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From Professional Aspirations to Identity Confirmation and Transformation: The Case of Japanese Career Women Working for Foreign Subsidiaries in Japan

Prof. Dr. Helene Tenzer, LMU München

26.06.2024 12:30 Uhr – 14:00 Uhr

This study investigates what attracts career-oriented women to foreign subsidiaries and how they experience this work context. Based on 125 interviews with career-oriented women in Japan, we find that their frequent choice of foreign employers is not only motivated by professional aspirations but also by identity-related aspirations. Japanese women who embraced an internationalist orientation experience a confirmation of their identity by working for foreign subsidiaries; by contrast, those who still felt bound by traditional role expectations, undergo a liberating identity transformation.

Based on the perceptions of these particular employees, we develop recommendations for gender diversity management in foreign subsidiaries. We further argue that women, who are disadvantaged in the local employment context, often desire that foreign subsidiaries implement standardized home country human resource management practices, instead of adopting local practices. By focusing on the recruitment of highly qualified women, foreign subsidiaries may turn their liability of foreignness into a competitive advantage.

Since April 2022, Helene Tenzer has been a Professor of International Management at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. From 2014 to 2022, she served as an Academic Councillor at the Chair of International Business at Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen. In 2016, she earned her Habilitation in Business Administration, specializing in International Management. Between 2009 and 2014, she worked as a research associate at the Chair of International Business at Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen. She completed her Ph.D. (Dr. phil.) in Intercultural Communication at the University of Passau in 2009.
Helene Tenzer holds a Diplom in Languages, Economics, and Cultural Studies from the University of Passau, which she obtained in 2006.

Location: LMU Japan-Center, Oettingenstraße 67, Room L155