Applying the humanities to business isn’t anything new. In fact, the corporate world has a long tradition of embracing various studies of human society and culture to explain and benefit its many strategies. And when it comes to anthropology — the study of human and social behavior — the story isn't much different.
But as the pressure mounts for college students to take STEM courses (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), the humanities and social science programs are struggling to sustain their relevance. Nevertheless, there are still humanities majors who dominate the business world, and 75% of today's entrepreneurs were liberal arts majors, in part because there were no programs teaching entrepreneurship when they were in college.
Fortunately for those with anthropology degrees, there has been an increase in recent years in the application of anthropology to the world of business. This has given birth to the term "corporate anthropology" — the study of human values, beliefs and behaviors in the business environment. Now, anthropology is thriving in business, driving change and innovation in a number of different areas.
Here is a brief overview of how corporate anthropology is changing its role in the business arena, how business is changing anthropologists, and why should you try it for your own company.