The Origin of Self-Oriented Job Decision Making

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Other Title
  • 就職の誕生
  • シュウショク ノ タンジョウ センゼン ニホン ノ コウトウ キョウイク ソツギョウシャ オ ジレイ ト シテ
  • The analysis of the case of university graduates in prewar Japan
  • 戦前日本の高等教育卒業者を事例として

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Abstract

This paper demonstrates how the self-oriented method of job decision making by university graduates became common in prewar Japan. In the Meiji and Taisho eras, informal connections and school exam scores of prospective employees were considered very important by employers. Most studies have overlooked the implication of this phenomenon because they were conducted from the value perspectives of the present society. This paper explains the phenomenon from the standpoint of interpretative sociology and points out that the new self-oriented phenomenon followed it.<br>The discussion is developed as follows. First, from the sociological perspective, the author defines the freedom to choose an occupation in modern Japan as the opportunity to make a career choice. This notion did not exist in the situation surrounding employment in merchant enterprises in the Edo era. Second, the author points out that while employing candidates, companies in the Meiji and Taisho eras depended on informal connections and scores in school examinations ; this was considered normal practice. Finally, this paper illustrates the process by which such a trust came to be regarded as abnormal and job interviews focusing on a candidate's personality started being considered normal. This process implies that the distinction between self and others (or between an individual and institutions) was related to the moral distinction between normal and abnormal. The emergence of job interviews suggests the legitimacy of self-oriented method of job decision making.

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