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Part I Invitation to Keiei Jinruigaku, Anthropology of Business Administration

Chapter 1 Enterprise as an Instrument of Civilization

Koichiro Hioki

Abstract Instrumental aspects of enterprises are discussed in this chapter, based on Tadao Umesao's definition of civilization, namely, “human device/institution system.” Though enterprises are often considered to be cross-culturally functional, actual enterprises do not always function similarly. Even if the same system is employed, variations will occur in operation and actions taken by members in the system. Anthropology of business administration analyzes outside-the-box business administrations deemed to be institutionally similar.

Taking civilization as a system, stock corporations are analyzed as civilization elements. Stock corporation system usually exhibits four features: joint investment, legal personality, limited liability, and general incorporation. This system was first developed in Europe and spread gradually to the rest of the world. However, there are subtle disparities between civilizations and the view of societies through responses taken by enterprises, respectively.

Mass production, for example, took place in the twentieth century, that is, one century after the invention of steam engine. Mass production also changed labor practices. It made monotonous labor inevitable. The solution to recover cooperation of labor in the USA was to redesign labor (QWL), while in Europe, it was the sociotechnical theory. In Japan, it was a QC (quality control) circle. The anthropology of labor, which is adjacent to the anthropology of business administration, was proposed to discuss these matters.

Lastly, it must be pointed out that we need to study redesigning systems in connection with how to control corporations as a system.

 
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