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Book part
Publication date: 15 June 2018

Satu Teerikangas and Noelia-Sarah Reynolds

In this paper, we responded to recent calls for the use of a greater variety of qualitative methods in the study of inter-organizational encounters, including mergers and…

Abstract

In this paper, we responded to recent calls for the use of a greater variety of qualitative methods in the study of inter-organizational encounters, including mergers and acquisitions (M&As). The paper provided a reflection on the authors’ experiences in carrying out two studies of merger processes in the UK and Finland, one ethnographic and one combing also auto-­ethnographic methods. Contrasts between the former case of an “outsider” entering into an ethnographic study and the latter case of an auto-ethnographer with a dual role as a researcher and integration team member were highlighted. The paper offered three contributions to extant research. First, the paper extended the methodological debate in the study of M&As to the level of individual methods. Second, the paper identified the finding types that emerge when using ethnographic methods in the study of mergers. Third, the paper discussed the unique challenges posed when conducting ethnographic work investigating organizational combinations in times of mergers as opposed to ethnography in traditional, single organizational settings.

Details

Advances in Mergers and Acquisitions
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-136-6

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Article
Publication date: 6 February 2017

Nomanesi Madikizela-Madiya

The purpose of this paper is to highlight levels of power in research ethics that are insufficiently addressed in self-ethnographic research literature.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to highlight levels of power in research ethics that are insufficiently addressed in self-ethnographic research literature.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reflexively draws from a qualitative research that was conducted in a higher education institution (HEI) in South Africa. The reflection is substantiated with literature on various aspects of the reflection. The research design was self-ethnography, conducted within a postmodernist paradigm.

Findings

The reflection exposes the hidden levels of power in the process of ethical clearance and gatekeeping of access to participants. It also suggests that different theoretical perspectives about ethics work together throughout the self-ethnographic research process.

Research limitations/implications

The research on which the paper is based was conducted in only one college of one HEI. Therefore its findings may only be contextual.

Practical implications

The exposure of the levels of power contributes to the discourses of research ethics and may caution self-ethnographic researchers about the complexities of research ethics involved in this research design.

Originality/value

Although there is plethora of literature about ethics and insider research, little has been done to bring to light the various levels of power that this paper highlights.

Details

Qualitative Research Journal, vol. 17 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1443-9883

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Article
Publication date: 10 May 2018

Adriana Angela Suarez Delucchi

The purpose of this paper is to problematise the idea of “at-home ethnography” and to expand knowledge about insider/outsider distinctions by using insights from…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to problematise the idea of “at-home ethnography” and to expand knowledge about insider/outsider distinctions by using insights from institutional ethnography (IE). It also examines the strengths and challenges of “returning” researchers recognising their unique position in overcoming these binaries.

Design/methodology/approach

IE is the method the researcher used to explore community-based water management in rural Chile. The researcher is interested in learning from rural drinking water organisations to understand the way in which their knowledge is organised. The data presented derived from field notes of participant observation and the researcher’s diary.

Findings

The notion of “at-home ethnography” fell short when reflecting on the researcher’s positions and experiences in the field. This is especially true when researchers return to their countries to carry out fieldwork. The negotiation of boundaries, codes and feelings requires the researcher to appreciate the complex relationships surrounding ethnographic work, in order to explore how community-based water management is done in the local setting, without forgetting where the setting is embedded.

Originality/value

Unique insights are offered into the advantages and tensions of conducting fieldwork “at home” when the researcher has lived “abroad” for an extended time. A critique and contribution to “at-home ethnography” is offered from an IE perspective.

Details

Journal of Organizational Ethnography, vol. 7 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6749

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Article
Publication date: 3 April 2018

Markus Gottwald, Frank Sowa and Ronald Staples

The purpose of this paper is to present a specific case of at-home ethnography, or insider research: The German Public Employment Service (BA) commissioned its own…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present a specific case of at-home ethnography, or insider research: The German Public Employment Service (BA) commissioned its own research institute (Institute for Employment Research (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung)) to evaluate the daily implementation of its core management instruments (target management and controlling). The aim of the paper is to explain the challenges faced by the ethnographers and to reflect on them methodologically.

Design/methodology/approach

At-home ethnography/insider research.

Findings

In the paper, it is argued to what extent conducting at-home ethnography, or insider research, is like “Walking the Line” – to paraphrase Johnny Cash. When examining a management instrument that is highly contested on the micropolitical level, the researchers have to navigate their way through different interests with regard to advice and support, and become micropoliticians in their own interest at the same time in order to maintain scientific autonomy. The ethnographers are deeply enmeshed in the micropolitical dynamics of their field, which gives rise to the question of how they can distance themselves in this situation. To this effect, they develop the argument that distancing is not so much about seeing what is familiar in a new light, as is mostly suggested in the literature, than about alienating a familiar research environment in order to avoid a bureaucratically contingent othering. It is shown what constitutes a bureaucratically contingent othering and how it should be met by an othering of the bureaucracy. Conclusions are drawn from this with regard to the advice and support required for the bureaucracy and concerning the methods debate surrounding insider research in general.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to the method debate with regard to at-home ethnography, or insider research, and particularly addresses organisational researchers and practitioners facing similar challenges when conducting ethnographic research in their own organisation.

Details

Journal of Organizational Ethnography, vol. 7 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6749

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Article
Publication date: 18 May 2018

Anna Kirkebæk Johansson Gosovic

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to developing the understanding and practice of fieldwork in familiar settings by expanding the literature on fieldworker identities.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to developing the understanding and practice of fieldwork in familiar settings by expanding the literature on fieldworker identities.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on ethnographic fieldwork in a multinational biopharmaceutical corporation, and drawing on anthropological theory of social identities, the paper demonstrates the multiple and fluid identities that we as organizational ethnographers purposefully take on, accidentally acquire, unintentionally are ascribed with and experience during ethnographic fieldwork in familiar settings.

Findings

Building on these insights, and by expanding the literature on researcher identities, the paper develops a critique of the spatial and temporal notions often attached to fieldwork in familiar settings by demonstrating how outsider identities are ascribed even “at home” and how insider identities can be experienced when away. It further reflects on the ways in which these identities shape the data generation and interpretation process.

Originality/value

This paper argues that to properly grasp the multiple identity processes involved in a fieldwork, we must escape the spatial and temporal conceptualization of being either an insider or an outsider. Instead, the paper argues for a relational and situational perspective on being an insider and an outsider in the field and proposes to conceptualize “insider” and “outsider” as ascribed, changing and sometimes volatile social identities.

Details

Journal of Organizational Ethnography, vol. 7 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6749

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Article
Publication date: 16 February 2021

Virginia Rosales

The use of organizational ethnography has grown significantly during the past decades. While language is an important component of ethnographic research, the challenges…

Abstract

Purpose

The use of organizational ethnography has grown significantly during the past decades. While language is an important component of ethnographic research, the challenges associated with language barriers are rarely discussed in the literature. The purpose of this paper is to open up a discussion on language barriers in organizational ethnography.

Design/methodology/approach

The author draws on her experience as a PhD student doing an organizational ethnography of an emergency department in a country where she initially did not speak the local language.

Findings

The paper examines the author's research process, from access negotiation to presentation of findings, illustrating the language barriers encountered doing an ethnography in parallel to learning the local language in Sweden.

Research limitations/implications

This paper calls for awareness of the influence of the ethnographer's language skills and shows the importance of discussing this in relation to how we teach and learn ethnography, research practice and diversity in academia.

Originality/value

The paper makes three contributions to organizational ethnography. First, it contributes to the insider/outsider debate by nuancing the ethnographer's experience. Second, it answers calls for transparency by presenting a personal ethnographic account. Third, it contributes to developing the methodology by offering tips to deal with language barriers in doing ethnography abroad.

Details

Journal of Organizational Ethnography, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6749

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Article
Publication date: 11 June 2018

Letizia Caronia

The purpose of this paper is to consider “at home ethnography” and “abroad ethnography” not as labels standing for different kinds of fieldwork “out there” but rather as…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to consider “at home ethnography” and “abroad ethnography” not as labels standing for different kinds of fieldwork “out there” but rather as the poles of a continuum identifying the ethnographer’s situated, relative and ever changing epistemic status.

Design/methodology/approach

Building on data from a recent fieldwork in an intensive care unit, the author identifies the different epistemic circumstances that originate from the entanglement of the multiple territories of knowledge at stake in any ethnography of complex organizations.

Findings

The analysis shows how the participants’ relative access to knowledge and rights to claim it vary according to the circumstances and the unfolding of the interaction. The discussion advances that the ethnographer oscillates between “being abroad” and “being at home” as if he was constantly moving between the two classical positions of ethnographic work: making the familiar strange as it is typical of ethnographies focusing on the “very ‘ordinariness’ of normality” (Ybema et al., 2009, p. 2), and making the strange familiar as it is typical of anthropologists studying exotic communities.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to the still ongoing debate on “at home” organizational ethnography, by addressing the limits of the “insider doctrine” (Merton, 1972) that still pervades contemporary ethnography and proposes cognitive oscillation as the challenging mindset of any ethnographer-in-the-field.

Details

Journal of Organizational Ethnography, vol. 7 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6749

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Article
Publication date: 11 June 2018

Signe Bruskin

The purpose of this paper is to explore the fluidity of the fieldwork roles “insider” and “outsider.” The paper aims to move the discussion of insiders from an a priori…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the fluidity of the fieldwork roles “insider” and “outsider.” The paper aims to move the discussion of insiders from an a priori categorized status and contribute to the literary insider–outsider debate by unfolding the micro process of how the role of an insider is shaped in situ. Grounded in empirical examples, the paper illustrates how the researcher’s role is shaped through interactions with organizational members and by context.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on an ethnographic study in an IT department of a Nordic bank and draws on empirical material generated through a combination of data: shadowing, interviews, observations and documents. Excerpts from fieldnotes are included to invite the reader into “the scenes” played out in the field and are analyzed in order to illustrate the shaping of roles in situ.

Findings

The study finds that, independent of the researcher’s role as sponsored by the organization, the interactions with organizational members and context determine whether the researcher is assigned a role as insider or outsider, or even both within the same context.

Originality/value

The paper contributes with a new discussion of how the roles of insiders and outsiders are fluid by discussing the shaping of the roles in situ. By drawing on relational identity theories, the paper illustrates how interactions and context influence the researcher’s role, grounded in empirical examples. In addition, the paper discusses what the assigned roles enable and constrain for the ethnographer in that particular situation.

Details

Journal of Organizational Ethnography, vol. 8 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6749

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Article
Publication date: 14 December 2020

David Calvey

This study aims to critically expose and explore “taking sides” in the context of a covert ethnography of bouncers in the night-time economy of Manchester, UK.

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to critically expose and explore “taking sides” in the context of a covert ethnography of bouncers in the night-time economy of Manchester, UK.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology adopted is covert ethnography. The author reflects on the application and use of situated deception within an embedded and insider ethnography of bouncers, alongside other relevant covert ethnographies. Fieldwork vignettes are drawn upon to articulate the management of situated ethics and moral dilemmas.

Findings

The findings argue that bouncers are a deeply maligned occupational group, who perform a valuable regulatory role in the night-time economy. Moreover, a covert role ethnographic presents an interesting liminal stance of being on both sides, rather than a reductionist choosing of a single sides. Theoretically, phenomenological bracketing and ethnomethodological indifference are used to justify the position taken in the paper.

Research limitations/implications

Covert research has limitations around fieldwork time consumption, instigation tactics and “going native” distortion, alongside common fears of ethical belligerence and cavalier morals.

Practical implications

The lessons learnt, particularly for early career researchers, are about pursuing creative ethnographic methods.

Social implications

Occupationally, bouncers should be less demonized and more accessible to more women. This rather hyper-masculine domain should be disrupted and democratized.

Originality/value

The field is relatively niche, with a purist covert ethnographic approach being an innovative way to unpack it.

Details

Journal of Organizational Ethnography, vol. 10 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6749

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Book part
Publication date: 22 October 2019

James Farrer

For migrant urban ethnographers who study their city of settlement, ethnography may have a double meaning, serving not only as an approach to understanding a city…

Abstract

For migrant urban ethnographers who study their city of settlement, ethnography may have a double meaning, serving not only as an approach to understanding a city academically but also a pathway to connecting with a community more broadly and personally, a type of personal place making. This chapter uses the experiences of the author – an American working and living in Shanghai and Tokyo for over 20 years – to show how his evolving practice of the ethnography of the city relates to a slow process of coming to live purposefully in it. The chapter also details a migrant’s perspective on the ethnography of sexuality, nightlife and foodways in urban Asia. The insider-outsider relationship that the migrant ethnographer brings to the city may be viewed as both burden and asset. As transnational migrants, migrant ethnographers can perform as institutional mediaries who connect researchers across borders and as educational facilitators who help migrant students discover means of associating with an unfamiliar environment. In short, ethnography may be a way of living as well as learning.

Details

Urban Ethnography
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-033-2

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