Title

The Impact of Ethnic Identity on Employment Goals of Young Adults in Japan

Date of Degree

5-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Program

Education

Advisor

Judith Beauford

Advisor

Lopita Nath

Advisor

Norman St. Clair

Advisor

Osman Ozturgut

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore the differences in ethnic identity and employment goals among young adults in Japan, as categorized in four sub-groups: (a) young adults not in education, employment, or training (NEETs); (b) young adults who choose part-time employments (Freeters); (c) students preparing for careers; and (d) those who are employed fulltime. A mixed methodology was utilized.

Developing ethnic identity in a globalized world has serious personal and national implications in Japan. Some young adults are facing identity crises in which they reject Japanese traditions and work ethic. The purpose of this study was to explore the differences in ethnic identity and employment goals among young adults in Japan, as categorized in four sub-groups: (a) young adults not in education, employment, or training (NEETs); (b) young adults who choose part-time employments (Freeters); (c) students preparing for careers; and (d) those who are employed fulltime. A mixed methodology was utilized. In the quantitative phase, two survey instruments, an adaptation of Phinney's Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure and a Demographic Information Questionnaire, were distributed to 240 participants, 60 participants each subgroups. In the qualitative phase, a snowball sampling was used to choose five NEETs and five Freeters for personal interviews and observations to gain an understanding of their life experiences and perceptions. The researcher applied data and theory triangulation strategies to present rich descriptions of interview participants. Ethnic identity and interest in other cultures was strongest among students and full-time employees. Freeters showed internal locus of control and had purposefully chosen their lifestyles to avoid the restrictions of the traditional Japanese work ethic. NEETs showed the weakest interest in all areas. They displayed external locus of control blaming others for their difficulties. Each participant suggested how Japan could address the increasing problem of NEETs and Freeters in the population.

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