Minor In Workplace Studies

Workplace studies involves the investigation of social order as an emergent property of situated interactions. Workplace studies is rooted in the sociological investigation of how people go about the construction of social order and group membership through their everyday activities. Students receiving a minor in workplace studies will acquire the skills of ethnographic investigation and analysis of interaction, and will understand how the “work” of the workplace and society are accomplished.

Workplace studies examine the intricacies of how work is actually done on a daily basis that formal descriptions of work do not capture because they vary from place to place. Understanding the situated nature of work is an essential part of the process of designing and improving systems of work. Rather than relaying on explicit depictions rendered through manuals, rules, narrative descriptions, processes, and other secondary representations, research in the domain of workplace studies examines work at the location in which it occurs. Studies of workplace practices have occurred across a variety of work settings, including laboratories, museums, law offices, NASA, court rooms, medical settings, air traffic control towers, train control stations, globally distributed work teams, software design, and many others. The aim is to achieve an understanding of the everyday activities that occur in workplace settings as people interact with one another, with technology, and with other artifacts of the workplace in the course of conducting their work. Such studies have led to breakthroughs in terms of our understanding of how work is done. For example, software designers, by focusing on the actual ways in which tasks are performed rather than formal descriptions of work, are able to design programs more adequately suited to support the activities of users.

A minor in workplace studies requires:

  1. Choose three of the following five courses

    SO 242  Trust in Modern Society
    SO 263  Sociology of Work & Organizations
    SO 264  Technology, Society, and Work
    SO 265  Talk at Work
    SO 320  Immigrant Entrepreneurship

  2. One Elective Course (including any courses from the list above)

    SO 241  Diversity, Minorities and Social Interaction
    SO 271  Self and Society
    SO 299  Talk in Medical Settings
    SO 333  Sociology of the Edge
    SO 401  Directed Study (with suitable topic and approval of Minor Adviser)

Courses satisfying the requirements for the workplace studies minor must be drawn from humanities/social science, arts and sciences and/or unrestricted electives only. Courses may not be used for both the behavioral science general education required course AND the minor. Courses from other departments will be considered by the minor coordinator.

All minors must be declared via MyBentley and approved by the coordinator.