Usable social science

Main Author: Smelser, Neil J.
Corporate Author: ebrary, Inc.
Other Authors: Reed, John S. 1939-
Format: Online Book
Language: English
Published: Berkeley : University of California Press, c2012.
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Review by Choice Review

It is quite rare to find a collaboration between elite members of the academic and business sectors--this is such a book. Smelser is a distinguished sociologist and emeritus professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and Reed is former chairman and CEO of Citicorp, Citibank, and Citigroup. Their book is a readable, nontechnical identification and assessment of areas of relevant, usable social science knowledge. Both authors contributed a number of insights in which social science knowledge played or could have played a major role in their decision making. The strengths and limitations of the usability of knowledge in seven areas (e.g., how decisions are made, organizations and organizational change) are followed by a brief review of the usability of different social science research methods. The concluding two chapters contain worthwhile discussions of the increasing societal demand for usable knowledge and the organizational and cultural environments in which knowledge is produced. Throughout, Smelser and Reed adhere to a fair, balanced, middle position. In their words, "the only certainty that neat formulae, surefire schemata, and universal solutions yields [sic] is that they will fall short and even misguide us in a complex world." Summing Up: Recommended. Students and practitioners in areas such as education, business, social services, government, and voluntary associations. M. Oromaner formerly, Hudson County Community College

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.