Thursday, December 2, 2010

Discussions on Business Anthropology Association and Employment

Click to join businessanthropologist

Click to join businessanthropologist

Thank you for this. If I may add  a humble note (Robert is the expert in Business Anthropology, I am a newcomer) where I think business anthropology students could also gain greater chances of employability is also in the area of qual marketing & consumer research. This could be done through greater connection with the associations of qualitative research found all over the world:
 Each of these associations sometimes congregates over 100 something companies of qual researchers using ethnographic/qual methods in commercial research. This is obviously not the only one way, but one way for employment of business anthropologists. I strongly believe an association being formed to certify business anthropologists should make a bridge with AQRs all over the world.

Thank you.

To have an association will take time and energy.   We need to get a sponsor for that end.  Perhaps we can start to prepare for it.   In the US there are some business consulting firms run by anthropologists, I planned to visit them in the summer of 2010 but did not make it due to my busy schedule.   I will try my best to visit them next summer.
It is important that we have an association for business anthropologists.   It will be difficult at the very beginning, we may get some critics from other anthropologists but slowly we will be successful.  Anthropology in academia world is in crisis, which is clear but most of us just do not want to admit it, one fact to support my statement is that the majority of anthropology PhDs could not get employed after their graduation but we still create more and more PhDs.  To be honest if I did not get an MBA after my PhD in anthropology I might still unemployed as no one will provide me a job with my education background. 

Business anthropology opened a door to the students in anthropology although some of them may still get employed in the academia field.  Your own experience has added another case in the line, right?
Good discussion and hope that more of our anthropological fellows can join us.


Good day, all!

Please allow me to pipe up in response to this thread (I am new to the group!). I am very intrigued by the idea of an Association for Business Anthropologists and would be very happy to assist in planning, etc. I am a passionate Business Anthropologist who has yet to find her niche and strongly believe that strength comes in numbers (an Association would certainly allow for that). Additionally, the greatest challenge I have faced upon graduation from my Master's program in '08 (graduated with a M.S. in Applied Anthropology with a business focus, just for you to have some background knowledge about me) is communicating/translating the skills of a Business Anthropologist to positions marked for those in mainstream fields. It seems that Business Anthropologists need to come together and create a fabulous marketing plan to educate businesses and HR representative and execute it across the U.S. and world!

Regardless, I look forward to getting to know you all and participating in this forum. I am always interested in knowledge sharing, brainstorming and chatting about anything related to Anthropology!


Lauri M. Lillie, M.S.


I too am a new member to the group and thought I would throw in my story as an anthropologist employed in the business world. I am in the writing phase of my PhD in anthropology (with a consumer focused dissertation), and I work for General Mills in their Consumer Insights division. I also worked for 3 years as an Ethnographic Analist for a research supplier called The Hartman Group based in Bellevue, WA. Most of the people I know (myself included) who are anthropologists who work in business contexts didn't actually plan careers in business, but had somewhat circuitous paths, which makes it hard for me to give advice to aspiring business anthropologists! I will just say that there are opportunities out there and it seems to me that those opportunities are growing in a time when academic opportunities seem to be shrinking. I think that ways for aspiring business anthropologists - through a forum like this or an association are positive ways to help prepare and connect people interested in the field. I am happy to talk more about my particular experiences if anyone is interested - feel free to send me a message!

Best wishes,

Arwen Kimmell


Thank you for the information and your comments.  Recently I attended AAA annual meeting, in the meeting there was a group discussed about business anthropology.  I made a short comment by saying that in our discipline we have some heroes as individual to work in the business world but as whole we are failure to market our discipline to the business world. The truth is that more and more anthropology departments cannot help their Ph. D. students get jobs after their graduation.  Anthropology as academia field can host fewer and fewer individuals with Ph. D. but the business world can absorb unlimited professionals with Ph. D. in anthropology.  We need to work as a team to mark ourselves.  Years ago,  when I taught at a college in south Carolina business program I was insulted by not treating the courses I taught as taught by Ph. D. faculty member.  I believe nobody can help us but only we can help ourselves by ourselves.

An association is definitely important but we need a core group as the flagship in the filed and get those individual heroes to help by standing out and organize the association. 



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