Why are the social sciences important for caring leadership? (5 min read)

As we moved towards a service industry that’s focused on customer service and not just production, the involvement of other social sciences along with economics in business started becoming essential for the progress of our civilization. As a refresher, social sciences refer to fields of the study of human society and societal relationships. Some of these fields include sociology, anthropology, economics, political science, psychology, etc.

However, do we really learn enough and do we practice the fundamentals of social studies enough to fully enable the progress and success for ourselves and our society?

Social sciences are meant to provide necessary tools for better understanding the people around us making them more productive and successful. In business terms, if the consumer, client, or colleague is satisfied in the end, then that’s a job well done.

My push here for social sciences is influenced by a new rise of business ethic that is said to slowly replace traditional industrialism and capitalism: talentism (see source 1 below). Talentism envisions a world where a business’ main function is one that is designed for the people it employs alongside benefiting its consumers. Talentism enables individuals to understand themselves before entering their world of business by identifying their purpose, talent, and opportunities first. The difference between talentism and traditional capitalism is that talentism demands that you know your individual talents so that you can invest in yourself, whereas capitalism focuses only on production and finances.

Why the sudden shift from capitalism to talentism? Because we are now in the technology progressive stage – the Digital Age, where technology has advanced to the point of AI (Artificial Intelligence) like controlling robots via brainwaves and gestures, sensing people’s pose through walls, face recognition, working with Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri like your full assistant. And while digital technology will dominate many of the fields of work, it will push for the need of human will, talent, and capital – something that AI and robots won’t ever be able to dominate. Talentism will allow for greater way into the democratization of opportunity, where everyone will be able to progress based on their talents and not just their affordability and finances.

After surveying 400 C-level executives from U.S. companies (see source 2 below), researchers found that companies that adopted new capabilities to be more responsive to changing customer preferences and innovative would not only thrive but would be 3x more likely to achieve above-average revenue and profit growth. In fact, researched companies that will fail to maintain customer relevance and fail to foster a culture that sought to better customer experiences are at risk to lose $1 trillion in potential revenue. They need more customer relevant offerings, to obtain this potential amount. The potential loss in revenue is a result of a lack of understanding of the customer and identifying what is truly relevant to them.

Knowing this allows us to answer why the social sciences are important for caring leadership – because you need to know your and others’ talents so that you can invest in yourself and others’ future. And what better way to begin to understand yourself and others than through the learning and education from the social sciences? As sociology provides an in-depth gender, race, and class analyses it will let you know your opportunities through the lens of identity and how to greater advance them as well as other people. Knowing the fundamentals from anthropology will give you the power to understand ethnicities and culture, whether it be the culture of a country or a work environment. When you know yourself, you have greater credibility to help others know themselves. And as a caring leader, the goal is to ensure an environment that welcomes growth of the individual and the company.

With talentism concept on the rise and the technology progress bringing more decision-making roles to our society, caring leadership coupled with fundamental knowledge of social sciences is no longer optional. It essential for unleashing human potential.

Go ahead and challenge yourself with learning social science fundamentals!

1 Talentism, http://www.talentism.com/company/

2 Living Business, Accenture, June 19, 2018  https://newsroom.accenture.com/news/1-trillion-at-risk-for-companies-that-fail-to-maintain-customer-relevance.htm