National Association for the Practice of Anthropology
Oral Presentation Session
As companies seek to gain a competitive edge by applying anthropological methods to understand their consumers’ connection to products, they might be best served to use our thoughts and praxis to look inward at the culture of their organization. One of the challenges of doing business anthropology is bringing cultural analysis into organizations and encouraging businesses to reflect on themselves. Using critical reflexivity can help organizations challenge their cultural assumptions about products, consumers and markets and uncover new opportunities. The purpose of this presentation is to demonstrate how the culture at a global supplier of home repair products is discoverable in its products. Using the theoretical framework of mythology and symbolism, this presentation examines how the parallel investigation of organizational study and consumer research informed the analysis of declining flapper sales. To understand the product as a mirrored reflection of the strengths and dysfunctions of an organization can contribute to a more holistic assessment. This dual approach can provide the opportunity to offer actionable recommendations to product design and messaging and also be a pipeline for organizational change.