For over 30 years I did cross-cultural seminars for Fortune 500 companies and foreign businessmen wanting to know how to do business with Americans.  I wrote many articles in business publications and workbooks e.g., Negotiating Overseas.  I have written a book on the subject but never had it published.  If I get the time I will upload it so that OAC members can access it.  I don’t know what else to do with it, as I have little interest in the subject anymore; or rather my main interests are on the history of inequality.  Most of the corporate students in my workshops found Anthropological concepts helpful in coping with foreign business ways and back in the 1970s, when I started doing corporate workshops; American businessmen had very little experience in dealing with other cultures.

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I must admit, though well off my normal interests, I found attending a similar training event was a real eye opener. I'd be interested to read the book if you choose to upload it, to see how it looks from the other side, being in the UK.
Those with a serious interest in applying anthropology in business should also check out the EPIC conferences and the publications that they have produced.


John McCreery said:
Those with a serious interest in applying anthropology in business should also check out the EPIC conferences and the publications that they have produced.

I will look at EPIC.  However, I have only mild interest in the subject anymore.  Frankly, I did business anthropology for the money and the fact that I had my way paid to travel to Europe, Africa, India and Brazil as well as all over the USA.  I did it for over 30 years and eventually the travel got very tiring.  Also, doing the seminars themselves was boring, after the first 50 seminars or so.  Since the attendees were unfamiliar and often uninterested in the subject of cross-cultural communication, I had to keep things rather basic and the nature of the beast required repetition of the subject matter.  Being on auto-pilot for 2 days at a time was not fun, but one thing doing business seminars taught me was that to hold their attention one had to be a performed, using humor and interesting aids to hold their attention.  I think it made me a better University lecturer, which was beneficial.  When I returned to University teaching my interest in political economy returned and I have not visited the cross-cultural communication stuff since.  I was in at the beginning of the sub-field and it has developed into a much bigger and more widespread field since.  In the beginning there we individual consultants like me but now there are full-blown corporations hiring consultants that the old timers did by the seat of their pants.

 

Judging by the conference that I attended in Tokyo, EPIC is not primarily about cross-cultural communication. The focus seems more on looking for unnoticed opportunities for product development and marketing. As I remarked in a report on that conference on Savage Minds, the coolest thing I heard at that conference was an account of how the ethnographic observation, backed up by quantitative research, that PC use is intermittent instead of continuous led Intel to redesign its chips. Until this observation, chip designers had worked in a tradition that assumed continuous 24/7 usage instead of repeated startup and shutdown. Cultural habits affect a lot more than how we communicate with each other.

Yikes!  We certainly don't need more product development and marketing.  We need to reduce the comoditization of the system and redesign products to make them environmentally friendly.  Plastic bags are now littering the landscape in Ghana, for example.  That since I did my fieldwork there in the early 1970s.



John McCreery said:

Judging by the conference that I attended in Tokyo, EPIC is not primarily about cross-cultural communication. The focus seems more on looking for unnoticed opportunities for product development and marketing. As I remarked in a report on that conference on Savage Minds, the coolest thing I heard at that conference was an account of how the ethnographic observation, backed up by quantitative research, that PC use is intermittent instead of continuous led Intel to redesign its chips. Until this observation, chip designers had worked in a tradition that assumed continuous 24/7 usage instead of repeated startup and shutdown. Cultural habits affect a lot more than how we communicate with each other.
Could it be that the equation of commodification with plastic bags a bit facile? Aspirin? IPads? Sterile syringes? Whole Foods supermarkets? Granola?....lots of commodified stuff out there that is useful, interesting, life-saving, good for you...Want to see it all disappear and go back to shorter lifespans, higher infant mortality rates, all that good stuff?

And speaking of anthropology and business, have you thought about the Anthropologist as described in Tom Kelley's Ten Faces of Innovation (http://www.tenfacesofinnovation.com/tenfaces/index.htm)?

Euguene,

 

Anthropology and anthropological concepts are now flooding the corporate realm, as corporate social responsibility, global reporting and sustainability are being developed. Most times this is being watered down so that businessmen can translate cross-cultural differences into business models and action plans. It only makes sense that anthropology has a footing (whether firmly planted or on slippery slopes) in business. 

I am currently working for a mining company, but will be leaving this position as the CEO, who often enough confuses anthropology with archaeological excavating, has under-utilised my expertise in community relations. He sees an importance on the basic level--i.e. the minimum that needs to be done in order to satisfy international legislation. This has led me in approaching green and CSR focused publishers in a quest to review business plans and CSR related texts within a more socially aware context. What are these texts teaching businessmen about social responsibility, and how can the anthropologist further engage in a negotiated sentiment towards both business and the people they study (and most times are advocates of)?

 

I am both in academia, as a Fellow at the University of East London, and in applied work (acting as a consultant and researcher on various projects). Hence, my dilemma will always lie in how I negotiate theory with business acumen. I am now thinking of anthropology within the context of supply chains, International standards, and financial models. I find the nature of the topic fascinating, and will shortly have my review of the CSR publication available for the OAC Members. Even I am interested in seeing how my review pans out.

 

I taught both international negotiation and quality improvement to corporate America and foreign companies for many years.  It is common that higher level executives are disconnected from their workers and routinely reject advice from below.  This is not new and is only slowly changing – the operative word being slowly.  Corporate cultures are élitist and those at the top make large salaries with benefits by preserving that culture of élitism.  There are many books out there advocating ways to counteract and change these old ways, but little is being done in all but a few companies.  You can google the subjects and find many books.  A good source on books is Paton Professional at http://www.patonprofessional.com/

If you want personal help contact Scott Paton on facebook and drop my name.  He is very savvy and more up-to-date on the latest literature than am I.  In my day, my stuff was cutting-edge, but when I returned to academia I left that field behind and it has moved on.  There are tons of books out there now on international negotiation and quality control, as well as many on improving corporate cultures.  Very much like what has happened to anthropology itself, the field has exploded at the level of literature; but I fear that little has changed at the corporate level.  Good luck.

 

 

 

 

 

What élitism, is an acceptable élitism in social terms?

In what perspective are neo-liberal corporations and élitism non-excluding?



Eugene L. Mendonsa said:

I taught both international negotiation and quality improvement to corporate America and foreign companies for many years.  It is common that higher level executives are disconnected from their workers and routinely reject advice from below.  This is not new and is only slowly changing – the operative word being slowly.  Corporate cultures are élitist and those at the top make large salaries with benefits by preserving that culture of élitism.  There are many books out there advocating ways to counteract and change these old ways, but little is being done in all but a few companies.  You can google the subjects and find many books.  A good source on books is Paton Professional at http://www.patonprofessional.com/

If you want personal help contact Scott Paton on facebook and drop my name.  He is very savvy and more up-to-date on the latest literature than am I.  In my day, my stuff was cutting-edge, but when I returned to academia I left that field behind and it has moved on.  There are tons of books out there now on international negotiation and quality control, as well as many on improving corporate cultures.  Very much like what has happened to anthropology itself, the field has exploded at the level of literature; but I fear that little has changed at the corporate level.  Good luck.

 

 

 

 

 

By the way, this discussion reminded me of Pound.
That's an interesting comment, Seba. Ezra Pound had views on money that range from nutty to quite original. How do you intend the comparison to be interpreted in this context?

Is found in Pound's poetry, a constant source of inspiration for a correct economical behaviour (non-Usura). That is Monte dei Paschi. A proper source of inspiration yields potentially an adequate one. When Pound wrote his Cantos, he intended to tell the story of humanity, cross-culturally.

What would be a correct model to focus-on nowadays?

In terms of business,

What's the correct approach of anthropology into analyzing usury in business?

 

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