The Challenges of Power in Practice: A Storytelling Session

The Challenges of Power in Practice: A Storytelling Session

Panel Participants

  • Natalie Hanson, SAP  (Organizer & Chair)
  • Inga Treitler, The TerraNova Group
  • Melissa Fisher, The Insight Works, Inc.
  • Martin Ortleib, Sapient Corporation

Panel Abstract

Research in a corporate setting is competitive – driven by the bottom line.  But when we research anthropologists are brought onto teams, we continue to assume we can behave as we did in our academic days – sharing and exchanging ideas.  We quickly discover that there are vast constraints on how and what we share with our intellectual peers outside the firm.  These constraints undermine our own intellectual growth and curtail the flow of knowledge back to the discipline.

As experienced as we anthropologists are at studying disparities of power, we do not often turn that gaze on ourselves (individually or as a discipline).  Are we disempowered, or just inexperienced?  What are the implications when we learn that our contractual arrangement does not allow us to analyze and publish our research?  How do we respond when we hear our own ideas used by colleagues without attribution?  Can we learn to communicate our perspectives clearly and with power, without losing our audiences through dense jargon?  Academic and field training do not prepare us for these challenges directly.

The purpose of this panel is to reveal through anecdote what these struggles can look like and to elicit comment and discussion with the audience.  We hope that an outcome of this discussion will be a savvier group of anthropologists with a growing understanding of challenges involved in conducting research within a corporate setting.

The presentation

Is available on Slideshare:

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