Dr Harald Conrad's current research projects

Building an International Human Resource Base: Japanese Multinationals and the Recruitment of Fresh Foreign Graduates (FFGs) for Tokyo
(in collaboration with Professor Dr. Hendrik Meyer-Ohle, National University of Singapore)

This project is part of my on-going research on Japanese human resource management practices. Recent research into Japanese human resource management has focussed on changes to traditional employment practices such as seniority-based remuneration and lifetime employment (e.g. Conrad 2011; Mantanle and Matsui 2011; Meyer-Ohle 2009), while changes in recruitment practices have so far escaped closer academic scrutiny. This project addresses this lacuna by focussing on a recent distinct trend in recruitment among large Japanese multinational enterprises (MNEs), namely the active hiring of foreign fresh university graduates into Japanese MNEs’ headquarters. Studying this new development at a relatively early stage allows us to develop propositions about changes in Japanese domestic HR practices, but also sheds light on Japanese companies’ efforts to internationalise their human resource bases.

We expect this project to have a high impact potential with regards to external stakeholders. Not only will we be able to feedback and consult Japanese companies on their hiring efforts and potentially develop further co-investigative research, we will also use the insights from this project to consult and prepare our students better for a possible employment career in Japan. Moreover, we are currently planning a conference to discuss how our findings might be used to further develop curriculums of Japanese business and language teaching. In September 2015, we organized an international workshop on recent changes in Japanese human resource management practices at the National University of Singapore.

Impact activities

1 June 2017 - Paper presentation at Conference: The Migration Industry - Facilitators and Broke, Singapore, 01 June 2017 - 02 June 2017: “The Organization of Talent Migration to Japan: Agents, Government Agencies and Recruitment Fairs”

11 May 2017 - Paper presentation at Workshop Asian Connections: Linking Mobilities of Capital and Labour in Theory and Practice, Toronto: York University, 11 May 2017 - 12 May 2017: “Overcoming the Expatriate Conundrum by Internationalizing Headquarters? The Recruitment of Fresh Foreign Graduates to Japan by Japanese MNC

24 March 2017- Research Seminar Presentation, National University of Singapore, Department of Japanese Studies: Diversity and Inclusion in the Japanese Company as seen through the Recruitment of Foreign University Graduates”

1 December 2016 - Invited Lecture at Ritsumeikan University, Osaka Campus, “Diversity and Inclusion in the Japanese Company as seen through the Hiring of Foreign University Graduates”

2 November 2016 - Invited Lecture at Ochanomizu University, Tokyo: “Diversity and Inclusion in the Japanese Company as seen through the Recruitment of Foreign University Graduates”

27 October 2016  - EAMSA Conference, Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Suzhou, China, Conference Paper Presentation: “Diversity and Inclusion in the Japanese Firm – The Case of Foreign Fresh University Graduates (FFGs) in Multinational Company Headquarters”

11 June 2016 - Research presented at the Academy of Multinational Enterprises at Nihon University, Tokyo.

31 May 2016 - Research presented at a workshop at Osaka University organized by Professor Tomoki Sekiguchi.

9 April 2016  - Research presented at the Academy of Multinational Enterprises at Keio University, Tokyo.

18 February 2016 - Research presented at a University of Sheffield, School of East Asian Studies Research Seminar.

31 October 2015  - Research presented at the Euro-Asia Management Studies Association Conference at SOAS London.

15 December 2014  - Research presented at the 4th International Conference of the Japanese Studies Association in Southeast Asia at Thammasat University, Bangkok, Thailand.

Managing (Un)certainty in the Japanese Antique Art Trade - How Economic and Social Factors Shape a Market

This project is part of my on-going research into the social structure of (Japanese) markets. Market actors are commonly faced with solving three distinct coordination problems as sources of uncertainty. How should they value the objects of their trade, how can they shield themselves from the competition, and with whom and how do they cooperate? This project investigates how Japanese antique art dealers confront these issues. While offering a rich description and analysis of a hitherto understudied Japanese market, the project aims to show how economic and social issues are closely intertwined.

A first research article on this project was published in the Japan Forum. A second article is currently being drafted and focusses on very unusual auction practices in Japanese antique dealers’-only auctions. The findings of this project have so far only been discussed with academic stakeholders, but I am currently also planning engagement events with art dealers and collectors.