日本的人力资源实践因其独特的性质而闻名于世，因此被许多西方国家如美国所采用。日本的人力资源管理包括三个支柱，即基于资历和企业工会制度的终身雇佣、工资和晋升制度(Debroux, 2013, p.64)。日本的人力资源管理实践正在随着时间的推移而改变。日本人力资源管理的三大支柱在日本企业的管理体系中仍然发挥着重要的作用。
终身雇佣制主要提供给从事公司主要活动的员工。该系统的优势平均约占25% (Danford, 2013)。这一支柱的主要优点是在核心员工中建立忠诚，同时减少公司在职业培训方面的投资。
从20世纪60年代到80年代，日本的电器制造商、汽车制造商、电子设备制造商等制造企业在世界范围内享有竞争优势。20世纪90年代初，当日本经济面临资产膨胀型经济崩溃时，面临着巨大的损失(Ornatowski, and Team, 2012)。由于新进入者的进入，日本企业在国内和全球市场都面临着激烈的竞争，被迫进行业务重组，不得不重新设计管理系统和流程(Trevor, 2013)。这些变化是为了调整他们的人力资源管理系统，以成功地适应迅速变化的环境变化。
The human resource practices of Japan are famous all around the world for their distinctive nature and are therefore applied in many Western countries like United States. The HRM of Japan consists of three pillars i.e. life-time employment, wage and promotion system based on seniority and enterprise unionism (Debroux, 2013, p.64). The HRM practices in Japan are changing with the passage of time. Still a significant role is played by the three pillars of Japanese HRM in the management system of Japanese companies.
The three pillars of HRM:
Enterprise unionism is a system in which a single union is possessed by every firm that operates independently for both the white-collar and blue collar workers. The purpose of the enterprise unionism is to encourage workers in increasing their efficiency and productivity.
Life-time employment is mainly offered to employees engaged in the major activities of the firm. The advantage of this system is taken by an average of about 25% (Danford, 2013). The main advantage of this pillar is of building loyalty among the core employees while reducing the investment of the firm in job training.
The third pillar is seniority based wage and promotion system. It states that the salary of the worker will increase with the tenure the worker stays with the firm. The problem of switching of job is reduced otherwise the workers will have to start from the bottom level again (Ulrich, 2013). The firms work for retaining their employees so that the cost of training can be reduced. In Japanese culture and tradition respect for seniority is coherent.
From 1960s to 1980s, a worldwide competitive advantage has been enjoyed by the manufacturing firms of Japan such as electronic appliances manufacturers, automobile manufacturers and electronic equipment manufacturers etc. When in the early 1990s, the Japanese economy faced huge losses when they faced a collapse of the assets inflated economy (Ornatowski, and Team, 2012). The Japanese firms were forced to restructure their businesses and had to reengineer their management systems and processes because of the intense competition both at domestic and global fronts due to the entry of new entrants in the market (Trevor, 2013). These changes were in response for adjusting their HRM systems to fit successfully with the rapidly changing environmental variations.