Making organisational ethnography

Tony J. Watson (Nottingham University Business School, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK)

Journal of Organizational Ethnography

ISSN: 2046-6749

Publication date: 20 April 2012



The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the “manifesto” for organisational ethnography being put forward in the first issue of the Journal of Organizational Ethnography.


The author draws upon several decades of personal experience of field research and ethnographic writing, in and around organisations, to suggest ways in which this type of research and publication can be advanced.


It is wise to see ethnography as much more than a research method; it is a way of presenting research – research which can be carried out using a variety of investigative methods in addition to the essential activity of intensive field research. To work fully within the spirit of ethnography, it is vital to set organisational activities within the broad societal order of which they are part. Ethnographic researchers should consider undertaking “everyday ethnography” (seeking ethnographic insights in the course of their daily lives) as an element of their studies.


The paper provides a clear and bold guide to the nature and practice of organisational ethnography based on extensive research and writing experience in the field.



Watson, T. (2012), "Making organisational ethnography", Journal of Organizational Ethnography, Vol. 1 No. 1, pp. 15-22.

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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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