Friday, October 22, 2010

International Journal of Business Anthropology

The International Journal of Business Anthropology (ISSN 2155-6237)
is a double peer reviewed journal focusing upon business anthropology sponsored by the College of Sociology and Anthropology, Sun Yat-Sen University, China, the Faculty of Social Science, VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and published by the North American Business Press (NABP) biannually. Given the rapid growth of business anthropology a journal dedicated to the field is much needed.

Business anthropology uses qualitative and ethnographic methods as an alternative to more formal methodologies, Specific tools include participant observation, informal and structured interviews, and other “naturalistic”, informal, and face to face methods of investigation. Business anthropologists play a key role in developing culturally sensitive policies and strategies in a world that increasingly typified by cross cultural contact.

The journal seeks articles by anthropologically-oriented scholars and practitioners. Regionally focused contributions are welcome, especially when their findings can be generalized. We encourage the dialogues between the findings or theories generated from the field of business anthropology and the theories of general anthropology. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, general business anthropology theories and methods, management, marketing, consumer behavior, product design and development, knowledge management and competitive intelligence, human resources management, international business, etc.

Objectives:

- Generate an exchange of ideas between scholars, practitioners and industry specialists in the field of applied and business anthropology
- Encourage bridge building between the practitioner and the academic world
- Provide a vehicle of communication for anthropologists working within the practitioner world
- Provide a forum for work concerned with qualitative business analysis inspired by anthropological theory and methods

About the Publishers

NABP publishes seven academic journals. The acceptance rate of NABP journals is less than twenty percent. The journals are indexed by UMI-Proquest-ABI Inform, EBSCOhost, GoogleScholar, and listed with Cabell's Directory, Ulrich's Listing of Periodicals, and Bowkers Publishing Resources. NABP journals are affirmed as scholarly research outlets by the following business school accrediting bodies: AACSB, ACBSP, IACBE & EQUIS. (For more information consult : http://www.na-businesspress.com/)

Call for Papers

We are always looking for good manuscripts! We encourage practitioners, students, community members, and faculty from all disciplines to submit articles. The Editors and one or more anonymous peer reviewers will review the manuscript prior to its acceptance for publication. In addition to research and academic articles, we feature case studies, commentaries and reviews. Please send manuscripts, news notes and correspondence to: Dr. Robert Guang Tian, Editor, IJBA, via e-mail at rtian@medaille.edu, or rgtian@yahoo.com or ijba@na-businesspress.com

Editors

Dr. Robert G. Tian
Dr. Daming Zhou
Dr. Alfons H. van Marrewijk

Members of Editorial Board

Dr. William O. Beeman, University of Minnesota, USA
Dr. Gordon Bronitsky, Bronitsky and Associates, USA
Dr. Yu Chen, Sun Yat-Sen University, PRC
Dr. Andrew Z. S. Demirdjian, California State University, USA
Dr. Heidi Dhales, VU University Amsterdam, NL
Dr. Lily Díaz, Aalto University, Finland
Dr. Murad Esenov, Institute of Central Asia and Caucasian Studies, SE
Dr. Kreg T. Ettenger, University of Southern Maine, USA
Dr. Julia C. Gluesing, Wayne State University, USA
Dr. Ekaterina L. Khramkova, Moscow University of Industry and Finance, RU
Dr. Kewal Krishan, Panjab University, IND
Dr. Michael Lillis, Medaille College, USA
Dr. Peter Lugosi, Bournemouth University, UK
Dr. Catriona Macaulay, University of Dundee, UK
Dr. Christine Miller, Savannah College of Art and Design, USA
Dr. Pedro Oliver, Independent Cultural Consultant, POR
Dr. Shuting Pan, Fudan University, PRC
Dr. Devinder Pal Singh, Punjabi University, IND
Dr. Jean N. Scandlyn, University of Colorado Denver, USA
Dr. Josephine Smart, University of Calgary, CA
Dr. Tulasi Srinivas, Emerson College, USA
Dr. Dan Trotter, Independent Business Consultant, USA
Dr. Dixon Wong, Hong Kong University, HK
Dr. Alf Walle, Galen University, BZ
Dr. Xiaoliu Yang, Sun Yat-Sen University, PRC

Members of Advisory Board:

Dr. Robbie Blinkoff, Context-Based Research Group, USA
Dr. Elizabeth Briody, Cultural Keys LLC, USA
Dr. Jayne Howell, California State University Long Beach, USA
Dr. Ken Friedman, Swinburne University of Technology, AUS
Mr. Anthony Galima, Independent Business Consultant, USA
Dr. Timothy de Waal Malefyt, BBDO Worldwide Advertising, USA
Dr. Robert J. Morais, Weinman Schnee Morais, Inc., USA
Mr. Toby Nord, Senior Lecturer, University of Minnesota, USA
Dr. Pamela Puntenney, Environmental & Human Systems Management, USA
Dr. Elizabeth Tunstall, Swinburne University of Technology, AUS
Dr. Shengmin Yang, Central University of Nationalities, PRC


International Journal of Business Anthropology Volume 1(1)


Table of Contents

Editorial Commentary

The Importance of Business Anthropology: Its Unique Contribution
Ann T. Jordan

European Developments in Business Anthropology
Alfons van Marrewijik

How Anthropologists Can Succeed in Business: Mediating Multiple Worlds of Inquiry
Robert J. Morais and Timothy de Waal Malefyt

Transactions en la Tienda: Alternatives to Traditional Financial Service Providers among Hispanic Immigrants in Virginia
Daisy Stevens Rojas

Group Differences among Nongmingong: An Ethnographic Field Work Report on Dacheng Stationary Factory
Daming Zhou and Sun Xiaoyuan

Indigenous People and Human Resource Management
Alf Walle

Creating Spaces Where Things Happen: The Life Story of a Business Anthropologist
Gordon Bronitsky


EDITORIAL COMMENTARY

The time that anthropologists working in business organizations were “exotic” news in newspapers and business magazines is over. Now, serious newspaper and management articles show how American and European corporations increasingly hire anthropologists to design new technology, to learn to know their customers, and to improve their business (for example, see Cohen and Sarphatie 2007, Corbett 2008, Davenport 2007, Gruener 2004, Miller 2005, Tett 2005). As larger groups of managers, marketers, engineers and designers read these articles the special qualities of business anthropologists are now better known.

It is widely recognized that business anthropology uses qualitative and ethnographic methods as an alternative to more formal methodologies (Jordan 2003, Ybema, Yanow, Wels, & Kamsteeg, 2009). Specific tools include participant observation, informal and structured interviews, and other “naturalistic”, informal, and face to face methods of investigation. Business anthropologists play a key role in developing culturally sensitive policies and strategies in a world that increasingly typified by cross cultural contact.

Not only practitioners are interested in business anthropology. Academics in organization studies, consumer behavior, marketing, public policy, product design, and international business studies increasingly include anthropological theories and methods in their research (Bate 1997). In addition, anthropological theories and methods are suggested can be effectively applied into business educations, and in fact many business schools have started to redesign their curricula with the consideration of anthropological contributions (Tian & Walle 2009, Tian 2005).

Although journals are increasingly open to anthropological methods and ethnographic writing, many of us experience difficulties in publishing research findings in mainstream journals. It is therefore necessary to create a platform to develop anthropological theories for practical use, to develop new theories from empirical data and to present ethnographic accounts of business organizations. In sum, to provide a forum for work concerned with qualitative business analysis inspired by anthropological theory and methods.

Given the rapid growth of interest and the need to provide a forum, it is justified to start a new journal especially dedicated to the field of business anthropology. We named it the International Journal of Business Anthropology which provides a vehicle of communication for anthropologists working with and within the practitioner world of business organizations. The goal of the journal is to generate an exchange of ideas between scholars, practitioners and industry specialists in the field of applied and business anthropology.

We support the call for bridge building between practitioners and academics, a difficult request so long heard in the field of business studies (Bartunek 1993). Worrisome is the growing separation of practitioners’ and academics’ practices. The daily practices of anthropologists working in or for business corporations deviate from anthropologists in academic institutions studying business organizations. The latter are occupied with teaching, publishing, obtaining research grants, and dealing with internal university politics, which leaves little time and energy to be involved in business organizations. In contrast, business anthropologists working in or for business corporations have to acquire contracts, adapt to business requirements, come up with quick responses, and produce products, which leaves little time and energy for reading academic journals and for publication. The joint creation of new knowledge in the International Journal of Business Anthropology can support a real bridge building.

In this first issue we include seven articles from large submissions. Dr. Ann Jordan, as one of the flagship scholars in the field of business anthropology, summarizes the importance of business anthropology and the unique contributions anthropologists have made to the business world. Dr. Alfons H. van Marrewijk outlines the historical development process of business anthropology in Europe, he highlights the special cases and events that are worth of continuously study. Dr. Morais and Dr. Malefyt predict a bright future for anthropologists in the financial service industry, and believe that there are intrinsic worth in broadening the typical anthropological approach to incorporate additional theory and methods from other social and behavioral sciences.

Business anthropologist Daisy Rojas provides an analysis of how Hispanics in Virginia access financial resources. She offers readers valuable analysis and advances understanding as well as practical application of how Hispanics in the US interface with financial services. Dr. Zhou Daming and his student Sun Xiaoyun look at group differences among nongmingong (peasant turned urban industrial workers), a unique social economic phenomenon in modern China, and suggest that business leaders must be aware of the group difference in their everyday business management operations. Dr. Alf Walle probes the human resources management themes business firms are usually confronted with when operating in rural areas with indigenous people and suggests that in such situations firms need to establish a policy for cultural adaptation in human resources management. In his life story essay Dr. Gordon Bronitsky makes some good points about the transition from academia to business and shares his experiences about applying anthropological tools and practices to support a business.

The journal seeks articles by anthropologically-oriented scholars and practitioners on topics such as general business anthropology theories and methods, marketing, consumer behavior, organization culture, human resources management, cross cultural management etc. Regionally focused contributions are welcome, especially when their findings can be generalized. We encourage practitioners, students, community, and faculty members to submit theoretical articles, case studies, commentaries and reviews. Please send manuscripts, news notes and correspondence to: Dr. Robert Guang Tian, Editor, IJBA, via e-mail at rtian@medaille.edu, or rgtian@yahoo.com or ijba@na-businesspress.com (Robert Guang Tian and Alfons H. van Marrewijk)

REFERENCES

Bartunek, J. M. (1993). Scholarly dialogues and participatory action research. Human Relations, 46(10), 1221-1372.

Bate, P. (1997). Whatever Happened to Organizational Anthropology? A Review of the Field of Organizational Ethnography and Anthropological Studies. Human Relations, 50(9). 1147-1171.

Davenport, T. (2007). The rise of corporate anthropology, Harvard Business Review. November.

Gruener, W. (2004). When cultures shape technology. Tom's Hardware Guide. July 8th.

Cohen, M., & Sarphatie, E. (2007), Gezocht: Antropoloog m/v, Amsterdam: Aksant.

Corbett, S. (2008). Can the Cellphone Help End Global Poverty? New York Times Magazine. April 13th.

Jordan, A. (2003). Business Anthropology: Prospect Heights, IllinoisWaveland Publishers.

Miller, B. (2005). Anthropology and business come together. Small business bulletins. November.

Tett, G. (2005). Office Culture. Financial Times. 20th May.

Tian, R. G. and A. Walle (2009). Anthropology and business education: Practitioner applications for a qualitative method. International Journal of Management Education, Vol.7(2), pp. 59-67.

Tian, R. G. (2005). Anthropological Approach to Consumer Behavior: A Marketing Educational Case of Teaching and Learning. Journal of Advancement of Marketing Education, Vol. 7: 36-46.

Ybema, S., Yanow, D., Wels, H., & Kamsteeg, F. (2009), Organizational Ethnography. Studying the Complexities of Everyday Life, London: Sage.


International Journal of Business Anthropology Volume 1(2)

Table of Contents

Editorial Commentary

Focused Ethnography through Thematic Networks: Affirming Validity in Business Anthropology Research
Pedro Oliveira

Business Ritual Studies: Corporate Ceremony and Sacred Space
Tomoko Hamada Connolly

The Social Construction of Public Infrastructure: A Case of the Dutch National Geo-information Clearinghouse Project
Henk Koerten

The Unique Contributions and the Unique Methodologies: A Concise Overview of the Applications of Business Anthropology
Robert Guang Tian

The Effects of Intercultural Training upon the Organizational
Performance of Multinational Corporations in China
Ge Gao

The Influence of Confucian Culture on Business Management: A Case Study of Chinese Entrepreneurs in Macau
Chunxia Wang

The Role of Anthropology in Retailing: An Autoethnographic Case Study
David E. McClendon Sr.


Editorial Commentary

The International Journal of Business Anthropology (IJBA) is in the process of becoming a useful and important platform for both professional practitioners and academic scholars in the field of Business Anthropology. We hope our readers like the theoretical explorations, the case studies, the practical applications of anthropological theories and the personal reflections selected. We think the contributions are informative and invigorative and, perhaps more important; drawing attention of the business community. Increasingly, they recognize the great value of anthropological study for a better understanding of human experience and behavior in business. The formal acknowledgement of the merger of anthropology and business, as demonstrated by the IJBA, validates what both fields have known for many years; that a symbiotic relationship is necessary for the sustenance of each.

IJBA is concerned with bridging the gap between academic research and applied research by professionals. Increasingly, there is a plea for bringing practitioners and academics together in order to develop knowledge that can be applied in the field of organisation and management and visa versa. For those who are actively involved in the academic and the consultancy world, the appeal to bridge the gap between academics and practitioners is very challenging. This will not be easy as; on the one hand, practical application of academic research drifts away by the pursuit of publications in academic journals. On the other hand, academic standards and theoretical implications of applied research by professionals are sometimes limited due to time pressure.

Consequently, some anthropologists feel they function at a crossroads; forced to decide between investigative academic research and professional applied research. However, we think that practitioners turned into academics (pracademics) and academics turned into practitioners (acaditoners) together with the education of business anthropology students provide an avenue for theory to interact with “lived experiences”. The bold decision to forge ahead with our dedication to further develop an cultural understanding of business and the belief that we can pass that knowledge on to members of other disciplines is the reason the International Journal of Business Anthropology will become an invaluable tool.

Increasingly, we see academic experts being actively involved in management topics and helping organisations to solve problems. These experts help management in distinct roles such as; researcher-consultant, change advisor, cross-cultural specialist, or cultural broker. They obtain, apart from financial support, access to interesting fields of study and data for publication. Insight in boardrooms, organisation politics and informal gatherings will result in a deeper understanding. ‘Armchair’ academic scientists will not be given such a view. The downside is also clear; in accepting financial and logistical support experts run the risk of being limited in their ethnographic research, their publications and of the misuse of their research results. Remembering our origins in American anthropology it seems that a fear of misuse clings to the ideas surrounding the field of applied anthropology. As applied anthropology seeks to work within communities, organizations and business networks, misuse of research results are not inconceivable. Therefore, IJBA seeks new opportunities and solutions to ethical difficulties that can be fostered through the open dialogue created by publications such as IJBA. If we have taken our early lessons to heart, we hope that our work will be used in appropriate ways. To have a vehicle for disseminating information and sharing new research among applied anthropologists will assist in maintaining ethical principles for all members of the discipline.

Dr. Ann Jordan, in the very first article of the first issue of IJBA, indicates that our dilemma as dedicated anthropologists is how to determine what questions should be asked. This deceptively simple requirement involves dedicated ethnography, in depth engagement and focused time learning from interlocutors in the field. IJBA addresses meaningful issues present and pressing in our own lives as well as those of many others seeking knowledge from our discipline. In many ways the work of applied anthropology has come to fruition through this publication. And yet, with privilege comes responsibility. Those practitioners and scholars who recognize the value of this resource will also know the need we have to maintain a high level of variety, innovation and critical commentary.

In our second issue Dr. Pedro Oliveira explores the validity of ethnographic findings in business anthropology. He argues that the ethnographic work is as methodologically valid as the production by human scientists of other disciplines. He suggests that business anthropology could be a field marked by greater methodological accountability, an argument that has been strongly supported with the case analysis and logical discussions. Dr. Oliveira indicates that thematic networks could be the instrument used to start imagining forms of representing validity inside the discipline and as an instrument for future branding of business anthropology research.

Dr. Tomoko Hamada Connolly demonstrates symbolic readings of ritual analysis can be used to analyze how corporate ceremonies shed light on the structure of business organizations as a whole. Dr. Connolly argues that we can analyze corporate activities as ritual, and that through a detailed ritual analysis from an anthropological perspective we can better understand corporate activities.

Henk Koerten and Dr. Marcel Veenswijk reveal that the inter-organizational geo-data exchange has become a predominant public concern over the last decade, leading to organizational outgrowth between not-for-profit and governmental settings. They advocates that narrative analysis can be used to clarify where geo-data exchange stands at present and also shed light on ethnographic material obtained through the study of organizations involved in geo-data exchange.

Dr. Robert Guang Tian presents a concise overview of the applications of business anthropology in his article by summarizing the special contributions that anthropologists can make to the business world and just how they may make them. He stresses that by using specially developed research methods, such as ethnographic study, anthropologist can help business management to improve performance and profitability in various ways. In his fieldwork report Ge Gao examines the effects of intercultural training upon the organizational performance of multinational corporations in China. He stresses the importance and value of intercultural training for new employees working in the cultural environment that differs from their home cultures. His findings propose that proper cultural training can help employees adapt and perform in ways that improve the success of individuals who relocate in China.

Dr. Chunxia Wang provides an empirical analysis of Confucian cultural values and their impacts on entrepreneurs in Macau. Her case study exhibits that Macau retains the traditional Confucian culture, which influences the business models by the Chinese entrepreneurs. She determines that Macau forms a typical acquaintances society, in which relationship plays an important role in everyday business operations. By using a life story approach, David McClendon offers us an autoethnographic case study about his family business. Although he may not have been systematically trained in business anthropology, he claims that many small business owners may apply anthropology in their daily operations unconsciously. He argues that business anthropology has a role in understanding and enhancing small business as much as it does for large corporations.

With thanks to the high quality work of our authors, it is our honor to have this opportunity to serve the business anthropology community and meet the needs of business anthropologists to publish their academic works with strong practical values. It is our duty to build such a platform to our colleagues to share their thoughts, their findings, and their ideas. It is our obligation to promote business anthropology as a special field in the disciplines of business and anthropology. It is our hope that in the near future business anthropology as a special field will be able to draw more and more attention from the academic world and from the business world. We are extremely confident about the success of business anthropology in the world today as well as tomorrow.

The quality of the articles submitted and the sophistication of theoretical analysis may already indicate overcoming the division between academia and applied anthropology. We leave the readers to determine this, for this issue and following issues. We continuously seek articles by anthropologically-oriented scholars and practitioners on topics such as general business anthropology theories and methods, marketing, consumer behavior, organization culture, human resources management, cross cultural management etc. Regionally focused contributions are welcome, especially when their findings can be generalized. We encourage practitioners, students, community, and faculty members to submit theoretical articles, case studies, commentaries and reviews. Please send manuscripts, news notes and correspondence to: Dr. Robert Guang Tian, Editor, IJBA, via e-mail to ijba@na-businesspress.com, or rgtian@yahoo.com (Daisy S. Rojas, Robert G. Tian, Daming Zhou, and Alfons H. van Marrewijk)

1 comment:

  1. we have the opportunity to read your journal and it is excellent, you are doing a great job publishing. Now the different applications of anthropology are better known and have a significant scientific support.

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