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Activating Symbols When Creating Culture – The Development And Dissemination Of “Asuka Pride” And Nyk Cruises Co., Ltd. In Japan


  • Cristian Vlad

    (Babes Bolyai University)

  • Fumiaki Tajiri

    (Babes Bolyai University)

  • Ana Damaschin

    (Babes Bolyai University)

  • Kurtz Law

    (Bucharest University of Economic Studies)


The Cruise industry is a growing market which represents, 24.7 million global passengers in 2016, 25.8 million in 2017, and an estimated 27 million in 2018 (FCAA 2018, CLIA (Dec) 2018). In addition, this industry is providing over 1.1 million full time jobs, with $45.6 billion accumulated wages and salaries (CLIA (Nov) 2018). Lieberman explains that Cruise companies encourage early booking, and target 95% occupancy rates. Customers are skewed towards the more affluent. For example, the world cruise fare on Crystal Cruises departing January 6 2020, ranges from $30,447 to $202,099 per person (Garay et al. 2019). A wholly owned subsidiary of Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK), NYK Cruises offer cruises to the Japanese market aboard Asuka II, the company’s luxury cruise ship. NYK Cruises’ guest population is predominantly Japanese. This is with the exception of non-Japanese guests residing in Japan, Japanese speaking foreign visitors or foreign visitors travelling with Japanese friends or family. In 2017, the NYK Group CEO (NYK 2017) stated that 30 years ago, the greater majority of their employees had been Japanese. Presently however, non-Japanese represent 85% of office workers and seafarers worldwide. According to Radic (2017) English is the first language aboard ships and aboard NYK’s Asuka II, crew staff consisted of 86% non-Japanese employees, 38% of whom could not speak the language and did not interact with guests directly. Of the NYK Cruises’ land talent, Japanese employees mainly communicated and delivered services to Japanese guests in their native language. This situation led to a cultural split caused mainly by the different use of language (Cohen et al. 2017), and also by the nature of business operations. In other words, the crew on board Asuka II could not see what happened on land, while the land communicators, organizational engineers, talent operators and corporate executives did have a direct appreciation of what happened at sea. This paper uncovers how IBM Japan helped a group of corporate communicators, organizational engineers and talent operators at NYK to utilize modern technology. In addition, along with their social engineering practices, to enhance internal communications, stimulate internal collaboration, strengthen engagement and modernize talent practices to transform the cruise operator’s corporate culture.

Suggested Citation

  • Cristian Vlad & Fumiaki Tajiri & Ana Damaschin & Kurtz Law, 2019. "Activating Symbols When Creating Culture – The Development And Dissemination Of “Asuka Pride” And Nyk Cruises Co., Ltd. In Japan," Romanian Economic Business Review, Romanian-American University, vol. 14(3), pages 19-28, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:rau:journl:v:14:y:2019:i:3:p:19-28

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Andrew Coggins Jr, 2020. "Globalization of the Cruise Industry: A Tale of Ships Part II - Asia Post 1994," Chapters, in: Maigul Nugmanova & Heimo Juhani Mikkola & Alexander Rozanov & Valentina V. Komleva (ed.), Education, Human Rights and Peace in Sustainable Development, IntechOpen.
    2. Dhavalkumar Thakker & Stan Karanasios & Emmanuel Blanchard & Lydia Lau & Vania Dimitrova, 2017. "Ontology for cultural variations in interpersonal communication: Building on theoretical models and crowdsourced knowledge," Journal of the Association for Information Science & Technology, Association for Information Science & Technology, vol. 68(6), pages 1411-1428, June.
    3. Döndü ?Lkaya & Ay?Egül O?Uz, 2015. "Economic Contribution Of Tourism," Proceedings of International Academic Conferences 3105394, International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences.
    4. Cristian Vlad, 2019. "The Impact Of The Internship Program At The Laguna Garden Hotel (Okinawa, Japan)," Romanian Economic Business Review, Romanian-American University, vol. 14(1), pages 68-74, March.
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