Social science helps to improve people’s lives by addressing health, education, business and other fields. In particular, it provides tools to measure social dynamics. That is, it provides insight about how societies and social relationships work. Social science integrates nature and the environment as well as individual will, the mind, and community relationships.
In order for humans to make progress in medicine, technology, entrepreneurship and in other spheres, we need to understand how people are influenced by different fields of science and the economy, as well as how they benefit from new and existing innovations.
Social scientists contribute to enhanced business, policy and communities by using a range of scientific research methodologies, such as surveys, interviews, case studies and statistical analyses.
In a government, community or business context, social scientists also use ethnography, a suite of observational tools to study individuals and groups interacting in their everyday lives, with the purpose of improving policies and procedures. Social science is also used in commercial settings, to track and improve outcomes and otherwise improve information and public campaigns.
Governments see that social science methods are highly useful in drafting social policy and to improve workplace practices. A survey by Jane Tinkler from the London School of Economics finds that 19% of USA policy makers use social science arguments daily in their work; a further 53% use social science a few times daily or at least monthly; and 21% said they use it at least once a year.
Social science helps local government enhance delivery of public health. This includes improving community wellbeing for Indigenous Australians through culturally relevant services and justice programs. For state government, social science can assist in program evaluation and environmental health and safety for state services.
At the national level, social science can address health policy issues such as work-life balance and better supporting family life and aged care. At the individual level, social science helps empower patients to take better care of their illnesses.
Social science assists executive governance and aids senior leaders to be more flexible when thinking about communication and workplace culture. Using social science consultancy, managers can open up conversations about mental health at work. Entrepreneurs can also examine social influences on their careers using social science research.
Social sciences are used to improve gender equity and diversity, so that leadership is more inclusive and makes the most of everyone’s skills. Social science also helps us think critically about what we take for granted, such as finding new ways to think about leadership and the role of empathy in organisations.
Social science research also examines customer services and makes recommendations to improve business culture, including through enhanced concentration and improve morale through more meaningful work. Social science is also used to review and enhance workplace procedures and policies, including hiring and promotions and programs for corporate good.
Social science is essential for organisations looking to be aware of their responsibilities when crafting their social media policies and management. Social science also supports organisations to use social media effectively within their teams.