The Economist has an article on corporations hiring anthropologists to study their digital information ecologies.
NO ONE asks to see Steve Barnett's pith helmet anymore, which he views as a sign that the natives are now comfortable with his presence. Indeed, they appear to accept Dr Barnett, a pioneering business anthropologist, as one of their own—something that now holds true for corporate anthropologists in general. It was certainly not the case in 1979, the year Dr Barnett left academia to set up as an anthropological marketing-consultant. It was still not true in the late 1980s, when Xerox asked one of its resident anthropologists, Jeanette Blomberg, to don a pith helmet for a corporate photo.
A neat put-down:
when he was informed that IBM Research had hired Ms Blomberg as its first anthropologist in December 2002, Paul Saffo of the Institute for the Future exclaimed, “Just now? How embarrassing.”
(via National Academies)