Organizational culture research to find out the factors that hinder management reform

IDEAFUND Co., Ltd. conducted organizational culture research for a major corporate group’s B2B solution company with ethnographic methodology. 

While the client company’s executives agreed on the need for management reform, they faced friction in implementing it. In search of solutions, they speculated that a unique corporate culture or an unconscious resistance to change among employees might be hindering reform and made the decision to request our research. 

Cultural anthropologists in IDEAFUND Co., Ltd., investigated the client’s organizational culture. Based on the findings, they provided insights and necessary strategies across seven categories, including organizational culture and management reform.  

Feedback from the research report meeting included significant realizations about the importance of objectively understanding one’s organizational culture, the moments of self-discovery, and enlightening ‘aha’ experiences. 

Applying Cultural Anthropology to Organizational Development

  • Because culture anthropologists are external experts, challenges within an organization, often unnoticed or unarticulated, can be objectively highlighted. 
  • Organizational culture research, seemingly circuitous, can effectively break through stagnation in organizational reform.
  • Organizational research represent one of the longest-standing areas of application for cultural anthropology in business. 

Research Objectives

  • Identify challenges in employees’ thinking, norms, and corporate culture.
  • Uncover the underlying structures of these issues. 
  • Utilize insights gained from a deep understanding of these structures to inform and advance management reform.

Research Overview

While a comprehensive understanding of the entire organization is ultimately necessary for devising strategies, the first phase involved a pilot study of one department.
This project, encompassing research design, the main
research, and analysis, spanned four months.
Based on the results of the first phase,
additional research in other departments is planned for the future.


IDEAFUND is a professional research company located in Tokyo.  With the corporate mission of “Accelerate Innovation with an Idea,” IDEAFUND Co., Ltd. brings together professionals in fields such as cultural anthropology. We are committed to deriving insights and creating new business needs through behavioral observation research. Since its foundation in 2018, its founder, Naoko, and her colleagues have applied the methodology of cultural anthropology to market/consumer research. Through this approach, we aim to gain a comprehensive understanding of consumers and users, thereby identifying opportunities for innovation.

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