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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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate how business executives perceive and account for their use of paratextual cues as a means of managing their…
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate how business executives perceive and account for their use of paratextual cues as a means of managing their professional impressions in business e‐mails on their smartphone (i.e. BlackBerry, iPhone, etc.) and office computer. Design/methodology/approach – Semi‐structured, audio‐recorded telephone interviews were conducted with a representative sample of 60 business executives from various sectors in Canada. The interviews examined executives' typical ways of writing e‐mails for business purposes, both on their smartphone and office computer. All interviews were transcribed and then analyzed using a mix of quantitative and qualitative analyses. Findings – This study shows how organizational leaders vary their ways of opening and closing business e‐mails when comparing their smartphone to their office computer communication. To account for these differences, they routinely use folk categories that suggest distinctions between formal and informal relationships, internal and external communication, as well as the recipient's identity and their own. Hence, executives are aware of the social meanings inscribed in paratextual cues and even the absence of these cues is frequently used as a cue in itself. Originality/value – E‐mailing is a crucial part of contemporary corporate communications, yet few studies have examined organizational leaders' e‐mail writing practices on their smartphone in relation to their office computer. While executives might seem very task‐oriented in their communication, this study shows that their everyday e‐mail‐writing practices play an important role in the co‐construction of professional identities and relationships.