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Japan Rotational System

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The Practice of Tanshin Funin and Its Effects on Corporate Life in Japan

Learn about the practice of tanshin funin, a unique rotational system in which personnel in Japan get relocated, and how to manage business relationships as personnel changes.

Some management practices in Japan are distinctly Japanese, such as the formal rotation system in which personnel get relocated every two to three years—sometimes to overseas locations. Many salarymen end up living apart from their families, often in other cities or countries. This practice, called tanshin funin, is particularly common among men in their forties and fifties. One of the goals of the rotational system is to give workers as much experience as possible while giving companies a chance to observe each person’s skills. Learn how to manage business relationships as personnel changes. Traditionally, the rotational system has made it harder for women to move up the corporate ladder. Companies assume that women don’t want to transfer and therefore aren’t considered good management material. There are exceptions, of course, and some women are in the same professional situations as their male colleagues.