The traditional years from the preindustrial Edo era in Japan to the Meiji era saw changes in employment relationship While not a few of the current practices can be traced back to the apprentice system of Edo merchant houses as, we recognize prototypes of our long-term employment in their live-out system and branch family system applied to executive employees. The apprenticeship system was essentially educational system whereby apprenticed children were disciplined until becoming full-fledged, independent merchants. Then, we have to ask why and how the merchant houses in the Edo era encouraged further long-term service from their fully qualified personnel long after their term of education. By the late Edo era, on the other hand, the word “apprentice” was often applied to petty servants and day laborers. What effect did this disintegration of the apprentice system have on the long-term service of highly skilled and potentially independent personnel? This article offers answers to these problems as it proceeds with the analysis of the sequential changes in the series of tactics the Mitsui House employed as it tried to secure long-term service of its high-ranking personnel. The Mitsui House apparently deliberated on and did deploy a succession of flexible stratagems in the face of changes within the House as well as in society. When the House underwent aggrandizement in the Edo era, the utmost effort went into securing the stable service of able personnel. Apprenticeship in any merchant house was a highly selective process and quite a few failed to fulfill their term of service and this competitiveness among the peers was quite a stimulus in the training of skilled personnel. As a result of Meiji restoration, the practice of having personnel changed in such way that the role of employees became stratified and they received their salary in cash according to the newly-introduced graded salary system. This new system worked as a good incentive to secure long-term service because loyalty and ability promised successive promotions with steady raise in salary.
After reviewing administrative structures of multi-unit enterprises in the mid-nineteenth century France, I examined that of Schneider et Cie which had been defined by its 1913 organizational rules. Like most advanced structures of contemporary american firms, it had a central office comprised of heads of functional departments-operating, financial, industrial accounting, personnel and legal departments. Into the first operating department, however, were integrated manufacturing, sales and engineering offices, and the line of authority between the major manufacturing and the other two units, and also between the operating and the other departments was defined on a line-and-staff basis. This contrast to the american integrated industrial enterprises can be explained by the similarity in the object of organization building, that is coordination of production and marketing activities, as well as the difference, lack of its own sales network in the french enterprise. Another and more important difference is found out in behavior at organization building. In contrast to american organization builders, Schneider's executives used data only for controling activities, so not for evaluating the performance of managers, and their range of authority and responsibility remained obscure in consequence. This discovery of another way of organization buildng suggests that creation of the general officers which constitute a major innovation in developing the decentralized, divisional structure was a result of the american way of organization building, because strictness in the delegation of authority to the division managers is assured by clearness of individual responsibility confined by objective figures. The schema of strategy and structure of A.D. Chandler, Jr., therefore, should be reconsidered.