Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

The Evolution of Wa (Group Harmony) in Japanese Society and the Nature of Work: Crisis or Transformation in a Globalised Economy: Implications for Educators and Management Practitioners

John Annakis, Tsunehiko Nawano, Tokuya Mizuno.

The purpose of this paper was to primarily review the literature on the evolution of ‘Wa’ and group harmony and identify it’s sources of which are embedded in various contexts such as history, culture, politics, business and general society. It was found by the authors that Wa is alive in the public domain of today’s Japanese society and more importantly in current work practices. However not even the Japanese society is immune from the effects of globalisation, with the shifting of boundaries organisational and local (national) due to Japan’s internal financial crises which brings with it mergers, acquisitions and the potential for Japanese to be influenced by and adopt their western counterparts style of individualism and flexible management practices which in the future may impact on the principles of Wa and the nature of work. This research has identified some emerging trends in Japan of a move away from benevolent corporate paternalism to more of flexible markets and labour practices: some of prinicples adapted from the principles of Wa such as jobs for life, seniority employment systems, collectivism are at threat of eradication or transfomation.


John Annakis  (Australia)
Lecturer in HRM
School of Business
Swinburne University of Technology

John Annakis: BA (Soc Sci) Latrobe ; Grad Dip Urb Policy & Research SUT. MBA RMIT Research interests in Surveillance and Flexibility in Call Centre Centres, and Knowledge Management Education . My areas of teaching and research include cross cultural management, knowledge management, industrial relations and organisational change and my Phd research is in the area of flexibility and surveillance in call centres.

Tsunehiko Nawano  (Australia)
School of Business
Swinburne University of TEchnology

Mr Tsunehiko Nawano: BEd Kyoto University of Education (Japan); MEd Griffith University. My specialist areas are in Japanese society and culture, in particular bi-culturalism, and foreign language teaching methodology. I lecture in Japanese language and am devoted to improving teaching materials and delivery, including interactive reading and listening packages for the web. I am currently carrying out research in cross-cultural communication, particularly related to the business environment.

Tokuya Mizuno  (Australia)
School of Business
Swinburne University of Technology

Tokuya Mizuno has worked in Japan as a training officer in the transport industry. In his current position as lecturer in Japanese language, he has developed a new subject called in Japanese for Business and Industry which focuses on Japanese business culture, including training for students who go to Japan to participate in the ‘Work Experience in Japan’ program

  • Wa and group harmony
  • Buddhist concepts Chuudoo (middle way)
  • Buddhism
  • Social Harmony
  • Globalisation

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)