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This study examines the pattern of employee casualisation in two Japanese and a British department stores in Hong Kong. A number of employee categories can be identified in these companies according to the model of the ‘flexible firm’. These companies employed four major casualisation strategies which reflected their culture and business strategies. During the economic good times, the Japanese companies tended to casualise more local staff due to the fact that they preferred to use ethnocentric management overseas. However, during the economic downturn, all companies used casualisation for cost-minimisation as a major business strategy for survival. This study implies that casualisation strategies have enabled retailers to increase flexibility. Furthermore, as there are more unemployed workers with the necessary skills are available in the labour market during economic downturn, it is more possible for firms to adopt casualisation. Thus, the condition of the labour market can also influence firms' employment strategies.


HKIBS Working Paper Series 038-990

Recommended Citation

Wong, M. M. L. (2000). Employee casualisation in department stores in Hong Kong (HKIBS Working Paper Series 038-990 ). Retrieved from Lingnan University website:

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