Japan’s “Nominication” Culture Becomes Hindrance to Organizations
Business, Markets

Japan’s “Nominication” Culture Becomes Hindrance to Organizations 

Last updated on May 1st, 2019

A long-standing working culture of Japan might soon be transformed to create problems for the workers, who have become comfortable with the existing traditions. The Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. banking unit executive Saiko Nanri recently expressed his intentions to end the “drinking with the boss” practice.

Organizations in the country have been quite compliant towards the custom of drinks between managers and employees in the past. Moreover, such parties were encouraged so that the workers could break down barriers with the bosses. Many viewed the informal settings as an escape and a way to relieve success, while some considered an obligation to attend them.

The culture of alcohol bonding sessions is so innate in Japan that it was given a term “nominication”, which is taken from nomu – Japanese verb for drink – and communication.

Citing these gatherings as unproductive and unfair to parents of young children, Nanri announced of not continuing the tradition anymore. In an interview, she said, “It’s not as if I have any special knowledge to share with my staff by drinking with them every day.”

The 49-year-old’s viewpoint highlighted how some have started questioning the old work habits, blaming them of hindering productivity and dissuading women from remaining in the workforce. Reports reveal that some women resent the idea of entertaining their superiors after long working days.

On the other hand, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been striving to combat the issue of labor shortage in the rapidly aging nation by ensuring more flexible workplaces and reducing overtime.

A professor at Kyoto University of Foreign Studies in Japan, Kumiko Nemoto stated that managers often use such occasions to assess employees because of the absence of formal evaluation systems in several firms. Therefore, it sometimes becomes troublesome for those who miss these sessions and often bear the consequences for career advancement.

As a result, Nanri’s suggestion of ending these informal meetings received a positive feedback. According to her, the working parents were satisfied in particular for skipping team drinking sessions.

While worldwide it is believed that informal office parties help in higher productivity, Japan that has been following the culture in excess is facing issues in taking it further. Besides, not just the organizations, millennials are also indifferent to such occasions and dislike them.

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