Master of Arts in Anthropology: Business and Organizational

Business and organizational anthropology (BOA) applies the theories and methods of the discipline to problem-solving in both private and public sectors. By studying "business" (in its broadest sense) as a site for cultural insights, business anthropologists produce robust theory, extend debates on the ethics of applied anthropology, and generate transformative insights at the intersection of business, economy and the society.

Wayne State University's anthropology department is the oldest business and organizational anthropology program in the U.S. and is the only institution offering both M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in anthropology with a specialization in business and organizational anthropology. With rigorous training in anthropological theories and research methods, many of our graduates serve as researchers, consultants, and academics with strong analytical skills who can manage, evaluate, and interpret the large volume and depth of data on human behavior. Detroit's large industrial base and its revitalization movement with numerous innovative entrepreneurial activities, as well as grassroots initiatives, make WSU's anthropology program an exciting place to explore and pursue a field of expertise increasingly in demand within the global business world.

Masters of Arts in anthropology

With a MA training in BOA, students will be able to:

  • Employ anthropological theory and methods to solve business problems in sustainable and ethical ways.
  • Translate anthropological insights for application in diverse careers across private and public sectors.
  • Transfer graduate training into workplace skills that will make them competitive for jobs centered on understanding human behavior and cultural diversity.
  • Develop anthropological perspectives that question cultural assumptions, challenge institutional norms, and approach problems creatively in a global business environment.

View concentration requirements

Career and job prospects for business anthropology students

Business and organizational anthropologists work inside some of the leading manufacturing, technology, and service companies in the world, including Accenture, Adobe, Apple, Facebook, Ford Motor Company, Gemic, General Motors, Hewlett Packard, IBM, IDEO, Intel, Microsoft, Motorola, Netflix, Nissan, Procter & Gamble, ReD Associates, Spotify, Xerox, and J. Walter Thompson.

Graduates are trained to design research and use ethnography and qualitative research skills in career fields such as:

  • User Experience (UX) Research
  • Product Development and Workplace Design
  • Organizational Culture Change
  • Diversity and Inclusion Management
  • Consumer Experience Research and Analysis
  • Intercultural Communication and Global Business
  • Development and Policy Research

Learn more about careeer possibilities

Courses offered by business and organizational anthropology faculty

Students should refer to the GraduateĀ Bulletin for corresponding ANT course numbers.

  • Anthropology of Business
  • Ethnographies of Business and Work (old title: Anthropological Perspectives on Business)
  • Shop 'Til You Drop: Consumer Culture and Society
  • Globalization and Culture
  • Technology and Culture
  • Applied Anthropology
  • Economy and Culture (old title: Economic Anthropology)
  • Race and Capitalism
  • Organization, Management, and Social Justice
  • Gender and Work
  • Language and the Workplace

Research

Our department BOA faculty actively participate in research on globalization and consumption, corporate social responsibility, design anthropology, the food industry, global/international business, critical management studies, diversity and inclusion, critical race studies, studies of capitalism, gender and work, language in the workplace, and manufacturing and workplace reorganization.

Learn more about our research in business and organizational anthropology