Business × Ethnography



Is ethnography a tool or a product? This page introduces platforms and resources for ethnographers to meet and exchange ideas.

[Business Ethnography Lab (BEL)]

BEL is a platform based in Tokyo for ethnographers in academia as well as in business in Japan to communicate and exchange ideas. BEL organizes educational workshop to promote the idea of ethnography in business scenes, and do consultation on ethnography design upon request.

Follow BEL at Twitter (@LabEthnography) and Facebook (Business Ethnography Lab).

You can also watch Ted×Otemachi LIVE talk by one of the lab founders, Dr. Yi Zhu here

[EPIC (Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Community)]

EPIC is a platform based in the U.S. for ethnographers for pursuing better business opportunities. According to EPIC website,

“EPIC promotes the use of ethnographic principles to create business value.”


1. This website contains rich list of publications: Journal of Business Anthropology (Books and Reviews)

2. List of business×ethnography (alphabetically)

Books, journals, etc.

  • Clark, Rodney. 1979. The Japanese Company. Cambridge, MA: Yale University               Press.
  • Cole, Robert E. 1971. Japanese blue collar: the changing tradition. Berkeley:    University of California Press.
  • Fruin, Mark W. 1983. Kikkoman: company, clan, and community. Cambridge: Harvard University Press
  • Graham, Fiona. 2003. Inside the Japanese Company. London: Routledge.
  • Hamada, Tomoko. 1991. American Enterprise in Japan. Albany: State University          of New York Press.
  • Kondo, Dorinne K. 1990. Crafting selves: power, gender and discourses of identity in a Japanese workplace. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
  • Moeran, Brian. 1996. A Japanese Advertising Agency: An Anthropology of Media and  Markets. Richmond: Curzon Press.
  • ————————2005. The business of ethnography: strategic exchanges, people and                                 organization. Oxford: Berg.
  • Noguchi, Paul H. 1990. Delayed Departures, Overdue Arrivals: Industrial   Familiarism and the Japanese National Railway. Hawaii: University of Hawaii Press.
  • Rohlen, Thomas P. 1974. For harmony and strength: Japanese white-collar      organization in anthropological perspective. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Sedgwick, Mitchell W. 2007. Globalisation and Japanese Organisational Culture:      An ethnography of a Japanese corporation in France. London: Routledge.
  • Shimoda, Yukimi. 2013. “Talk, trust and information flow: work relationships between Japanese expatriate and host national employees in Indonesia.” The International Journal of Human Resource Management 24.20: 3853-3871.
  • —————————–2017. Transnational organizations and cross-cultural workplaces.                                     Springer.
  • Wong, Heung Wah. 1999. Japanese Bosses, Chinese Workers: Power and Control in a Hong Kong Megastore. Richmond : Curzon Press.
  • Yagi, Noriko, and Jill Kleinberg. 2011. “Boundary work: An interpretive ethnographic perspective on negotiating and leveraging cross-cultural identity.” Journal of International Business Studies 42.5: 629-653.



  • Hayashida, Ayana. 2019. Cultural Anthropological Study on Oversea Business Development and Talent Localization: Case of a Japanese Consulting Company in Myanmar, University of Tsukuba. English abstract
  • Zhu, Yi. 2013. Control and Manipulation: The Company Building Process of a Japanese Fashion Enterprise in Hong Kong, The University of Hong Kong. Download the thesis here.