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The ISBF Blog

Studying Sociology as a Subject in a Management Degree?-The ISBF Gazette_Issue IX

Posted on June 19, 2018 by Prof. Aryapriya Ganguli  | Blog | Teaching

LSE's motto is rerum cognoscere extent to which Sociology lies at the and also how causes which means 'to know the very core of the trio of business, they relate to their peers and subalcauses of things'. You should not be finance and management, reinforcing terns. This comes about through an content with simplistic explanations – my faith in my vocation. I started to excellent blend of theory and practical you should always look beneath the see how knowledge of Weber's applications that the Sociology course explanations for a deeper under- formulations on bureaucracy was offers. It also prompts the discovery of standing of the social world- that's invaluable to understand how alternative discourses in business and what the motto connotes. Sociology organisations operate; my familiarity management – for example 'green is one discipline that holds this motto with gender theory helped me make capitalism', 'industrial ecology' and the rather close to its heart. This brief sense of the persistence of the glass- 'cradle to cradle' concept. All of this note will try to tell you how. ceiling syndrome in organisations; stems from the primeval urge that Many are familiar with the popular my knowledge of globalisation theory Sociologists seem to possess- they health warning for students studying proved extremely useful to grasp the pride themselves on asking “unasked Sociology – if you take this subject organisational changes arising from questions”. you will never see things in the same increased integration of the global Why are so few women in senior light again! This course module has economy. management positions? Why is been and continues to be one of the In a nutshell, sociological knowledge sexual harassment in the workplace most popular options in the BSc has been and will continue to be an often ignored or covered up? How is Business & Management Degrees ideal complement to management language used in management as a offered at ISBF from the University of studies, as it highlights the complexi- political weapon? Why is it that there London with academic direction from ties, ambiguities and paradoxes of is so much resistance in businesses the London School of Economics management, and invites students to circles to the notion of environmental (LSE), precisely because it challenges go beyond conventional prescriptive sustainability? Why has globalisation students and lecturers alike to think, approaches that over-simplify the not benefited all nations in the world? analyse, criticise and argue. managerial experience. Sociological Why is it so hard to have real democThe course, with a strong grounding knowledge encourages openness to racy in capitalist societies? I have in the most influential sociological alternative perspectives constitutive found that questions posed from a theories and methods of social of the totality of human experience critical perspective push students out research, equips students with inside work organisations – perspec- of their comfort zones, encouraging knowledge of the social world, and tives that take into account both the them to become more inquisitive and the key ways it can be researched. managerial and the employees' sophisticated in their analyses of One of the most important things to perspectives- the dominant and the organisational/ financial/ manage remember is that sociology is more subaltern. This is one discipline that meant phenomena. than commonsense! You will be encourages, even forces students to Borrowing from Berger (1971), it can introduced to the subject of sociology appreciate that work organisations do be said that sociology exists in and will be encouraged to think how not exist in a socio-historical vacuum, management schools as a 'form of different it is from other social but are products of specific historical consciousness' that 'looks for levels of sciences that you may have studied. conditions; that work organisations reality other than those given in the are not static but are constantly (and official interpretations of society'. However, it does not stop there. If you actively) transformed by human This manifests itself in lectures that have been wondering how any of this beings, and that human behaviour in try to go off the beaten track, as is relevant to a career in Economics, organisational settings is fluid, students realise that the production Finance, Management, Business complex, and often contradictory. of knowledge is not flowing from the Studies and the like, allow me to allay your frayed nerves. With my background in academic teacher to the student, but rather, Sociology, I once held a rather from the student to the teacher, and When I first joined the Indian School stereotyped view that critical thinking from student to student. It is this of Business and Finance a couple of dynamicity of the subject that equips years back, a colleague asked: 'What was incompatible with management on earth is a sociologist doing in a studies. From my erstwhile academic students studying Sociology in a school of business and finance?' For perspective, management studies Bus ines s , Management , and the first few weeks of employment I reinforced conventional, apolitical Economics Degree with an alterna- was not sure myself. Having been views of managers as 'rational' tive, yet often ignored, perspective trained in the sociological tradition of decision makers, and of management and an insightful understanding of challenging established values and as a purely technical activity. That has human behaviour, which would lay a dominant ideologies of modern changed for the better as I now strong foundation for their further society, I could not help but feel a bit acknowledge that through critical study in subjects as diverse as like 'the other'. thinking students gain a greater Market ing, Human Resource understanding of how business Management , Organisation However, I soon began to realise the analysts and managers alike exercise Behaviour.

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