Cornell University

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Research Highlight

Satoshi Tozaki, MILR '07

Research in China Made Possible by ILR International Experience Grant

Satoshi with Mr. LiuI received an International Experience Grant for my independent project. The goal of the research is to evaluate how HR & employment practices of multiple national companies’ impact on local HR & employment practice for females in the Shanghai area, China.

Last semester, through the course ILRIC637, I spent my time answering the following questions. What is the influence of HR practice for women of multinational companies in Shanghai? What is the impact to the local labor market, particularly, in terms of empowering women for management positions? I chose the Shanghai operation of the General Electric Company. I had interacted with the GE Women’s Network to obtain quantitative and qualitative data. My access was facilitated by my 2006 summer internship in GE, where I did a project with the network.

Suburb of ShanghaiTo enhance reliability, the second stage of the study, I expanded my inquiry to the macro economic pictur. I visited the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Shanghai Center to have interviews with Chinese researchers who studies in Shanghai and collect data on HR and employment practices, and gender empowerment in private companies in the area. Mr. Tao Wen and Mr. Yuansen Liu brought me to a local company which had imported western HR practices. I chose a Japanese organization as a host because the Chinese researchers were fluent in Japanese, which facilitated my entry in the local society. In addition, since Japanese companies have much greater presence in China than U.S. companies, I have been interested in the comparative analysis between U.S companies and Japanese companies.

JETRO connected me to the Chinese government where I had a great opportunity to sit down with a government officer, Mr. Xiaocheng Wang, the Vice Section Chief, Foreign Investment Administration in Ministry of Commerce. He shared his insightful opinions on female employment.

This research trip was instrumental in advancing my study. Based on my findings from the field work this winter, I will continue the project over this semester. The trip also helped me establish a network that should be a great asset to me in my future career. 

Downtown Shanghai at nightHong Kong? Tokyo? NY? No-this is Shanghai
I have visited Shanghai six times before this trip with the business and vacations. During my previous visits, I had always experienced some sort of difficulty in the city such as unreliable transportations, limited access to internet, and unfriendly restaurants and bars-mostly menus were written only in local language-. However, during this stay, I had been under an illusion—where I am? Hong Kong? Tokyo? Or New York? Now Shanghai became one of the world's cosmopolitans. I am so surprised that Shanghai is about to overtake other cosmopolitans in the world. I can only imagine what the next decade holds and it makes me excited!

- Satoshi Tozaki

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