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Preface

Business anthropology or the anthropology of business is a field of research that uses an anthropological methodology (e.g., participant observation and interviews) to investigate various phenomena related to enterprises and management. The historical origins of this field date back to the 1920s and 1930s. In what became known as the Hawthorne experiments, carried out at the Western Electric Company's Hawthorne Works in the suburbs of Chicago, Elton Mayo organized a research group and recruited an anthropologist, W. Lloyd Warner to conduct research on human relations in the workplace based on observations of researchers as participants. Similar studies have subsequently been carried out in the United States and the United Kingdom. Since the 1950s, anthropological methods have been applied within studies on various topics, including multinational companies; the problems of workers employed in foreign workplaces; and problems entailed in international marketing and engaging with foreign cultures. A brief review of the history of business anthropology has been provided by Jordan (2003), Pant and Alberti (1997), Marrewijk (2010), and Baba (2012) from the perspective of applied anthropology.

However, in Japan, prior to our own body of work in this field, such research was rare. Although McCreery and Yamaki (2014) have provided a sketch of our work, which is referred to as Keiei Jinruigaku (in Japanese), here we will briefly introduce ourselves and our research trajectories.

A seed of our research can be traced back to the end of the 1980s. At that time, one of the editors of this volume, Hirochika Nakamaki, who was working on a project entitled Funeral-Burial Customs and the World after Death, had started researching memorial monuments built by companies located in Mt. Kōya, in the Japanese prefecture of Wakayama. At the onset of his research, he questioned why companies built their own memorial monuments in one of the most prestigious Japanese Buddhism sites—the headquarters of Shingon Buddhism—because companies are supposed to seek rationality and profit.

Table 1 Japan's population, area-wise (in thousands)

All Japan

1955

1970

1985

2000

2010

90,007

104,665

121,049

126,926

128,057

Hokkaido

4,773

5,184

5,679

5,683

5,506

5.3 %

5.0 %

4.7 %

4.5 %

4.6 %

Tohoku

9,335

9,031

9,730

9,817

9,335

10.4 %

8.6 %

8.0 %

8.0 %

7.3 %

Hokuriku

5,214

5,137

5,566

5,607

5,446

5.8 %

4.9 %

4.6 %

4.4 %

4.3 %

Tohoku

9,335

9,031

9,730

9,817

9,335

10.4 %

8.6 %

8.0 %

7.7 %

7.3 %

Hokuriku

5,214

5,137

5,566

5,607

5,44

5.8 %

4.9 %

4.6 %

4.4 %

4.3 %

Chugoku

6,992

6,997

7,749

7,733

7,563

7.8 %

6.7 %

6.4 %

6.1 %

5.9 %

Shikoku

4,246

3,904

4,228

4,154

3,976

4.7 %

3.4 %

3.5 %

3.3 %

3.1 %

Kyushu & Okinawa

13,739

13,016

14,455

14,764

14,597

15.3 %

12.4 %

11.9 %

11.6 %

11.4 %

Greater Tokyo

15,424

24,113

30,273

33,418

35,618

17.1 %

23.0 %

25.0 %

26.3 %

27.8 %

Greater Osaka

10,951

15,468

17,838

18,443

18,490

12.2 %

14.8 %

14.7 %

14.5 %

14.4 %

Greater Nagoya

6,839

8,688

10,231

11,008

11,347

7.6 %

8.3 %

8.5 %

8.7 %

8.9 %

Source: Population Census of Japan at 1955, 1970, 1985, 2000, 2010 (Statistics Bureau, MIC) Note: These areas include the following prefectures: Tohoku: Aomori, Iwate, Akita, Miyagi, and Fukushima; Hokuriku: Niigata, Toyama, Ishikawa, and Fukui; Chugoku: Okayama, Hiroshima, Tottori, Shimane, and Yamaguchi; Shikoku: Kagawa, Tokushima, and Ehime Kochi; Kyushu and Okinawa: Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Oita, Kumamoto, Miyazaki, Kagoshima, and Okinawa; Greater Tokyo: Saitama, Chiba, Tokyo, and Kanagawa; Greater Osaka: Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, and Nara; Greater Nagoya: Aichi, Gifu, and Mie

A hint for understanding the reason for this phenomenon lies in the extensive urban migration that occurred during the period of rapid economic growth in Japan. Table 1 shows the area-wise distribution of Japan's population. In 1955, the populations of the Greater Tokyo and Osaka areas were 15 million and 11 million, respectively. In 1970, both of these figures had increased by approximately 1.5 times and these two areas collectively contained 37.8 % of the total Japanese population. Although Japan's total population increased by 16 %, populations in rural areas, with the exception of Hokkaido, remained unchanged or decreased slightly. This implies that extensive urban migration occurred from 1955 up to the early 1970s. Figure 1 shows figures for net migration to urban areas since 1955. From 1955 to 1973, the annual average net migration figures for the greater city areas of Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya were approximately 300,000, 120,000, and 36,000, respectively.

Fig. 1 Net migration figures for the greater city areas of Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka (1955–2010) (Source: Report on Internal Migration in Japan (from 1955 to 2010) (Statistics Bureau, MIC))

Table 2, shown below, clearly indicates that during the period from 1955 to 2000, most migrants, who had previously been farmers in rural areas became workers within manufacturing industries. As they often lived in company housing, the concerned companies constructed production communities that replaced their agricultural village communities. This may help to explain the seemingly irrational behavior of companies through their consideration of cultural matters. Nakamaki consequently adopted an anthropological perspective for interpreting the behavior of companies.

Since mid-1980s, Koichiro Hioki, another editor of this volume, has initiated a study on the activities of an enterprise beyond profit seeking in what is referred to as the “knowledge society.” He was impressed by Peter Drucker's view that “[enterprise] determines the individual's view of his society,” and is thus “society's mirror” (Drucker 1950: 31). This led to his interest in conducting research on an enterprise as a social entity and, especially, as an instrument/device of civilization. According to Tadao Umesao's definition, civilization is a system consisting of both instruments/ devices and institutions while culture is a projection of instruments/devices and institutions into the spiritual dimension (Umesao 2013). Hence, a view of “enterprise as an instrument of civilization” implies that an enterprise is a functional organization with economic, social, and legal institutions to fulfil its functions. Management of an enterprise entails actions to functionalize an organization. Currently, social activities (including habits) of enterprises, whether or not they are intentional, are expanding. Therefore, management studies should cover all the social activities of an enterprise. In addition, such activities are too complex to be explained by a single discipline or

Table 2 The proportion of the employed population by industry

Total (employed persons)

1995

1970

1985

2000

39,590,451

52,592,704

58,357,232

62,977,960

A. Agriculture

38.0 %

17.9 %

8.3 %

4.5 %

B. Foresty

1.3 %

0.4 %

0.2 %

0.1 %

C. Fisheries

1.8 %

1.0 %

0.7 %

0.4 %

D. Mining

1.4 %

0.4 %

0.2 %

0.1 %

E. Construction

4.5 %

7.5 %

9.0 %

10.0 %

F. Manufacturing

17.5 %

26.1 %

23.9 %

19.4 %

G. Electricity, gas, heat supply & water

0.6 %

0.6 %

0.6 %

0.6 %

H. Transport and communications

4.6 %

6.2 %

6.0 %

6.2 %

I. Wholesale & retail trade, and eating

& drinking

13.9 %

19.3 %

22.9 %

22.7 %

J. Financing & insurance

1.5 %

2.1 %

3.0 %

2.8 %

K. Real estate

0.1 %

0.5 %

0.8 %

1.2 %

L. Services

11.4 %

14.6 %

20.5 %

27.4 %

M. Government (not elsewhere classified)

3.5 %

3.3 %

3.5 %

3.4 %

N. Establishments not adequately described

0.0 %

0.1 %

0.3 %

1.2 %

Source: Population Census of Japan at 1955, 1970, 1985, and 2000 (Statistics Bureau, MIC)

principle. In developing a perspective on enterprise management, Hioki, has proposed that any management activity is the result of a subjective activity carried out by collective agents, with its own context. In line with this perspective, he has advocated an anthropological approach that includes viewing activities within their contexts and exploring and interpreting their unintended functions.

An encounter at a party between Nakamaki and Hioki directly triggered this body of work. Since 1993, they have facilitated an interuniversity research project under Japan's National Museum of Ethnology. A unique characteristic of this project is that it is not exclusively based on a single disciplinary framework of applied anthropology, but rather on a multidisciplinary framework that includes anthropology, business administration and management, sociology, religious studies, history, and economics. This research project has generated six books that have been published in Japanese. These engage with diverse issues such as salaried workers and companies, corporate funerals, corporate museums, globalization of company cultures, religion in relation to a company, industry and culture, and company mythology. In addition, approximately ten more books that are related to Keiei Jinruigaku have been published by project members. Moreover, in 2010, Nakamaki initiated the International Forum on Business and Anthropology (IFBA), in association with foreign scholars affiliated with the Enterprise Anthropology section of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES).

This volume is a product of our two-decade-old research project. Each chapter attempts to explain the functions and dynamics of enterprises from an anthropological perspective. These studies have a twofold aim: (1) to clarify that enterprises are not only economic actors, but also actors that create culture and civilization; and (2) to discover the raison d'être of enterprises within a global society. In addition to employing anthropological methods, the authors in this volume have also drawn on multidisciplinary methods from management, economics, and sociology.

The research contained here can be characterized in the following ways: (1) Interpretive research methods such as hermeneutic and/or narrative approaches have been adopted rather than causal and functional explanations such as cause– consequence relationships. (2) Multidisciplinary approaches, including qualitative research techniques, have been employed to investigate the total entity of an enterprise, with its own cosmology.

In this book, we will illuminate the totality of enterprises' activities. In Part I, Hioki and Nakamaki provide an introduction to Keiei Jinruigaku. They focus on three aspects of an enterprise: as an instrument (or a device) of civilization (Chap. 1), as a cultural community (Chap. 2), and company mythology (Chap. 3). In part II, the theoretical characteristics of Keiei Jinruigaku are discussed. These are: its relations with management studies (Chap. 4), cultural anthropology (Chap. 5), the anthropology of development (Chap. 6), company philosophy (Chap. 7), and a methodological perspective (Chap. 8). In part III, we show applications of Keiei Jinruigaku related to the following topics: company and religion (Chap. 9), company funerals (Chap. 10), credit control of a company (Chap. 11), the meaning of work (Chap. 12), foreign workplaces (Chap. 13), ethnicity in corporations (Chap. 14), and corporate brands (Chap. 15).

It should be noted that the use of terminologies is not always uniform across chapters because the authors' disciplinary backgrounds differ. Nevertheless, in principle, we have tried to use specific meanings for certain words as follows: the words culture and civilization are used in the sense described by Umesao (2013), as previously discussed. Further, enterprise is used to connote a corporation as an institutional system, whereas a company, is used to represent a corporation not only as institution but also including a cultural community.

In addition to the contributors of this volume, many scholars have participated in our research project. We would like to thank them, as we could not have sustained this project for over 20 years without their engagement. We would also like to thank Hiroshi Deguchi for giving us this opportunity to publish our work, John McCreery for his critics from the sidelines. Finally, we would like to express special thanks to Yutaka Hirachi of Springer Japan. Without his patience and support, this volume could not be published.

Suita, Japan Hirochika Nakamaki

Tottori, Japan Koichiro Hioki

Tokyo, Japan Izumi Mitusi

Toyonaka, Japan Yoshiyuki Takeuchi

March, 2015

 
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