A decade ago, a travel agent was a legitimate job. Today, this line of employment has become redundant with online sites such as kayak, Priceline, Expedia and a host of new companies that allow customers to shop virtually for competitive pricing and book their travel directly through such venues. This captures not just a shift in the nature of employment, but possibly the birth of a new worldview, corporate ideology, management, and customer relations in the tourism sector where certain intermediaries have become digital. In fact, change seems to be occurring across different industries with the advent of new media: we use mobile phones to check-in at airports through SMS barcodes; customers willingly watch ads in exchange for free television programs offered online by media companies; cancer patients verify treatment choices through online healthcare groups; porn agencies use online chat to significantly increase their revenue.
These shifts are however not unprecedented in the business world. If we look back, older information and communication media such as print, the radio and television have played a part in the shaping of diverse businesses. Additionally, it is worth considering to what extent media transforms the business culture in its varied dimensions – legal, socio-cultural, economic and political. Thereby, this course serves to create an overview of the role of information and communication media in the business sector and the opportunity to critically assess claims on radical shifts in work practices and spaces.
To best situate such overarching understandings of the relations between business and media, this course applies theory to real world business news, trends, and events concerning the Web 2.0. Special emphasis is placed on emerging markets and their usage of media to restructure their role in the global economy. Overall, the intent of this course is to gain a more realistic perspective on the role of media in the shaping of businesses across cultures, histories and contexts.