On March 11, 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake triggered an extremely severe nuclear accident at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, owned and operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). Before the accident, several experts and researchers had repeatedly pointed out a high possibility that tsunami would reach beyond the level assumed by TEPCO, as well as a possibility that such level of tsunami might cause severe accidents. However, TEPCO and the regulatory body (NISA) overlooked these warnings and did not take any preventive measure against tsunami. Consequently, Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant was incapable of withstanding the tsunami that hit on the day. Due to these facts, the accident is regarded as a man-made disaster. Even today, more than 6 years after the accident, it has not been revealed why they underestimated the risk of tsunami and couldn't prevent the accident. This article suggests that this question can be partially answered by applying “groupthink” model which was developed by Irving Janis. This study analyzes the descriptions of two official reports on the Fukushima accident by Japanese government and National Diet. As the result, all antecedent conditions, six symptoms of groupthink and six symptoms of defective decision making are found in the accident reports. This study also suggests that an additional antecedent condition "existences of obvious and obscure risks" and a symptom of groupthink "procrastination of problem solving" could be included in the groupthink model.
Recent studies have demonstrated the importance of emotions in the escalation and reduction of intergroup conflicts. This paper reviews and discusses studies on emotions in intergroup conflict. This paper aims to understand recent findings and indicate future areas of focus regarding how emotions elicit discrimination, prejudice, and war. First, I introduce intergroup emotions theory, one of the most important theories on intergroup relations, and discuss the relation between intergroup emotions and intergroup aggression. Second, I examine collective emotions, which is the social or group phenomenon of sharing intergroup emotions across the entire group. Finally, I review studies on emotion regulation in intergroup conflicts and provide ways for resolving conflicts by intervening in real intergroup conflicts.
Performance based on multi-party discussion has been reported to be superior to that based on individuals. However, it is impossible that all participants simultaneously express opinions due to the time and space limitations in a large-scale discussion. In particular, only a few representative discussants and audiences can speak in conventional unidirectional discussions (e.g., panel discussion), although many participants gather for the discussion. To solve these problems, in this study, we proposed a cyber-physical discussion using “COLLAGREE,” which we developed for building consensus of large-scale online discussions. COLLAGREE is equipped with functions such as a facilitator, point ranking system, and display of discussion in tree structure. We focused on the relationship between satisfaction with the discussion and participants' desire to express opinions. We conducted the experiment in the panel discussion of an actual international conference. Participants who were audiences in the floor used COLLAGREE during the panel discussion. They responded to questionnaires after the experiment. The main findings are as follows: (1) Participation in online discussion was associated with the satisfaction of the participants; (2) Participants who desired to positively express opinions joined the cyber-space discussion; and (3) The satisfaction of participants who expressed opinions in the cyber-space discussion was higher than those of participants who expressed opinions in the real-space discussion and those who did not express opinions in both the cyber- and real-space discussions. Overall, active behaviors in the cyber-space discussion were associated with participants' satisfaction with the entire discussion, suggesting that cyberspace provided useful alternative opportunities to express opinions for audiences who used to listen to conventional unidirectional discussions passively. In addition, a complementary relationship exists between participation in the cyber-space and real-space discussions. These findings can serve to create a user-friendly discussion environment.
Japanese corporate law requires that boards have three or more directors, and thus makes group decision making obligatory within firms. But according to some observers, boards of directors are often a mere formality in Japan, especially for non-public and small-to-medium-sized firms. The literature of behavioral science shows that group decision making does not necessarily produce better outcomes than individual decisions. The three-or-more requirement was formed with path dependency dating back to the late 19th century, when Japan transplanted legal systems from overseas, but it was by no means the standard. Giving managers flexibility in organizational design is desirable in that it can facilitate the establishment of startups, new subsidiaries and joint ventures both by existing firms and entrepreneurs, and can also address potential labor shortages in an aging Japan.