What is sociology, and how is its application important to the business world of today? According to an article by the American Sociological Association (ASA), sociology “…is the scientific study of society, including patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture.”
The author further states, “…sociologists study all things human, from the interactions between two people to the complex relationships between nations or multinational corporations.”
From the above statements, it goes without saying that sociology is an important part of any business. We say this because, let’s face, the actual business transaction happens between people. Having a good understanding of human behavior based on your background in sociology helps you to grow your business in ways others can’t.
In other words, sociology can help business owners, marketers and managers to develop skills that come in handy whether you’re researching the market conditions, trying to improve your products/services, or looking to boost the morale of your team.
With that preamble, let us look at a couple of ways sociology helps businesses move forward in a world of different cultures, genders, religions and sexualities among other things.
4 Main Ways Sociology Helps You in Business
The following section covers ways you can leverage sociology to grow your business be it big or small. We hope you find a gem.
Richard Branson once said, “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” Coming from a businessman who owns more than 60 companies (under the Virgin Group), these words carry a lot of weight.
From firsthand experience, we’ve know for a fact that a happy employee is a valuable asset to have on your side. If you have disgruntled employees, you cannot expect an A1 performance. Obviously, unhappiness in the workplace breeds all manner of problems; problems that you can easily avoid with a background in sociology.
Sociology helps you to understand the cultural and social aspects that shape each member of your team. With this knowledge, you can avoid alienating staff members or hurting company loyalty. Sociology offers you an advantage when dealing with employees in the workplace.
Develop Analytical Thinking
Studying sociology helps you to develop or hone your analytical thinking skills. The study usually involves analyzing qualitative and quantitive data to figure out how various factors affect a population.
For this very reason, you can use the analytical skills you learn in sociology to better understand your target audience. It is the main reason today’s employers seek critical thinkers who are versatile in addressing complex challenges and why sociology degree holders can wok in a variety of settings, according to the University of Maryville.
As a matter of fact, sociologists have found a growing place in marketing teams. They use analytical methods of thinking to help businesses to research market data and draw beneficial conclusions from said data.
Identifying Market Opportunities
Businesses face a lot of competition on a daily basis. It is no secret that cutthroat competition can put you out of business.
It is also not secret that companies that adjust strategy according to viable market data overcome challenges and move forward.
But what has that have to do with sociology?
Well, sociology allows you to understand that certain conditions influence groups of people differently. For instance, those in business with a background in sociology will easily recognize opportunities created within a population even in the event of phenomena such as war, natural calamities or diseases.
Business owners without sociology backgrounds are likely to miss the opportunities that arise within a given population since they aren’t “in-touch” with the reality of things on the ground. More often than not, this type of business owners have a limited understanding of their customers, which is bad for any business.
Want to identify opportunities that your target audience present? Add a sociologist to you marketing team and thank me later.
Better Public Relations Management
According to Questia.com, public relations involves “…activities and policies used to create public interest in a person, idea, product, institution, or business establishment. By its nature, public relations is devoted to serving particular interests by presenting them to the public in the most favorable light.”
Going with the above definition, how do you expect to shine in public relations if you have no idea how to get through to your target audience? Remember, people’s behaviors are motivated by a number of factors including surrounding, cultural beliefs, religion and so on.
A sociology background will help you to identify the sociological factors that drive your customer base. With this information, you can then tune your public relations activities for best results. It goes without saying that certain actions by your business will affect your customers based on their cultural and economic backgrounds.
For instance, you cannot afford to make fun of people who don’t eat pork due to religious or cultural beliefs, even if they don’t make up a huge part of your customer base. But you will probably miss the mark completely with your public relations activities if you don’t understand your customer base, especially the things that drive their behaviors.
A degree in sociology is not required to be successful in business, and it’s unlikely you will pursue a sociology degree just to get an edge in business. Still, having someone with a background in sociology on your team will help you in ways never imagined before.
We hope this article pointed you in the right direction as you look to grow your business. Have questions or suggestions? Please share in the comment section at the end.
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