Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Business, Politics, and Communciations Media

Why should businessmen and women keep tabs on politics and the media? Because the way the two interact shapes business. Because context matters. Because an understanding of the political and cultural context of business takes expert-knowledge rather than gut-instinct.

First, the climate in which businessmen and women operate from the top to the bottom is shaped by the workings not only of politics in the sense of parties and campaigns, but of social power more generally: who gets to shape laws and policy and norms conducive to whose interests?

Second, both business and politics take place in a context of ubiquitous communications media. Not just political channels like Fox News and business channels like CNBC, but mass media and popular culture more broadly. Not to mention print media, internet, and blogs that can be accessed on telephones. Communication is a structural fact of society like never before.

The way that economic organizations interact with political order and with communications media creates the structure of our society.

Politically powerful organizations have economic and foreign policy plans that people shape by communicating with them through media. The success of any organization depends on how well it communicates with others.

No matter the economic interests we might hold, the study of these interactions within society -- sociology -- is crucial to a firm basis of knowledge and intellectual confidence. Organizations need the expert knowledge that sociology can provide.

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