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“Breaking Down a Corporate Culture: Ethnography Meets McKinsey”

As part of the Applying Anthropology to Real World Problems lecture series, the Department of Anthropology at Case Western Reserve University will host an event titled “Breaking Down a Corporate Culture: Ethnography Meets McKinsey” with Elizabeth K. Briody Wednesday, April 13, from 3 to 4 p.m., via Zoom.

Briody is founder and principal of Cultural Keys LLC. In 2017, she began a collaborative project to document the evolving culture of a large, Middle Eastern petrochemical firm. The project involved a team of five business anthropologists and four professionals from McKinsey & Company.

During the lecture, Briody will discuss two key areas of focus from this work: 

  1. Content: identifying the strikingly similar themes and patterns in the firm’s Dutch and American operations, and 
  2. Process: negotiating with the McKinsey colleagues about collecting and analyzing data, including the use of a study-participant drawing technique she was in the process of perfecting. The “silo” emerged as a helpful metaphor as the team sought to understand the broader cultural context including its structure and dynamics. The team’s recommendations were designed to penetrate those silo “walls” and enhance overall organizational performance.

The lecture is free and open to the public. The Zoom link can be accessed on the Department of Anthropology’s website.

About the Applying Anthropology to Real World Problems lecture series

This lecture series is presented with the support of the Jonathan F. Plimpton Endowment Fund. The Applying Anthropology to Real World Problems Lecture, presented annually by the CWRU Department of Anthropology, highlights the value of anthropological theory and methods in solving real world problems, with a focus on applying these methods to business activities.