work Group
  2. Office Arrangements
  3. Office Ladies (OL)
  4. Enterprise Unions in Japan
  5. Enterprise Union Cooperation
  6. Strikes Japanese-Style
  7. Sexual Harassment
  8. Separate Surnames for Married Couples
  9. “Mighty” Women: Police and the Military Self Defense Force
  10. Ama (Female Diver)
  11. Who Farms in Japanese Farm Households?
  12. San-Chan Nōgyō
  13. The Changing Income of Farm Households
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Worker sitting at his desk, using his computer
To see the work group of this boss, click on the Audiovisual link below.
Photo Courtesy Masanao Takeyama.
Office Arrangements
Japanese offices are generally arranged to facilitate the collective work of the work group. The work group members all occupy the same common space, with their desks pushed together so that the workers are facing each other. The boss sits at a desk in the same space, where he can see everyone and can communicate easily with the whole work group. This arrangement makes it easy for the work group to hold impromptu meetings, to discuss work problems, and to help one another informally. In a large office, several work groups may have their own areas, divided by cabinets and bookcases. But such dividers never separate the individual members of one work group. There is usually a separate small space where employees meet with outside business guests. In addition to working in a common space, members of the work group are also expected to spend time together during work breaks, and for some meals and group activities, in order to build the group’s morale and friendly relations. Work groups generally take one or two weekend trips together each year, as another way of building group morale. This blurring of the line between work and leisure is a characteristic feature of Japanese work life.
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