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Human resource experts say cultural differences explain why Asian firms try harder to preserve jobs in difficult times, which will stem unemployment and may help keep Asian economies afloat at a time of slowing exports.
The more paternalistic East Asian attitude may also make it easier for firms to recover quickly from the economic downturn since they will not need to rehire or train new staff, leaving some experts predicting a Western shift to Eastern flexibility.
"In the Confucian mindset, the right thing to do is to share the burden. There's that sense of collective responsibility whereas in the West, it's more about individual survival," said Michael Benoliel, associate professor of organizational behavior at Singapore Management University (SMU).