Draft 2 Interdisciplinary Studies with an Emphasis in Communication

1. Cole 1 Dustin R. Cole Instructor: Keith Fairchild IDS 400-Interdisciplinary Studies Senior Seminar (Independent Study) 2 July 2013 Why an Interdisciplinary Approach to…
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  • 1. Cole 1 Dustin R. Cole Instructor: Keith Fairchild IDS 400-Interdisciplinary Studies Senior Seminar (Independent Study) 2 July 2013 Why an Interdisciplinary Approach to Life Defines My Generation This paper supports the need for an interdisciplinary approach to our communication, education, organization, and culture that will ultimately define our (Generation X’s) future and its success. For Generation X and all others, the world has constantly changed, progressed, and become increasingly interconnected and interdependent. In order to advance or even survive in today’s environment, every person, group, family, business, and organization must remain flexible in dealing with the rapidly progressing and evolving world of diversity and communication. Today, everyone faces an unprecedented range of social, scientific, economic, cultural, environmental, political, and technological change. These changes can bring about organizational and interpersonal changes within our society, our cultures, our businesses, our families, and it can also impact individual behavior in ways that cannot be seen using a single discipline approach on a narrow area of life. Technological communication networks exchange information around the globe like never before, creating new forms of collaboration and transforming the nature of life and society’s communications. This means not in theory, but in action, that each of us must be against attempts to create a single or limited framework when considering human relations and communication. Communicating in an interdisciplinary-interrelated framework, like the successful global brands of today. The Apple Corporation or Apple Inc. is the crowning achievement in this type
  • 2. Cole 2 of interdisciplinary interrelated communication. Apple uses their brand, as the entire homeostasis to their operation and philosophy. Apple and I or the “iMe” are a product and development of the Generation X or the “Slacker Generation” that uses iconic branding as a philosophical way of life and being. The important benefits interdisciplinary activities and their applications in the precedent can be divided into personal, educational, professional, organizational, and cultural “obstacles” in life. On a daily basis, we deal with difficult issues and situations whether at work, school, home, or in public. In all these areas of life, the decisions we make result from either a broad or narrow perspective from which we arrive at our limited or diverse conclusion. Applying interdisciplinary ideas and backgrounds allows us to use different disciplines, merge their points of view, and solve complex issues. Evaluating issues from different standpoints and perspectives allows problem solvers to work through the problem and, ultimately, to see the bigger picture. In theory, thinking this way can help make tough decisions easier and offer solutions that not only solve issues but avoid future obstacles. Over two hundred years ago, progress in the form of the Industrial Revolution was the unparalleled course for progress and prosperity. The changes brought by the Industrial Revolution gave way to individual and social behavioral management movements, and emphasized a new need for the social sciences. In today’s modern organizations and their environment’s, we can see the need for requiring a unified purpose and perspective, as well as maintaining adaptability to constant or ongoing change; this requires a multidisciplinary approach. Organization’s today have changed their expectations, placing greater demands on employees and outsourced professionals, emphasizing skills and competency in a team approach
  • 3. Cole 3 to problem-solving. For example, in the work environment of sales and marketing, employees encounter a full spectrum of individuals with varying levels of expertise, whether its colleagues or customers. To succeed in this environment requires individuals with collaborative, flexible, and effective problem solving, goal sharing, decision making, and communication skills. This multidisciplinary skill set cannot be found or achieved in a single discipline approach. Effective communication deals with human and cultural development from an interdisciplinary studies approach. Most of our individual and cultural challenges and obstacles are best faced from an interdisciplinary perspective. An Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in Communications Major using the Generation X philosophy in our world of constant and increasing change has the key for successful change: the brand. Demonstrating an effective brand in today’s professional and personal life is essential to success. An effective brand requires an interdisciplinary foundation with impeccable and flexible communication skills to make harmonious and effective contributions to the world we live in. Never in history was this more evident and needed than in the beginning and during the Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution was the result of many fundamental, interrelated, interdisciplinary, and multifaceted changes that transformed our world as we know it. Productivity and efficiency grew rapidly through this new systematic application of interdisciplinary practice and knowledge to start the Industrial Revolution. These changes brought by the Industrial Revolution overturned traditional economies and societies. The changes also caused never before social changes and availability of diverse material goods, and the way we practiced business. The Industrial Revolution was the first step into modern economic growth, development, and way of life. The Industrial Revolution was called a revolution, because it changed society both meaningfully and promptly.
  • 4. Cole 4 The idea for the Industrial Revolution was formed during the Neolithic Revolution, which was in the Stone Age. Social systems that were based on hunting and gathering grew into complex communities that depended on agriculture and the subjugation of animals for this type of farming. This led to permanent settlements, which ultimately grew to our now known urban and rural interconnected civilization. The Industrial Revolution brought a shift from the agricultural societies created during the Neolithic Revolution or Stone Age to a modern interdisciplinary and multifaceted industrial society of progress. The Industrial Revolution also brought vast economic growth for many cultured societies in the time of the Renaissance. People could now enjoy prosperity and improved health, especially those in the middle and the upper classes of society. By the time of the Renaissance, society invented and used ever more complicated and cultured ways in which to live life. This era saw the invention and use of new modes of transportation and commerce; new methods of expression in art, literature, and music; improvements in education; and especially new forms of communication. These interdisciplinary based ideas, mechanisms, and inventions played a key role in the development and progress of the Industrial Revolution while encouraging those inventing, designing, building, and using them to continue the progress also launched some to great wealth and power. The Renaissance brought great wealth and power to the original Godfathers, the Medici family. No matter what you might think of the Medici’s cruel and manipulative way of doing business, they laid the foundation or drew the blueprint, for many of the corrupt global banks and corporations of today. In contrast to the positive and meaningful things an interdisciplinary approach can do. As the Godfathers of the Renaissance, they used an interdisciplinary approach to create a successful Mafia type business practice. The Medici used bribery, corruption, and
  • 5. Cole 5 violence to attain their wealth and power. The Medici had a sophisticated network of exploitation to “shake down” friends, peasants, countrymen, and other families of great wealth: the Catholic Church and even the Pope. There wasn’t anything the Medici’s didn’t try to muscle, control, own, or sell. As mentioned, the Pope was personally financed, as was the Roman Catholic Church, by the Medici family. The Pope and Church extended their financial credit to a dangerous point, starting one of the most ingenious and lucrative enterprises of all time. Indebted and overdrawn, the Pope and Church got to the point where they owed the Medici family business or bank 10% of all their earnings. The Medici family became “God’s bankers,” and if you were unable to pay your 10% you faced excommunication and “a one way ticket to hell.” This Mafia ran network of “amici degli amici,” was the blueprint to gaining, controlling, and sustaining power and wealth, much like the massive global corporations and banks of today. The Industrial Revolution, brought about by tycoons like Standard Oil’s founder, John D. Rockefeller and the U.S. Steel’s founder, Andrew Carnegie, has changed our path of progress and development. Standard Oil and U.S. Steel were made successful due to their inventive interdisciplinary practices. Carnegie developed the system known as vertical integration, which means that he cut out the middleman. Carnegie bought his own iron and coal mines because using other companies cost too much and this wasn’t efficient to his bottom line. By eliminating the middleman, he could then undersell his competitors, who had to pay to outsource their raw materials. In a similarly inventive practice, John D. Rockefeller integrated his oil business from top-to-bottom. This distinctive innovation of industry was horizontal, meaning he followed one product through all its manufactured stages, controlling his oil through drilling, refining, and processing into gasoline. Whatever you might think about these two powerful tycoons, good or
  • 6. Cole 6 bad, their management styles and ways of business were revolutionary. Tycoons like Carnegie, the “Steel King,” and Rockefeller, the “Oil Baron,” were geniuses at devising ways to circumvent their competition by using new inventive and interdisciplinary methods to change the landscape of business and organization forever. Rockefeller and Carnegie paved the way for what I like to call the “Technology Revolution.” The Technology Revolution has paralleled the Industrial Revolution’s changes in the progress and direction of our lives. One of the company’s spear-heading this technological revolution is the Apple Company or Apple Incorporated. Apple Inc. (Apple) designs, manufactures, markets, and sells communication and media devices, personal and home computers, and portable digital media players and services (iTunes/iPod), and sells related software, services, peripherals, networking solutions, and digital content and applications all from the Apple store. Apple’s company structure has low debts and high revenues, unheard of brand loyalty, increasing product sales, constant product development, and fulfills the needs and wants of its customers and stakeholders simultaneously. While one of Apple's greatest strengths is that they continuously provide products that increase in profits while lowering its debts and keeping its public enamored and fulfilled by its ingenuity and creativeness on multiple levels, another invaluable strength is its brand loyalty. One major aspect of Apple is their products offer complete solutions along with an image and a way of life. Apple's products complement and complete each other, while being an extension of a person’s image and persona. Apple develops a relationship with its customers through brand image and loyalty. Many Gen. X’ers have invested in Apple, from buying stock to not being able to live without iTunes and an iPod.
  • 7. Cole 7 Another iconic global brand that has influenced me and much of “My Generation” is the Walt Disney Cooperation. Not only has it brought us Disney World and Land, it has diversified into many interdisciplinary functions and companies that produce global merchandising, resorts, the Disney Institute, theme parks like Universal Studies, movie and TV franchises like “The Lion King,” and entertainment networks like ABC and ESPN. Mickey Mouse and his ears have been a symbolic brand message for Disney for over 80 years. All Disney’s parts and functions are huddled under the Walt Disney iconic brand of loyalty. Disney’s approach to “brand loyalty” is simply titled “How to be a Customer Magnet.” Disney defines “brand loyalty” in these words: While customer loyalty is defined by what people do, brand loyalty is defined by how people feel, and few global brands can boast the kind of passion and loyalty displayed by generations of Disney fans. Disney sustains lifelong relationships with its guests, reinforces and extends its brand, and continually reintroduces the brand with old friends. This message really conveys and mirrors the interdisciplinary brand philosophy that has inspired, influenced, and changed an entire generation. Gen X has been a loyal fan and customer to brands like the Walt Disney Cooperation. It not only defines us as fans and customers but has driven and inspired the very way we live. An entire generation characterizes, emulates, and expresses the image and philosophy of these iconic global brands. It’s not just a brand to Generation X, it’s a way of life. For Generation X it's important to have self-expression through words and images with productivity, consistency, and brand loyalty on a par with the iconic branding demonstrated by these corporations. Being a product of and from the; careless 70’s, big 80’s, deregulated 90’s, Walt Disney, Pac-Man to Donkey Kong, Levi or Guess jeans, from beepers and pay phones to
  • 8. Cole 8 cellular telephones, Apple, Microsoft, Mc Donald’s, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, “Where’s the Beef”, Coke or Pepsi, bottled water, Steven Spielberg, Star Wars, “I want my MTV”, Nike’s “Just Do It”, WWF Hulk-a-maniac’s “running wild on you, brother”, all while watching Saturday morning cartoons era. Individuals born into this generation grew up using the first video games and computers, and developments like MTV and Apple let them share and enjoy the very brands that shaped their lives. In recent Gen X news, the Star Wars franchise has joined the Walt Disney brand. The only thing scarier than Darth Vader would be Darth Vader sporting a Mickey Mouse hat. Generation X has used brand philosophy to be loyal, persistent, consistent, and determined while setting itself apart from any other generation. As a product of Generation X or the “Slacker Generation,” I’m now moving into the next chapter of my life, and I will use a company like Apple Inc. to brand myself after. As I’ve stated earlier, culturally and socially, we are in a state of constant change. Smack dab in the middle of one the worst recessions in global history, it’s hard to stay optimistic. I feel Apple is an organization best suited to adapt and prosper in this type of environment and should be looked upon as a shining beacon of hope. Apple Inc. doesn’t panic or follow so called trends, they stay true to their core practice, which is the strong bond they have with customers and the general public through brand philosophy and integrity. Generation X labeled as the “Slacker Generation” by the Baby Boomers, which has portrayed them as grunge-listening, coffee-drinking, flannel-donning slackers lost in apathy, who don't know their part in society as they revolt against previous cultural ideals and disciplines, but I would strongly disagree, at least with the apathy part. Generation X has begun a new interrelated interdisciplinary approach to the way life is perceived and lived. This is real change,
  • 9. Cole 9 unlike and uncharacteristic of the Baby Boomer’s approach of waste, excess, and destruction. Generation X has begun an approach to change the ongoing issues and complexities of modern life by using responsibility and accountability as the groundwork for future success and progress. I don’t want to blame the Baby Boomers or the Great Depression era before them for all the problems and issues of today, we are all accountable. The Baby Boomers marched for equal rights and felt the impact of Kennedy’s assassination, possibly giving them a stronger sense of social responsibility. Skyrocketing costs in housing and education in the 1980s and 1990s coupled with intense competition from overachieving Baby Boomers has alienated Gen X’ers. It also, has motivated and been the catalyst for Gen X’s cultural change into technology. So, it is now up to Gen X, and the time for change is now. Much like the United States President elect Barack Obama’s iconic 2008 campaign slogan “change we can believe in” and the chant that followed "Yes We Can." Generation X must initiate an iconic plan for change by using technology, artificial intelligence, expanding communication, and an interdisciplinary approach to life’s practices and philosophies. It is imperative that all Generation X’ers proudly embrace and attempt to use this great philosophy and “brand” its characteristics of responsibility and accountability.
  • 10. Cole 10 Works Cited Smith, Barbara. Reinventing Ourselves: Interdisciplinary Education, Collaborative Learning, and Experimentation in Higher Education Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing Company, Inc., 2001. Print. Fritz Heide. The Psychology of Interpersonal Relations Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1958. Print. Owen Hargie, David Dickson. Skilled Interpersonal Communication: Research, Theory, and Practice 4th ed. London: Routledge, 2004. Print. Peter N. Stearns. The Industrial Revolution in World History 2nd ed. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1998. Print. Gordon Noble. Neolithic Scotland: Timber, Stone, Earth and Fire Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2006. Print. "Medici Family" Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., 2013. Web. "Apple." Apple, n.d. Web. Jun 2013. "Brand Loyalty." Disney Institute . The Walt Disney Company. Web. 26 Jun 2013.;. The Walt Disney Company. The Walt Disney Company. Web. 1 Jul 2013. < Code=11&more=no&mode=form>. "Organizing for Action." Organizing for Action. Web. 1 Jul 2013. <>.
  • 11. Cole 11 Annotated Bibliography Smith, Barbara. Reinventing Ourselves: Interdisciplinary Education, Collaborative Learning, and Experimentation in Higher Education Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing Company, Inc., 2001. Print. It explains how Interdisciplinary Studies apply methods from more than one academic discipline to examine a theme, issue, question, problem, topic, or experience. Interdisciplinary methods work to create connections between traditionally detached disciplines such as; math, business, education, health sciences, social sciences, and the arts. Fritz Heide. The Psychology of Interpersonal Relations Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1958. Print. The psychology of human relations can help people regain a sense of balance and peace of mind, build more satisfying relationships, develop more effective communication, and find the sense of direction and meaning that allows one to prosper. An integral approach to mental health is built upon the recognition that human life consists of numerous interrelated facets, each playing a key role in a person’s well-being. Owen Hargie, David Dickson. Skilled Interpersonal Communication: Research, Theory, and Practice 4th ed. London: Routledge, 2004. Print. Because communications takes place in so many contexts, this books research on interpersonal communication focused on many different fields; math, business, education, health
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