A Study of “Waku-Waku” at Work

  • Ryotaro InoueEmail author
  • Takashi Maeno


Taking the upcoming “Society 5.0” and “100 years of lifetime” into account, what should each and every one of us, as a worker, do to confront our work positively and realize a fulfilling career? Moreover, in economic circumstances that are insecure and uncertain for businesses, what should we do to develop human resources capable of creating new values and enhancing labor productivity? In this study, in order to meet personal and organizational demands, the author defines the fundamental problem as “What should we do to get each employee to work with more initiative?” If you are in a comfortable, active state in which you find your work rewarding, and you work with initiative, then you have high work engagement. This study focuses on the mediation effect of work engagement and positive emotion. We also give heed to “Waku-Waku,” an onomatopoeia expressing positive emotion that is unique to the Japanese language. Originally, onomatopoeia has rarely been used in academic papers as it does not have a solid conceptual definition. It, however, is a linguistic expression that is excellent in conveying our intention with complexity and precision. Although “Waku-Waku” is often translated into “excitement” in English, it has been confirmed in a prior study that its nuance is much closer to concepts such as “well-being” and “flow”. These concepts are considered from the standpoint of new intervention to make work more satisfying and fulfilling in light of human resource management. This study focuses on the positive emotion of “Waku-Waku,” and builds up a statistic structure of the main factor that can evoke this motion in working scenes, through qualitative and quantitative analysis. Among others, reported here is a study of analysis on factors of feeling “Waku-Waku” at work that many working individuals in Japan are aware of. As a result, four factors were confirmed: 1. Challenge to creativity and the unknown; 2. Fortune and pleasure; 3. Interest in others at work and; 4. Passion in terms of sensitivity. Since it was shown that working individuals feel “Waku-Waku” when they face these things, the concept of “Waku-Waku” was tentatively defined in conclusion.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Keio UniversityYokohamaJapan

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