Extending the assessment of anthropology's history in organizational studies – an invitation

, , ,

Journal of Organizational Ethnography

ISSN: 2046-6749

Article publication date: 23 August 2013


Yanow, D., Brannan, M., Nocker, M. and Rowe, M. (2013), "Extending the assessment of anthropology's history in organizational studies – an invitation", Journal of Organizational Ethnography, Vol. 2 No. 2. https://doi.org/10.1108/joe.2013.57502baa.001



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Extending the assessment of anthropology's history in organizational studies – an invitation

Article Type: Editorial From: Journal of Organizational Ethnography, Volume 2, Issue 2.

As the “Rethinking the past” section of Journal of Organizational Ethnography (JOE) 2:1 was wending its way into print, Dvora Yanow had the good fortune of visiting for a week in the Department of Management and Organization at the University of Paris, Dauphine, courtesy of Professor François-Xavier Devaujany. She wrote:

  • Hosted at lunch on Tuesday by Professor Jean-François Chanlat, I found myself facing the embarrassing recognition that, in inviting commentators on Nancy Morey and Fred Luthans’ original article on the forgotten anthropological record in organizational studies (Yanow, 2013), I had overlooked the extensive French anthropological background and contributions to organizational studies. Caught up in the desire to have comments from a range of disciplinary and inter-disciplinary colleagues who could situate organizational studies discourses historically, I became trapped in the Anglo-Saxon “organizational anthropology” world, ignoring, as Alfons van Marrewijk (2010, p. 27) reminds us, the wealth of contributions to “business anthropology” from “the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, France, Italy and other European countries […] not very visible to American scholars” – apparently even to one who has been living among and working with some of these scholars for several years and who is not exclusively monolingual in her own reading and writing practices!

Reminded of his contributions (Chanlat, 1994a, b, 2008; see also Chanlat et al., 2013), we approached Professor Chanlat shame-facedly, confessed our mea culpas, and asked if he would contribute a comment, albeit one that could no longer appear with the original article and its commentaries. He graciously let us off the hook and agreed to write something, which will appear in the near future. Dvora Yanow and the Editors of the JOE wish to use this editorial as an invitation to others to submit comments on the Morey-Luthans article, extending this assessment of anthropology's history in organizational studies beyond the English- and French-reading worlds to join these comments and van Marrewijk's on the Netherlands’ contribution to business anthropology cited above, as we learn from each other and displace the Anglo- and perhaps even Euro-centrism that has marked much of our disciplinary accounts.

Dvora YanowCommunication, Technology, and Philosophy, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The NetherlandsMatthew BrannanManagement School, Keele University, Keele, UKManuela NockerEssex Business School, University of Essex, Southend-on-Sea, UKMike RoweManagement School, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK


Chanlat, J.-F. (1994a), “Francophone organizational analysis (1950-1990): an overview”, Organization Studies, Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 47-79

Chanlat, J.-F. (1994b), “Toward an anthropology of organizations”, in Hassard, J. and Parker, M. (Eds), Towards a New Theory of Organizations, Routledge, London, pp. 155-189

Chanlat, J.-F. (2008), “Organizational anthropology”, in Clegg, S. and Bailey, J. (Eds), International Encyclopedia of Organization Studies, Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA, pp. 1013-1015

Chanlat, J.-F., Davel, E. and Dupuis, J.-P. (Eds) (2013), Cross-Cultural Management: Culture and Management Across the World, Routledge, London

van Marrewijk, A. (2010), “European developments in business anthropology”, International Journal of Business Anthropology, Vol. 1 No. 1, pp. 26-44

Yanow, D. (Ed.) (2013), “Editorial: on disciplinary histories: borrowing anthropology into organisational studies?”, Journal of Organizational Ethnography, Vol. 2 No. 1, p. 76