Accepted Paper:

Enterprise anthropology and multiculturalism: a case of a Japanese multinational  


Tomoko Connolly (College of William and Mary)

Paper short abstract:

The present paper discusses managerial policy-implementation for diversity in a Japanese multinational and analyzes the complex processes of organizational fission and fusion. It will offer anthropological perspectives.

Paper long abstract:

Multinational companies embody among their members, diverse identities of ancestry, nationhood, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, and socio-political backgrounds. The present paper analyzes the process of managerial decision-making and policy-implementation of a Japanese multinational company, and investigates the complex processes of organizational fission and fusion for and against multiculturalism in this company. Over the last two decades, the author has been conducting an ethnographic study of this food manufacturer and its international operations in different parts of the world. The corporate head office has recently experienced the death of the founder, the retirement of a long-governing CEO, a personnel turn-over of key executives, as well as several M&As and plant openings. The current senior management is trying to introduce a new diversity policy in order to accelerate the company's rapid growth, competitive advantages, and personnel needs. Inside the firm, however, some managers criticize that the new policy will destroy the firm's 'DNA.'

This author will identify several key 'process-related' prerequisites for introducing such policy, and will offer anthropological perspectives.

Panel P075
Cultural diversity and multiculturalism in enterprise (Commission on Enterprise Anthropology)