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Reflexive guidelines for writing organizational culture

Jasmin Mahadevan (Pforzheim University, Pforzheim, Germany)

Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management

ISSN: 1746-5648

Article publication date: 23 August 2011




The purpose of this paper is to provide guidelines for reflexive ethnographic writing that transports the researcher's claims of having conducted participatory reflexive research to her audience.


Auto‐ethnographic vignettes from the author's own ethnographic research are used to establish five levels of reflexivity for writing organizational ethnography.


The author argues that the audience needs to be able to judge a researcher's claims to reflexivity through his/her writing. Yet, due to the participation mode of reflexivity while doing ethnographic research, the researcher is not in control over his/her own reflexive writing. Therefore, processes between three groups of stakeholders, namely researcher, field and audience, and their power relations need to be considered in reflexive writing. The author calls this process ethnographic triangulating and derives a five‐tiered model of reflexive writing from it.

Research limitations/implications

The paper offers a perspective on how to write organizational ethnography. Others will have to put this perspective into practice.


The paper moves the participation mode of reflexivity to the level of writing, thereby offering a fully conceived view on reflexivity that acknowledges the influence of field and audience on ethnographic writing.



Mahadevan, J. (2011), "Reflexive guidelines for writing organizational culture", Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management, Vol. 6 No. 2, pp. 150-170.



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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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