Fields of Research: Organization studies, culture and art, design, service management, ethnomethodology
Academic Backgrounds: Yutaka studied computer science in Kyoto University and worked in the interdisciplinary field of computing and organization studies. After the master’s degree, he switched to organization studies and joined UCLA Anderson School as a doctoral student. During his study at UCLA, he started to work for Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), first as an intern and then full-time researcher. He wrote his dissertation based on his studies both at UCLA and at PARC and obtained his Ph.D. in Management in 2006. After working as a researcher at PARC, he joined Graduate School of Management, Kyoto University in 2010. This was the time when GSM launched its Service Value-Creation Program, a leading edge program with focus on service. In Kyoto University, he was part of the team to establish Design School. He has been teaching organization studies, service management and design.
Research Activities: Yutaka’s research background is organization studies and engaged in the research themes of sensemaking, routine dynamics and sociomateriality. He specifically takes the ethnomethodological perspective and analyzes social interactions that are videotaped. He has applied this approach to service settings, first in traditional, high-end sushi bars in Tokyo, and then in other settings such as fast food outlets, apparel stores, cocktail bars and restaurants of various kinds. His research focuses on the mundane aspects of practices and reveals nuanced and often contentious struggles. For instance, service encounter is not simply about the customer stating what she wants and the employee delivering it, but an intersubjective struggle to demonstrate one’s self and co-create something special and valuable. His approach to design is also critical of the traditional human-centered approach to understand and meet users’ potential needs; the design should introduce traumatic occasions of struggle so that users can prove themselves and gain recognition.
Courses in Charge: Organization and Community Design, Service Management, Organizational Culture, Design Ethnography, Organizational Behavior.
Skills and Qualities Required for Prospective Students: All successful applicants have been already familiar with basic social theories, in particular culturally oriented ones, e.g., Goffman, Garfinkel, Sacks, Bourdieu, Foucault, and Latour among others. It takes a long time to familiarize oneself with such theoretical discourses and students need to be well prepared. Students typically do ethnographic and otherwise qualitative studies as well as video-based ethnomethodological studies.
Examples of Thesis Subjects:
- Sensemaking in Cocktail Bars
- Creativity in Agencement
- Aesthetic in Innovation and Design
- Déterritorialisation and liminal identities in Sharing Economy
- Motorcycle Cultures in the U.S.
- Critique of Japanese Hospitality (Omotenashi)