Leading world corporations and PR agencies have recently declared active recruiting of humanities and social science scholars as a strategic objective. Experts in philosophy, sociology, psychology and cultural anthropology are of high demand. This trend provokes surprise and puzzlement among representatives of the Belarusian corporate world. We will try to explain the advantages of experts in humanities and why they are beginning to fill leading positions in modern innovative and consulting businesses.
Lecture of Damon Horowitz
"Quit your technology job and get a humanities PhD"
Let’s start with key characteristics that define experts in humanities according to western employers:
Ability to analyze and rationalize;
Capacity to define different positions and find a common language;
Strong public speaking skills, clear and convincing writing;
Ability to analyze a given problem from different perspectives, generate ideas and find creative solutions;
Ability to forecast trends and analyze both local and global cultural environments.
In fact, creative thinking and the ability to solve problems in any professional field are the basis of professional success and personal satisfaction. These skills can also be developed by other disciplines, such as mathematics. What is so unique about a high quality degree in humanities? Humanity scholars have deeper knowledge and expertise in understanding humans, society and culture – fields where business innovations originate today.
Studying humanities and social sciences not only improves our understanding of different cultures and social groups, but also contributes to the development of one’s worldview. A multidisciplinary degree in humanities provides one with skills of creative thinking, deep understanding of processes happening in today’s world, and motivation to challenge existing understandings of what is “normal” and “natural” through observing and analyzing multiple human experiences.
Human social life is one of the most complicated phenomena. Social situations, beliefs and practices are often incredibly complex and multidimensional. Such disciplines as philosophy and cultural anthropology give us an opportunity to understand and acknowledge this complexity without any simplification.
Humanitarian skill sets include not only a general understanding of the world, but also specific practical tools. Recent much talked-of research that studied Canon and Nikon users came to the conclusion that technical and managerial thinkers are not able to understand how real tribal communities around certain products are formed. Only thoughtful and thorough socio-humanitarian analysis of such connections and mechanisms, which allow clients to add additional value to their relationships with a brand, can help companies build personal and meaningful communications.
Understanding customer practices and motivations is another important characteristic of humanitarians. According to legendary consultant Lars Perner, “Understanding customer behavior is a key factor in building quality public relations.” Knowing how customers use products and the influence these products have on their daily lives, companies can build effective public relations and marketing communications programs.
Humanitarian specialists understand cultural settings of society and can share this knowledge with businesses. Not knowing values and behavioral practices within a company’s community makes it impossible to build a successful business. Working with meaning, understanding of socio-cultural relations, and models of behavior and perception allow humanitarians to generate new meanings easily, invent contexts and stories, and change perception models. All of these instruments are of crucial importance when building successful communicative and innovative activities within companies and organizations.