Turning Social Science Into a Business

Turning Social Science Into a Business

In mid-2015, I was featured on the University College London Researchers about my time running my consultancy. Read more below about my career transition and how I use social science when working with not-for-profit organisations and businesses.

Dr Zuleyka Zevallos earned a PhD in Sociology from Swinburne University, Melbourne, where she remains an Adjunct Research Fellow. She currently runs her own business, Social Science Insights, a Research and Social Media Consultancy working with small to medium businesses, government, and not-for-profits who require social research, training and policy advice. She also provides research-driven social media content to help public education and health campaigns. Here Zuleyka shares her career journey, and offers tips to researchers thinking of moving out of academia.How did you move from studying for a PhD to starting your own consultancy?

After completing my PhD at the end of 2004, I continued to work as a lecturer. I left in 2006 because there was no job security in academia. I found it difficult to find full-time academic work in my field, but once I started looking in business and policy sectors, the job choices were surprisingly abundant. I’ve reflected on the fact that, at first, it was very disheartening to give up on my dream job in academia, but once I realised the multiple career possibilities in other industries, the decision to leave was empowering.

A career beyond academia leads to diverse experiences, and the work will likely take you to places you may not have expected. Having had little luck for months trying to get an academic job, I decided to apply for unconventional roles that sounded interesting. I received a number of different offers, which showed me how valuable my PhD degree was to non-academic employers. I took a job in federal government as a Social Scientist. I moved interstate to take the position. Within five years, I had led two interdisciplinary team projects working on social modeling and intercultural communication, and I also conducted research on a range of topics, from political violence to media analysis to the socio-economic outcomes of migrants and refugees. The role was varied so that I worked with many different clients, and I also attended conferences and published articles, which kept me engaged with my academic peers.

In late 2011, I decided to move back to my home state permanently. I worked as a Senior Analyst on an environmental health and safety investigation. I led a team of 23 researchers examining 30 years worth of reports and company data, as well as analysing interviews with 300 emergency service workers. We evaluated the connections between training and environmental practices, the chemicals used during exercises, and the high rate of cancer and other illnesses amongst emergency service workers.

After the investigation ended, I decided to set up my business. I had plenty of leadership experience, and had worked autonomously in setting up various projects in my previous roles, plus I had worked with many different client groups. Setting up the business required a lot of research, and I also took a business management course. I’ve been working as a consultant for the past couple of years.
Continue reading Turning Social Science Into a Business

How to Improve Ethics in your Workplace

Social science research shows that the public’s mistrust of corporate ethics is not a given. It exists because many businesses are perceived to only pay lip service to corporate responsibility.

Social scientists work with businesses to examine patterns of ethical attitudes and impact ethical behaviour.

We do this through research, such as surveys and interviews with all management and staff. In particular, we establish the types of employees vulnerable to ethics abuse, either by not being adequately protected or educated about their rights and responsibilities.We then put in place a plan for ethical change.

Read more: Social Science Insights.

How Social Science Can Improve Executive Relationships

French researcher Jacqueline Fendt argues that academic research on businesses is not practical enough in its focus. She argues that management education would be improved with a stronger focus on the everyday realities of Executives.

She also advocates using more qualitative research methods and case studies, rather than statistical surveys. This would improve in-depth understanding of how management is actually carried out in the real world. So how do social scientists carry out this type of work? One method we use is called ethnography.

Read more on Social Science Insights.

[Image: photo of the sky with the quote: Business can affect positive social change by using social science.]

In mid-2015, I was featured on the University College London Researchers website about my time running my consultancy. I write about my career transition and how I use social science when working with not-for-profit organisations and businesses.

A career beyond academia leads to diverse experiences, and the work will likely take you to places you may not have expected.

Read more: Social Science Insights.

Business leaders who are not very active online are often put off by the idea of being trolled. This reticence then leads them to shy away from having a strong social media presence. There are different schools of thought about how to manage online abuse.

Tips on how to manage a social science blog professionally on Social Science Insights: http://ift.tt/2gqpRBL

Incivility at Work

Psychologists find that experiencing rudeness at work from customers and colleagues increases absenteeism and decreases sales performance. That doesn’t mean that managers can’t step in and improve things. Psychologist Michael Leiter says:

“A big part of the intervention is just to get people to talk about their relationships rather than just getting ticked off with people and complaining to their friends… That’s part of your professional responsibility: to maintain good working relationships just like you maintain equipment and report breakdowns… You don’t have to wait until people get cynical or quit in disgust; it’s something management can do something about.”

Image: @SocialScienceIn on Instagram. http://ift.tt/1utkzaB

Social science research finds that women manage their teams in ways that are supportive and team-orientated, but…

Social science research finds that women manage their teams in ways that are supportive and team-orientated, but their male bosses often perceive women’s management style as weak or indecisive. On my blog, I provide a list of useful steps that Executives can use to improve their management structure as well their innovation through women’s leadership.

Read more on my blog: http://buff.ly/1s5usoW #socialscience #business #women #entrepreneurship #startups #sociology

Research shows that around 40% of Australians do some form of volunteering.

Research shows that around 40% of Australians do some form of volunteering. Volunteering is a great way for individuals to improve their communities but there are additional benefits for employers. This includes the social ties that volunteers gain, as well as the new skills they learn, including communication with broader members of the public.

Head to our blog to learn more about why volunteering is an asset that more businesses should support: http://buff.ly/1nkZk0v

#socialscience #sociology #volunteering #notforprofit #business #entrepreneurship

Studies show that most employees are unhappy with the way they’re under-utilised at work, and they lack trust in…

Studies show that most employees are unhappy with the way they’re under-utilised at work, and they lack trust in their organisations. Yet with an ageing workforce on the rise, people feel increasingly pressured to delay their retirement. On my blog, I show how social science can help managers and employers improve their workplace relations and increase worker satisfaction, which in turn boosts productivity.

Read more: http://buff.ly/1nkZh4z

Photo: Photo by JD Hancock via Flickr. #socialscience #sociology #work #business #entrepreneurship #happiness #socialpolicy

Corporate culture stigmatises mental illness & risks executive liability. In a 2012 Chartered Secretaries Australia study of 300 ASX listed companies, the researchers found that 40% of participants did not see mental health issues as a risk to their organisation. The study suggests corporate culture & policies need to change

Image: @SocialScienceIn on Instagram. http://ift.tt/1KnFJKT