IUAES logoIUAES

Home - Newsletters - 070

Newsletter 70

April 2008

  1. Proposal for Changes in the IUAES to be discussed in Kunming
    By Peter J.M. Nas
  2. Call for Proposals to Host the Congress in 2013 and Inter-congresses
    By Peter J.M. Nas
  3. Call for Verification of Permanent Council National Delegations
    By Peter J.M. Nas
  4. Call for Proposals for Honorary Members
    By Peter J.M. Nas
  5. Proposal for the Establishment of the IUAES Scientific Commission on Enterprise Anthropology
    By Zhang Jijiao
  6. IUAES Membership

1. Proposal for Changes in the IUAES to be discussed in Kunming

By Peter J.M. Nas

The following points have been put forward to be discussed within the Executive Committee at the Kunming Congress this summer. They have been divided into two sections, partially concerning the general organization of the IUAES and partially concerning the organization of the commissions.

General proposals:

  1. The re-instatement of a finance committee.
  2. A permanent domain name for the IUAES website.
  3. The introduction of an alert-service on the website.
  4. Participants in congresses and inter-congresses have to be member of the IUAES.

Proposals concerning the commissions:
  1. The instalment of websites for all of the commissions.
  2. The re-iteration of the separate commission’s fee of $100. This does not exempt participating members from their own individual membership fee.
  3. The formulation of regulations to ensure smooth transitions within the commissions’ administrative body.
  4. The evaluation of the three commissions that did not contribute to the book on commissions to be published at the Kunming Congress. These are the Commission on the Anthropology of Tourism, the Commission on Linguistic Anthropology and the Commission on Nomadic Peoples.

---------- Page Top ↑


2. Call for Proposals to Host the Congress in 2013 and Inter-congresses

By Peter J.M. Nas

During the Kunming Congress, a vote will be cast within the Permanent Council on the venue of the next congress, planned for 2013 and inter-congresses to be planned in between. This is an urgent call as no proposals have been received as of yet. For those who feel encouraged, they are requested to prepare a presentation for the Permanent Council meeting this summer. If more than one proposal is presented, a democratic vote will be held. For more information please contact Prof. Dr. Peter J.M. Nas at nas@fsw.leidenuniv.nl.

---------- Page Top ↑


3. Call for Verification of Permanent Council National Delegations

By Peter J.M. Nas

The list of Permanent Council national delegations is currently published on the IUAES website. Please can all those concerned, check and verify the available information. Should a change be required please contact Prof. Dr. Peter J.M. Nas at nas@fsw.leidenuniv.nl.

---------- Page Top ↑


4. Call for Proposals for Honorary Members

By Peter J.M. Nas

The IUAES has twenty places for Honorary Members, who enjoy a life-time membership. Some of these places are currently not filled. Should you be interested in nominating a candidate on grounds of outstanding contributions to scholarship, please prepare a short piece on their credentials. This is to be sent to Prof. Dr. Peter J.M. Nas at nas@fsw.leidenuniv.nl. Please note that it is not allowed to nominate a candidate from your own country.

---------- Page Top ↑


5. Proposal for the Establishment of the IUAES Scientific Commission on Enterprise Anthropology

By Zhang Jijiao

We are very excited about enterprise anthropology and consider it as a field, which will be testifying the value and role of anthropology in times of market globalization and will be employing many more anthropologists in the future. The IUAES needs to establish a new scientific commission, the Commission on Enterprise Anthropology, to organize the enterprise anthropologists around the world.

Enterprise must be a research target of anthropologists. Enterprise is not only a kind of economic organization, but also a kind of social and cultural organization. When anthropologists pay more attention to social and cultural diversity, they must not ignore diversified kinds of enterprises in our world. With the background of globalization and localization in different countries and areas, enterprises have a great impact on our economy, lifestyle, society and culture. At these times, anthropologists need to understand different impact levels of various enterprises (transnational companies, state-owned companies, and middle and small size companies), which are based on our knowledge of social organization from the past to the present.

Since the 1990s, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is not only a concept but also an important issue as it emerged in Europe, North America, South America, and the Asia-Pacific Region. There is as yet, no widely agreed definition of CSR. CSR is a globally applicable concept but its interpretation will vary from country to country, industry to industry and company to company because of differing local situations and differing demands of stakeholders in different locations and industries. It is clear that for many people CSR is very much part of a Western agenda. Nevertheless, in the Asia-Pacific region it would be wrong to assume that all CSR practices are less developed than in the West, and it is a topic of much discussion (even at government level) although some see something culturally specific about the implementation of CSR. Anthropologists value the economic sustainability of organizations as well as their environmental and social sustainability.

Consumer behaviour is the study of how people buy, what they buy, when they buy and why they buy. It blends elements from anthropology, psychology and sociology. Anthropology and consumer studies are two related academic fields in terms of theoretical and methodological traditions. However it is still in the developmental stage and more improvements should be made. In order to understand consumers and the choices consumers make, anthropologists must study a range of human responses, including, but not limited to, affective (feelings), cognitive (thoughts), and behavioural (actions) ones. All those human responses can be explored through participant-observation, a powerful anthropological approach that fits in the behavioural theories of learning.

Research has shown that failures in the overseas business setting most frequently result from an inability to understand and adapt to foreign ways of thinking and acting rather than from technical or professional incompetence. The world is changing faster than most of us can imagine. A healthy dialog between business anthropologists and members of the international business community will be an important step in achieving required understanding.

The IUAES needs to stimulate more research projects on enterprise anthropology in the modern market society by a new commission, the scientific Commission on Enterprise Anthropology.

Since the 1930s cultural anthropologists have conducted research in industrial and corporate settings, focusing largely on corporate cultures in the United States. For example, the human relations school of organizational research of the 1930s and 1940s produced a number of ethnographies showing how informal cultural patterns could influence managerial goals. More recent studies of corporate cultures have attempted to show how specific configurations of values contribute to the relative success or failure of meeting corporate goals. It has been estimated that approximately 15 percent of all anthropologists in the United States work in the private sector of the economy, up from about 2 percent just two decades ago. With their traditional emphasis on participant observation, business anthropologists are in unique position to gather information on grass-roots corporate culture from the bottom up. To illustrate, the Xerox Corporation used an anthropologist to help the company devise more effective training programs for their service technicians. In the past years, anthropologists have worked inside some of the leading manufacture and service companies in the world, including Arthur Andersen, Ford, General Motors, Hewlett Packard, Motorola, Nissan, Proctor & Gamble and Xerox. These firms have discovered that anthropology brings a unique understanding of human and cultural issues to their enterprises at home and abroad. At the same time, anthropologists are discovering that the doors of business and industry open onto many exciting field sites and important research questions, and that the anthropological perspective can make a significant contribution to corporate social responsibility and ethics. Many corporations look explicitly for anthropologists, recognizing the utility of their perspective on a corporate team. A corporate anthropologist working in market research might use targeted focus groups to examine consumer preference patterns not readily apparent through statistical or survey methods.

The use of anthropologists in corporate America is growing. Why does Microsoft Corp. employ at least seven anthropologists? (And it is looking to hire more.) Other companies that utilize anthropologists including General Motors, Pitney Bowes Inc. and Intel Corp. Corporations have utilized anthropologists in the past to study their customers and how their workers put products together. Anthropologists are used to help companies understand cultures in other countries, and they help different corporate ‘cultures’ or departments understand each other, too.

We think that in this global world in which we live, there is great need for anthropologists in organization structure, enterprise culture, corporate social responsibility, business consulting, globalization and international business, product design, marketing and consumer behaviour.

Recent research efforts in Enterprise Anthropology are concentrated in four broad areas:


The main fields of Enterprise Anthropology are the following: If the Commission on Enterprise Anthropology will be established, an annual newsletter called ‘Newsletter of Global Enterprise Anthropology’ would be published by the secretariat of the Commission on Enterprise Anthropology. Moreover, an annual conference will be organized in hosting countries. An independent website of Commission on Enterprise Anthropology will also be set up.

Chairpersons:
Prof. Dr. Zhang Jijiao and Prof. Dr. Peter J. M. Nas
Executive-Secretary and Editor Newsletter:
Associate Prof. Du Fachun

---------- Page Top ↑


6. IUAES Membership

We invite you to become a member of the IUAES.

Click here for information on membership.


©IUAES/Peter J.M. Nas