• Kyodo

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Japanese corporate workers harbor the lowest level of loyalty toward their employers among the world’s 10 major economies, according to a British survey released Tuesday.

Only 50 percent of Japanese respondents to the survey, which features the views of 362,950 employees, said they would wish to stay with their current firm or would recommend it as a good place to work.

Researchers attributed the findings to a “Westernization” of Japanese attitudes toward the workplace and the nation’s stagnant economy.

Japan’s figures rated poorly when compared with the results from Brazil (79 percent), Spain (76 percent), Germany (74 percent), Canada (73 percent), Italy (70 percent), the United States (67 percent), France (67 percent), Britain (59 percent) and China (57 percent).

The study was published in London by International Survey Research.

Roger Maitland, cofounder and deputy chairman of ISR, said employee disenchantment in Japan could be attributed primarily to societal changes as well as the nation’s economic conditions.

“Ten years ago, the picture was nothing like what you see in this report,” he said. “The commitment level and morale was extremely high and legendary.”

Maitland said his Japanese clients had reported “something of a social revolution” in the country, with people becoming more Westernized and individualist in their outlook.

He said major Japanese corporations now act in a less consensual style and, as a result, “employees are certainly emotionally and psychologically distancing themselves from the employer. The close bond of almost unquestioned commitment has gone or is going.”

The ISR survey shows that companies with committed employees had better profitability levels. Commitment is fostered by, among other things, good leadership and resources to do the job, the survey shows.

Just 39 percent of Japanese employees responded favorably when asked whether their leaders were providing a clear sense of direction and whether they understood the problems their employees faced.

“Committed employees are more likely to stay with an organization, go the extra mile for their company and put maximum effort into their work. The level of employee commitment has a major impact on an organization’s profitability,” Maitland said.

ISR measured commitment levels in 40 of its major global clients (all multinational corporations) between 1999 and 2001. Of those surveyed, around 22,000 were Japanese.

ISR was founded in 1974. It designs, implements and analyzes employee surveys for companies across the world.

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