Business Anthropology


How did experiences of sleeping in strangers' homes lead to the creation of one of the world's most successful online hospitality company - Airbnb? How did the idea of public space influence and lead to the creation of the world's most successful coffee company - Starbucks? How does Youtube, the most significant pool of social and cultural data since the beginning of recorded communication use it to reveal more about us, humans and the society we live?
Why do people buy what they buy? Do Malls have a hold on the consumers? Does Coca-Cola have the same meaning in all cultures? How does advertising influence your decision to buy? Do people buy products which speak to their cultural values? How is culture tied to consumption? How do companies mine your social media and online data for understanding your consumption patterns?
Does Wall Street have its own culture? How does working in virtual teams affect the work culture and productivity of people? How do employees make use of organizational technology to shape Organizational culture? Does the idea of 'Tribal Leadership' by Zappos founder Tony Hsieh influence employees?
All the above factors have cultural influences more than what we tend to acknowledge. In the recent past corporations have started using ethnography and anthropology to gain insights into marketing and organizations strategically. Exploring and deconstructing such cultural and social influences through both fieldwork and case studies (text and videos) with a sprinkling of anthropological theories is the primary intent of this course.

  1. This course through case study analyses will nudge learners to delve deeper into the social and cultural factors that influence and shape businesses today.
  2. Through ethnographic case studies and fieldwork, the learner will be able to apply and incorporate ideas of correlating significant but seemingly tiny clues to a larger canvas.
  3. The learner would be able to apply knowledge gleaned from this course onto brands, businesses and organizations thus converting class material to practical insights.
  4. The learner will be able to present collaborative team work to an audience in a creative and easily accessible format.

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