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New Mexico State University

Sociological Advantage

Think Sociology when looking for...


Agencies and organizations look to sociologists for their unique ability to define the crucial dimensions of a problem, isolate the most critical variables that affect it, and collaborate with others to craft a viable course of action. Sociologists work inside organizations in management positions  from outside organizations as consultants and partners in rethinking how systems function. Sociologists hold positions in vittually every employment setting including:

  • Federal, state, and local governments
  • International agencies
  • Social service agencies, non-profit organizations
  • Corporations, think tanks, and small businesses
  • Consulting firms
  • Universities and Colleges


Sociologists help frame problems within a larger context, building on a strong foundation of concepts and theories. They combine their broad understanding of race, gender, social class, cultural diversity, and age with insights into how organizational and social systems work. This makes them uniquely valuable as objective researchers and innovative change agents.


Sociologists contribute to the contemporary workforce, bringing sophisticated skills and knowledge of research design to the most challenging problems. Sociologists receive broad training in basic social research, program evaluation or policy analysis. Some conduct basic research, while others apply research-based programs and strategies or plan for the future. "Quantitative" sociologists bring expertise in survey design, statistical analysis and management of large-scale data bases. "Qualitative" sociologists have been trained in intensive interviewing, focus group research, community research, conflict analysis, policy analysis, and social impact analysis. Both are adept at interpreting data and deriving implications of research for policy and program development. Familiarity with the latest computer programs and management of data bases rank high among sociologists' skills, including:

  • Quantitative and qualitative methodologies
  • Data analysis
  • Social impact assessment
  • Program evaluation
  • Focus group research
  • Mediation and arbitration
  • other applied skills

Sociologists use statistical analysis software to interpret complicated findings. They prepare reports to governing bodies, employees, the general public, or the media, using clear, accessible language.


Sociologists offer expertise in substantive areas--from families to deviance, from urban studies to social psychology--adding depth to research, planning and development of projects. Expertise in a specific subject may be of crucial importance to an employer.

Sociologists in the Workplace

The professional sociologist commands an impressive array of skills, knowledge and experience that can help solve coporate and organizational problems. In the workplace or organization, sociologists are prepared to respond to pivotal questions and situations.

Consider the following: 

Q: What direction should my company take?

The professional sociologist provides insights and sophisticated data analysis that can help you make decisions about your organization's future using strategic planning, trend analysis and forecasting, market analysis, demographics, populations projections, survey design and research, and intensive interviewing with staff and executives.

Q: How can I most effectively handle organizational change?

Sociologists pioneered the scientific analysis of complex organizations and have built a solid foundation of research findings, concepts, and theories that can help youset priorities during changing times. Whether you face restructuring, downsizing, or growth, professional sociologists provide services that enhance your ability to lead your organization: organizational analysis and design, leadership and management and resolution, group dynamics and team-building, conflict management and resolution, and analysis of workplace culture.

Q: What do my customers really want?

The professional sociologist offers expert analysis of customer profiles, attitudes, and preferences leading to the satisfaction of current or future customers or clients. Services could include market research and analysis, focus group research, demographic analysis, and intensive interviewing with clients.

Q: How can I increase productivity?

Because the professional sociologist understands how organizational systems and the inter-relationships among units can affect productivity, he or she can help you rethink how systems can be changed to improve efficient output of products, ideas, and services through task analysis and work reorganization, management training and staff development, employee motivation and benefits, team-building and conflict resolution, and management information systems.

Q: How can I manage diversity in the workplace?

Sociologists have conducted some of the most progressive research in the areas of cultural diversity, ethnic and race relations, gender relations, and inter-group conflict. They offer a rich understanding of these issues to help bridge differences in the contemporary workplace through on-site diversity workshops and seminars, conflict resolution and mediation techniques, revising organizational policies, updating organizational practices, leadership building, and retreat and conference facilitation.