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Article
Publication date: 15 November 2019

Nicole K. Dalmer

Institutional ethnography is a method of inquiry that brings attention to people’s everyday work while simultaneously highlighting broader sites of administration and…

Abstract

Purpose

Institutional ethnography is a method of inquiry that brings attention to people’s everyday work while simultaneously highlighting broader sites of administration and governance that may be organising that work. The purpose of this paper is to argue that the integration of institutional ethnography in health information practice research represents an important shift in the way that Library and Information Science professionals and researchers study and understand these practices.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper first explores the key tenets and conceptual underpinnings of Dorothy Smith’s institutional ethnography, illuminating the importance of moving between translocal and the local contexts and identifying ruling relations. Drawing from a library and information science study that combined interviews and textual analyses to examine the social organisation of family caregivers’ health-related information work, the paper then explores the affordances of starting in the local particularities and then moving outwards to the translocal.

Findings

The paper concludes with an overall assessment of what institutional ethnography can contribute to investigations of health information practices. By pushing from the local to the translocal, institutional ethnography enables a questioning of existing library and information science conceptualisations of context and of reappraising the everyday-life information seeking work/non-work dichotomy. Ultimately, in considering both the local and the translocal, institutional ethnography casts a wider net on understanding individuals’ health information practices.

Originality/value

With only two retrieved studies that combine institutional ethnography with the study of health information practices, this paper offers health information practice researchers a new method of inquiry in which to reframe the application of methods used.

Details

Aslib Journal of Information Management, vol. 71 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-3806

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Book part
Publication date: 17 November 2017

Jonathan Tummons

In this chapter, I outline the key tenets of institutional ethnography (IE) as a framework for interpretivist social research. Through drawing not only on the key tenets…

Abstract

In this chapter, I outline the key tenets of institutional ethnography (IE) as a framework for interpretivist social research. Through drawing not only on the key tenets of IE but also on the key findings and conclusions of the different chapters – empirical and conceptual – that make up the present volume, I argue for a critical reappraisal of IE. Through turning the IE lens of enquiry onto IE itself, I foreground the problematic within IE, and also the need to attend to the standpoint of IE. Finally, I consider the position of IE in terms of theory more broadly, as well as social theory more specifically, through focussing on the ways in which IE can be augmented through the use of other, compatible, theoretical, and/or methodological perspectives such as critical discourse analysis, actor-network theory, semiotics, and participatory and community models of research.

Details

Perspectives on and from Institutional Ethnography
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-653-2

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Book part
Publication date: 17 November 2017

Abstract

Details

Perspectives on and from Institutional Ethnography
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-653-2

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Article
Publication date: 2 February 2021

Caroline Cupit, Janet Rankin and Natalie Armstrong

The main purpose of this paper is to document the first author's experience of using institutional ethnography (IE) to “take sides” in healthcare research. The authors…

Abstract

Purpose

The main purpose of this paper is to document the first author's experience of using institutional ethnography (IE) to “take sides” in healthcare research. The authors illustrate the points with data and key findings from a study of cardiovascular disease prevention.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors use Dorothy E Smith's IE approach, and particularly the theoretical tool of “standpoint”.

Findings

Starting with the development of the study, the authors trouble the researcher's positionality, highlighting tensions between institutional knowledge of “prevention” and other locations where knowledge about patients' health needs materialises. The authors outline how IE's theoretically and methodologically integrated toolkit became a framework for “taking sides” with patients. They describe how the researcher used IE to take a standpoint and map institutional relations from that standpoint. They argue that IE enabled an innovative analysis but also reflect on the challenges of conducting an IE – the conceptual unpicking and (re)thinking, and demarcating boundaries of investigation within an expansive dataset.

Originality/value

This paper illustrates IE's relevance for organisational ethnographers wishing to find a theoretically robust approach to taking sides, and suggests ways in which the IE approach might contribute to improving services, particularly healthcare. It provides an illustration of how taking a patient standpoint was accomplished in practice, and reflects on the challenges involved.

Details

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

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Article
Publication date: 9 March 2015

Brett Crawford and John Branch

The institutional work literature has paid little attention to cognition and interests in the creation, maintenance, and disruption of institutions. The purpose of this…

Abstract

Purpose

The institutional work literature has paid little attention to cognition and interests in the creation, maintenance, and disruption of institutions. The purpose of this paper is to explore the construct of interests as it relates to institutional work projects. The authors frame interests as recognitions situated within broader institutional meaning systems, with a specific focus on interest plurality.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors conducted an 18-month ethnography exploring institutional work projects within a rural chamber of commerce. The authors aimed to understand how projects contributed to community survival on a micro-level and institutional change on a macro-level. Rural chambers of commerce represent a unique example of emergent public-private partnerships, challenging traditional commercial logics of chambers of commerce. The research design included qualitative data collection, coding, and analysis of field notes, interviews, and archival sources.

Findings

Purposive action was grounded in the community inhabited by the rural chamber of commerce and not the institution itself. Recognized interests enabled nontraditional workers – public employees with newly founded and legitimate roles within the chamber – to pursue community-focussed projects. Change across the institution of chambers of commerce occurred because of the separated and aggregate projects spanning across rural communities.

Originality/value

Recognized interests are a social, plural, and malleable phenomenon supporting situated agency and the co-creation activities embodied in institutional work projects. The authors contribute to the institutional work literature by introducing the idea of interest plurality and illustrating how the work of rural chambers of commerce captures contemporary forms of community organizing.

Details

Journal of Organizational Ethnography, vol. 4 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6749

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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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Book part
Publication date: 17 November 2017

Michael K. Corman and Gary R. S. Barron

Institutional ethnography (IE) is a sociology that focuses on the everyday world as problematic. As a theory/method of discovery, it focuses on how the work people do is…

Abstract

Institutional ethnography (IE) is a sociology that focuses on the everyday world as problematic. As a theory/method of discovery, it focuses on how the work people do is organized and coordinated by text-mediated and text-regulated social organization. Actor-network Theory (ANT) is a theory/method that is concerned with how realities get enacted. ANT focuses on a multiplicity of human and nonhuman actors (e.g., computers, documents, and laboratory equipment) and how the relations between them are constituted and how they are made to hang together to create certain realities. In this chapter, we discuss some of the similarities and differences between IE and ANT. We begin with an overview of IE and ANT and focus on their ontological and epistemological “shifts.” We then discuss some of the similarities and differences between IE and ANT, particularly from an IE stance. In doing so, we put these approaches into dialog and allude to some of the potential benefits and pitfalls of combining these approaches.

Details

Perspectives on and from Institutional Ethnography
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-653-2

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Book part
Publication date: 17 November 2017

Jo Bishop and Pete Sanderson

This chapter reports an institutional ethnography (IE) which seeks to explicate the everyday experiences of learning mentors (LMs), introduced into English secondary…

Abstract

This chapter reports an institutional ethnography (IE) which seeks to explicate the everyday experiences of learning mentors (LMs), introduced into English secondary schools 15 years ago. Within the context of the New Labour (NL) policy agenda characterized by an analysis of the relationship between “risk” and “social exclusion” as the root cause of many social problems, LMs were part of a transformative agenda which elevated ‘low level’ workers to paraprofessional status across a range of public services. The official narrative embedded in policy documents talked of LMs “raising achievement” by “removing barriers to learning,” but this tells us little about the way in which such texts are mediated in the sites where they were enacted. The starting point of the IE was to establish how the work of learning mentors was practiced, viewed, and understood within the school by all parties. The enquiry did not start with pre-existing conceptualizations of “pastoral care” or “disaffected youth” but tracing the genealogy of LM practice became more significant as the research developed, thus attention was paid to the legacy of the US tradition of mentoring and how that was re-imagined in the ruling texts of NL policy. The problematic of the study that emerged was that although warmly received by pupils, LM practices were marginalized, misunderstood, and relatively unseen, casting doubt on the influence suggested in formal prescriptions and giving rise to wider questions regarding the increasingly liminal nature of work undertaken by people working in similar roles in other institutions.

Details

Perspectives on and from Institutional Ethnography
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-653-2

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Abstract

Details

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

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Article
Publication date: 14 April 2014

Linda Rouleau, Mark de Rond and Geneviève Musca

– The purpose of this paper is to outline the context and the content of the six papers that follow in this special issue on “New Forms of Organizational Ethnography”.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to outline the context and the content of the six papers that follow in this special issue on “New Forms of Organizational Ethnography”.

Design/methodology/approach

This editorial explains the burgeoning interest in organizational ethnography over the last decade in terms of several favourable conditions that have supported this resurgence. It also offers a general view of the nature and diversity of new forms of organizational ethnography in studies of management and organization.

Findings

New forms of organizational ethnography have emerged in response to rapidly changing organizational environments and technological advances as well as the paradigmatic transformation of ethnography and ascendency of discursive and practice-based studies.

Originality/value

The editorial highlights an “ethnographic turn” in management and organization studies that is characterized by a renewal of the discipline through the proliferation of new forms of organizational ethnography. A focus on new organizational phenomena, methodological innovation and novel ways of organizing fieldwork constitute the three main pillars of new forms of organizational ethnography. It encourages researchers to develop forums and platforms designed to exploit these novel forms of organizational ethnography.

Details

Journal of Organizational Ethnography, vol. 3 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6749

Keywords

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