The advanced growth of today’s industrialization has led to colossal demand of human resources from a variety of disciplines of studies. Numerous graduates of high education institutions ranging from computer science, business management, international relations, chemistry, information technology, and many more sold like peanuts upon the completion of their study. Some of them are even hired before completing their college program. As those disciplines are considered as applied science, the graduates seem to meet the interest of today’s companies. It comes to a question about the fortune of Anthropologists amidst today’s demand of human resources to support the operation of companies. To what extent the anthropology major meets the interest of business companies today? What can anthropologists contribute to the business operation with their interest in learning in depth about all aspects of homo-sapiens?
Anthropologists whose concerns are in all aspects of humankind have broad opportunity to deliver principal contribution toward the success of huge companies. (Encarta Dictionaries, 2008) As the nature of Anthropology focuses especially on human culture and development, it can contribute to the accurate understanding of intercultural aspects of business. The characteristic of the study will reflect the basic extent of what how Anthropologists can contribute to the operation of company business.
Of the four fields of Anthropology; first, Biological anthropology, second, Anthropological linguistics, third, Archaeology, and fourth, Cultural anthropology, the last approach offers relevant ground of analysis applicable in business world. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropology) Cultural Anthropology, which is also called as Social Anthropology in Britain or Ethnology in European continent, has got interdisciplinary characteristics and holistic manner in research by nature. It combines a series of empirical, logical, and intuitive inquiries, and organic interpretation. Cultural Anthropology does not only explore the patterns of human behaviors, but also attempts to interpret the underlying belief and worldviews of communities and organizations. As the concern also covers economic, politic, law, conflict resolutions, material culture, technology, infrastructure, gender relations, ethnicity, childrearing and socialization, religion, myth, symbols, music, nutrition, recreation, games, food, festival, and even language, the so-called Social Anthropology offers the strong basis of comprehensive analysis by which decision making can rely on it principally. (Pant and Fernando Alberti, 1997)
Unlike economic standpoint, Anthropology reveals qualitative point of view regarding the information about peoples, communities, as well as their institutions and prevailing values. Administrative data, legal procedures, as well financial progress reports from different countries can be easily accessed as they are subject to massive publication the internet nowadays. On the contrary, the accurate information about society, social culture, habits, and local values in the host country where individual Multinational Companies will be based, could not be attained that easy. Since today’s business has to deal with political and cultural values to establish stable foothold in market, ignoring such differences will result in a serious errors of company’s operation. Even if the relative concern is taken into account, a mistake might still occur in understanding the prevailing social system and cultural environment. In this regards, cultural awareness and intercultural skill are smoothing a must for international business to pa attention. And there two areas are the domain of Anthropologist to play their irreplaceable roles accordingly.
In terms of business interest, Anthropology can be applied in two ways; first, hiring the specific body providing the anthropological service and support, such as Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), second, bringing the Anthropologists to the board of Management to supply the information about anthropological public domain, and third, employing individual anthropologists as permanent in-house experts, just as what United Nations, the World Bank, or ABD does.
As hiring the professional support from NGOs or similar bodies is usually conducted for temporary purpose, as foreign direct investment from MNCs has to provide the study of appropriateness for the establishment of industry in the host country. Applied anthropologists have to carry out the research to study about the possible impact of investment toward the surrounding society in terms of their health, social constructions, economic gains, up to the possibility of closing factory that will impact the reduction of social welfare and its consequences. The final result is expected to be resulting in the conviction of local government officers to approve the investment of MNCs. (Bodley, Encarta Microsoft Students, 2008)
The second option implies the direct involvement of Anthropologists as part of the Board of Management for the companies. The primary responsibilities will be dealing with different cultural environment of where manufacturers of international businesses are or will be based. Pre-research about local inhabitants, traditions, social economy, social values, as well as influential institutions whereby people carry out their day-to-day activities will be beneficial for the company to avoid any emerging resistance towards unintended corporate misconducts. Corporate Social Responsibility programs therefore can be designed to meet the social preference of community to support the existence of company’s operation.
The third option where individual Anthropologists can dedicate their expertise is by becoming in house experts whose responsibility is to train and coach the business executive and operators. The competency of Anthropologists with a few theoretical frameworks will help equip individual officer to carry better their functions. Anthropological marketing for instance, helps provide market and consumer behavior analysis through observation of approach and service differences, acceptability, consumption patters across social segment, cultural groups-sex-gender, income, profession, etc-. Intercultural communication and advertising presented by anthropological standpoint will help reveal relationship management and negotiation among organizations where different cultures, ethnic belongings, and social systems, as well as communication strategies can be set up appropriately to meet the market interest.
The remaining sub-fields of anthropology, not to neglect the fact of academic orientation, will be challenged with their existence business world. However, the optimism remains still since the principal advance of National Geography with the help of her anthropologists discover amazing TV show for audiences worldwide. Other evolving business sectors, such as TV News & Growing online Medias, Tour Guide for Archeological Heritage, broadly opens opportunities whereby individual Anthropologists could show off typical specialization on their interdisciplinary major.
Applied Anthropology remains to be a demand for global industries, especially leading enterprises with base on different culture background. Regarding with the development of industrial sectors of business, applicable outcome of academic learning process has, like or dislike, to be adjusted to the corporate interest. Assuming that culture is not by product and subject to change, Anthropological points of view have to be developed in line with the demand of today’s business. Yet, this will not be an absolute choice whereby few thousands of Schools of Anthropology graduates can make a living nowadays. They always have an opportunity to build a new business industry whether it is based on their own discipline or beyond the academic ground they major. Going with the first option will be another pride of anthropologists to keep the study revive amidst its looming future, while going for the second, may be similar to what many graduates have done with their ‘toxic’ involvement in the growing today’s businesses in the internet.