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2015/2016  BA-BHAAI1048U  Business Anthropology and Organizational Fieldwork

English Title
Business Anthropology and Organizational Fieldwork

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Bachelor
Duration Summer
Start time of the course Summer
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for BSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Course instructor - Dr Ginger Grant, Sheridan Institute of Technology
    Patricia Plackett - MPP
Main academic disciplines
  • Intercultural studies
  • Management
  • Organisational behaviour
Last updated on 10/08/2017
Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors:
  • Describe the importance of an interdisciplinary lens in analyzing an increasingly global business context.
  • Demonstrate a broad comprehension of concepts, theories, models and frameworks necessary to analyze the relations between different cultures when addressing ethical dilemmas.
  • Synthesize data through intense interaction between the researcher and the field.
  • Discuss the evolution of participant observation, informal interviews and semi-structured interviews in light of the increasing level of globalization of business.
  • Recognize and describe cultural platforms, interpret nuanced metaphors and set cognitive frameworks in a cross-cultural context.
  • Describe the growing importance of cyber-ethnography and the mapping of social networks, content analysis, behavioural profiles and socio-demographics.
Course prerequisites
No prerequisites.
Prerequisites for registering for the exam
Number of mandatory activities: 1
Compulsory assignments (assessed approved/not approved)
Mandatory Mid-term Assignment: Assignment involving student groups working on the construction of a digital story with group presentations in Class 6.
Business anthropology and organizational fieldwork:
Exam ECTS 7.5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Assignment type Written assignment
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Summer
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content and structure

Students are introduced to the practice of applying anthropological theories and organizational fieldwork methods in creative problem-solving activities for private and public sector organizations. The course will explore two new fronts in business administration: (1) human capital and organizational management and (2) the use of anthropological and ethnographical methodologies in organizations. Tools such as digital storytelling, gamfication, psychographics, organizational analysis, espoused values mapping, participant observation, cyber-ethnography (mapping social networks), communication channels and personal and collective values within an organization will be examined. Discussions will center on the ability of business anthropology to provide an alternative voice to the prevailing marketing, psychological and economic discourses in the world of business as well as the examination of the internet as a tool of transformation and social innovation. How do we embrace productive tensions in cross-disciplinary communication? How might business anthropology serve as a conduit for social change innovation? And most importantly, how can such a deeper understanding of business anthropology drive strategy for a sustainable future?


The Preliminary Assignment will involve review of one of a group of on-line videos and the preparation of a short commentary for discussion in Class 1. The Mandatory Mid-term Assignment will require students to work in groups to produce a digital story that will be presented in Class 6.





Class 1


Preliminary Assignment. What does Anthropology have to teach business? Setting the stage – storytelling, development of a story arc, how to storyboard, digital storytelling tools (free to students)


Class 2


Working with story as a tool for transformation


Class 3


Combined fieldwork methods


Class 4


Context-Sensitive and Actor-Centered Analysis


Class 5


Ethics and Meaning Making


Class 6


Mandatory Mid-term Assignment – Digital Story Presentation


Class 7


Analyzing Corporate Culture


Class 8


Corporate Culture Audits


Class 9


Social Innovation and Phronesis in Corporate Culture


Class 10


Creative Strategy, Gamification and Transmedia Analysis


Class 11


Organizational Meaning; Comprehensive Review

Teaching methods
Lectures, seminars, guest lectures, discussions and presentations. Students are expected to be active participants in the learning experience as opposed to passive receptacles for information. The importance of clear and concise written and verbal communication will be stressed throughout the course. In addition to the material covered in the texts, students will develop hands-on skills in analysis, participant observation, group dynamics and formal business presentations.
Further Information

Preliminary Assignment: To help students get maximum value from ISUP courses, instructors provide a reading or a small number of readings or video clips to be read or viewed before the start of classes with a related task scheduled for class 1 in order to 'jump-start' the learning process.


The timetable is available on http://www.cbs.dk/uddannelse/summer-university-programme/courses.

Expected literature

Text: Jones, Matthew. Researching Organizations: The Practice of Organizational Fieldwork. (2014). London: Sage Publications (215 p).



Alvesson, M. (1990). On the Popularity of Organizational Culture. Acta Sociologica. Vol. 33(1): 31-49 (18 pages).


Baba, Marietta. (2012). Anthropology and Business: Influence and Interests. Journal of Business Anthropology. JBA 1(1): 20-71 (51 pages)


Bainton, Barry. (2012). Applied Ethics: Anthropology and Business. International Journal of Business Anthropology 3.1. pp. 114-133. (19 pages).


Barker, R. and Gower, K. (2010). Strategic Application of Storytelling in Organizations. Journal of Business Communication. Vol. 47(3): pp. 295-312. (17 pages).


Beckman, S. and Barry, M. (2009). Design and Innovation through Storytelling. International Journal of Innovation Science. Vol. 1(4). pp. 151-160. (9 pages).


Bate, S.P. (1997). Whatever Happened to Organizational Anthropology? A Review of the Field of Organizational Ethnography and Anthropological Studies. Human Relations. Vol. 50(9): pp. 1147 – 1175.

(28 pages).


Briody, E. et al (2013). Opinions: Ethnographic Methods in the Study of Business.  Journal of Business Anthropology. JBA 2(2): 133-167 (34 pages)


Bokeno, R. (2003). The work of Chris Argyris as critical organization practice. Journal of Organizational Change Management. Vol. 16(6): 633-649 (16 pages).


Davenport, G. and Mazalek, A. (2003). Dynamics of Creativity and Technological Innovation. Digital Creativity. Vol. 15(1). pp 21-31. (10 pages).


Feldman, Steven. (1990). Stories as Cultural Creativity: On the Relation between Symbolism and Politics in Organizational Change. Human Relations. Vol. 43:9): pp. 809-828. (19 pages).


Gallenga, Ghislaine. (2013). Elements of Reflexive Anthropology in Three Fieldwork Studies of the Workplace. Journal of Business Anthropology. JBA: 2(2): 187 – 208 (21 pages).


Kozinets, R. et al (2008). The Wisdom of Consumer Crowds: Collective Innovation in the Age of Networked Marketing. Journal of Macromarketing. Vol. 28: pp. 339 – 354. (15 pages).


Lambrechts, F. et al. (2011). Learning to Help Through Humble Inquiry and Implications for Management Research, Practice, and Education: An Interview with Edgar H. Schein. Academy of Management Learning & Education. Vol. 10(1). pp 131-147 (16 pages)


Lee, S.K. and Yu, K. (2004). Corporate Culture and Organizational Performance. Journal of Managerial Psychology. Vol. 19(4): 340-359 (19 pages).


Nonaka, I. and Konno, N. (1998). The Concept of “Ba”: Building a Foundation for Knowledge Creation. California Management Review. Vol. 40(3): pp. 40 – 54. (14 pages).


Nonaka, I. and Toyama, R. (2007). Strategic Management as distributed practical wisdom (phronesis). Industrial and Corporate Change. Vol. 16(3): pp. 371-394 (23 pages).


Schein, E. (1996). Three Cultures of Management: The Key to Organizational Learning. Sloan Management Review. Vol 38(1): pp. 9-20 (11 pages).


--- (1996). Culture. The Missing Concept in Organizational Studies. Administrative Science Quarterly. Vol. 41(2): pp. 229-240 (11 pages).


Taylor, J. and Carroll, J. (2010). Corporate Culture Narratives as the Performance of Organisational Meaning. Qualitative Research Journal.  Vol. 10(1): 28-39 (11 pages).


Zackariasson, P. et al. (2006). Phronesis and Creativity: Knowledge Work in Video Game Development. Creativity and Innovation Management. Vol. 15(4): pp. 419 – 429. (10 pages).

Last updated on 10/08/2017