Psychologists and Other Social Scientists Fill Positions at Top Business Schools

By: Jenna Savage

Psychologists and other social scientists have been turning to business colleges for teaching positions, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports. Top business schools like Yale School of Management and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management hire social scientists to broaden research and cover shortages of business instructors. The goal is for these social scientists to apply their scholarship to the field of business, and thereby make it into a more relevant and interdisciplinary subject.

This trend has proven beneficial for social scientists with degrees in areas like psychology, sociology, and economics, because it gives them the opportunity to explore other research interests, like the psychological aspects behind market trends and the factors that fuel consumer responses to certain products. It also provides social scientists with broader career options in a time where the academic job market is uncertain.

To aid the transition of nonbusiness doctorate-holders into business schools, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business provides a training program that addresses how to teach in business and management schools. Participants learn how to bridge the gap between their social science degrees and the field of business, and can seek employment as business instructors upon completion of their training.

However, completing the training program does not guarantee a teaching position within business schools. In fact, some social scientists may struggle with finding a position, if they do not have a degree in their business field of choice. Ultimately, whether or not a social scientist will find employment within a business school depends on their experience and the school itself. Top business schools seem to be more interested in hiring social scientists than other schools, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports, but have strict requirements for candidates to fulfill.

Even social scientists employed within business and management schools face some challenges. For instance, teaching experienced business students is a learning process for individuals who only have experience teaching social science students. Instructors must also learn how to broaden their research interests to include a more multidisciplinary approach to their studies.

Despite such challenges, psychologists and other social scientists have responded to their new positions as business and management instructors positively. The Chronicle of Higher Education quotes Adam D. Galinsky, a professor of ethics and decision in management at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, as saying that being exposed to multiple disciplines, like political science and economics, has changed the way he thinks — for the better.