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On becoming an organizational autoethnographer: Considering the ethical perspectives of the research application process

Fiona Armstrong-Gibbs (Liverpool School of Art and Design, Faculty of Arts Professional and Social Studies, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK)

Journal of Organizational Ethnography

ISSN: 2046-6749

Article publication date: 9 January 2019

Issue publication date: 16 July 2019




The purpose of this paper is to explore the process and challenges of applying an autoethnographic research method to a professional doctoral thesis ethics application. It examines the traditional university ethical approval process and if it is appropriate for this evolving qualitative research method within an organizational context.


A short introduction to the literature on ethics prefaces an autoethnographic account of the author’s experience as doctor of business administration candidate tackling the application process for ethical approval of primary research. The account is a reflection of the review process and critiques with reference to the existing literature.


The majority of the literature relating to ethics has focused on the private, personal and largely evocative accounts of autoethnography. This paper highlights some of the differences and potential for organizational autoethnography and ethical conduct. It highlights the ethical implications of obtaining consent from one’s colleagues, developing and maintaining dependent relationships, risk and reward to one’s own professional reputation and becoming equipped to create both personal and organizational change through a process of reflexivity.


This paper adds to the discussion about ethical conduct when undertaking new forms of organizational ethnographic research. For those interested or involved in the university institutional ethics review committees and for professional doctoral students who are developing an emancipatory insider research approach.



Armstrong-Gibbs, F. (2019), "On becoming an organizational autoethnographer: Considering the ethical perspectives of the research application process", Journal of Organizational Ethnography, Vol. 8 No. 2, pp. 232-242.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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