Collaboration between Management and Anthropology Researchers: Obstacles and Opportunities
Format of Original
Academy of Management
Academy of Management Perspectives
Management scholarship is built on a foundation imported from older disciplines, particularly economics, psychology and sociology. Anthropology also once played an important role in the history of management thought, and currently includes many “practicing” anthropologists who work in the private sector. Yet it now has a demonstrably marginal influence. Why is this so? What is the potential for greater collaboration with anthropology? Pursuing these questions, we draw upon recent writings in applied, business, and practicing anthropology. On this basis, we identify eight properties of anthropology that affect the potential for collaboration. For each property, we consider the extent to which it presents obstacles for management scholars to work together with practicing anthropologists. We find that most impediments can be overcome, with patience and preparation, and offer suggestions for greater collaboration.