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

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Article

Stephanie Russell and Matthew J. Brannan

The purpose of this paper is to explore how organizations operate in the absence of a clear regulatory authority in a self-regulating environment. Significant moves…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how organizations operate in the absence of a clear regulatory authority in a self-regulating environment. Significant moves towards self-regulation by various political administrations, together with successive waves of deregulation raise questions about the ability and effectiveness of industries and markets to regulate their own behaviour. This is a topical political and social concern with governments often appearing to favour self-regulation as opposed to the constitution of an official regulator. The absence of a regulator and the possibility of voluntary compliance raise a number of issues for the way in which organizations operate and the consequences, both intended and otherwise for organizations and society at large.

Design/methodology/approach

Empirically the authors explore the case of an industry leader within the Passive Fire Protection industry, as it adjusts to an increasingly self-regulated market environment. The authors document how organizational members make sense of the regulatory environment and the behaviour of actors within it.

Findings

The authors find that discourses of enterprise that underpin self-regulation permit actors a choice between compliance and non-compliance. Whilst also noting the prevalence of notions of morality in terms of how actors make sense of both compliant and non-compliant behaviour. Despite common sense notions that morality is seldom clear cut or unambiguous, the case study reveals that frameworks for understanding behaviour allow participants within the industry to make very clear demarcations between moral (compliant) and amoral (non-compliant) behaviour.

Originality/value

The authors learn how those that are compliant within the industry come to question the effectiveness of the regime to which they comply, thus ultimately undermining the integrity of the regime. In the absence of a strong regulatory regime, some agents draw upon notions of enterprise to justify an individualist, economic and pragmatic approach that makes non-compliance permissible. Thus the discourse of enterprise is present in the justification of both “moral” and “amoral” behaviour, this leads the authors to question the wisdom of policy that promotes the idea of enterprise as effectively ensuring compliance.

Details

Journal of Organizational Ethnography, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6749

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Abstract

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Journal of Organizational Ethnography, vol. 1 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6749

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

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Article

Matthew J. Brannan and Beverley Hawkins

This article seeks to explore forms of selection practice, focusing on role‐play techniques, which have been introduced in many organizations in an attempt to…

Abstract

Purpose

This article seeks to explore forms of selection practice, focusing on role‐play techniques, which have been introduced in many organizations in an attempt to “objectivize” the selection process by offering a means of assessing task‐specific aptitudes.

Design/methodology/approach

This article draws upon an ethnographic study of a call centre in which the researcher underwent the recruitment and selection process to secure work as a precursor to conducting fieldwork within the organization. Whilst there is little precedent for the employment of ethnographic techniques in researching recruitment and selection, we argue such techniques are appropriate to explore the social processes involved in practices such as role‐play. The discussion draws upon fieldwork which was conducted at “CallCentreCo”, who continuously recruit customer service representatives (CSRs) to work in their call centre. CallCentreCo uses role‐playing exercises extensively in the selection of all grades of staff and are argued by CallCentreCo's Human Resource Manager to be essential in the recruitment of CSRs to ensure the selection of suitable candidates and minimize initial attrition rates.

Findings

This article makes two contributions: first it provides empirical evidence to explore the basis of structured interviews by revealing how the view that role‐play can “objectivize” the selection process is potentially built upon false assumptions. Second, the article argues that supposedly “objective” practices such as role‐play seek to legitimize the overwhelmingly subjective interview process in order that it may serve purposes beyond initial selection: namely the control of future employees before they even enter the organization.

Research limitations/implications

Although we make no attempt to generalize from such a limited case study, this article raises issues that are likely to be relevant to organizations as they increasingly search for more “effective” selection procedures, and to academic endeavors to critically theorize the purpose and effects of selection for the employment relation.

Originality/value

The originality of this approach lies in the ethnographic study of the interview as a social interaction, the richness of which may be lost in the quantitatively dominated approach to analyzing selection.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 29 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

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Article

Matthew Brannan, Mike Rowe and Frank Worthington

The purpose of this paper is to provide an introduction to the new journal, its history, scope and ambitions.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide an introduction to the new journal, its history, scope and ambitions.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reviews the current growth in interest in ethnographic research in organizational and management studies, reflected not least in the success of the Liverpool‐Keele Ethnography Symposium.

Findings

Surveying the state of the field, this paper has identified a need for a natural home for organizational ethnographers. The continuing growth and development of the Symposium is also a reflection of the shared experience among would‐be ethnographers who find that, when presenting ethnographic work at other conferences, their choice of methodology is more often subject to contrarian rather than constructive discussion. It is only by debating the merits of the empirical and theoretical themes and perspectives that inform the subject in a constructive way with others, who are genuinely appreciative of the tradition, that it will develop.

Originality/value

The paper presents the case for a platform for the publishing of quality organizational ethnographies and for a forum in which to debate and develop the methodology and methods associated with them. It argues for a “collective manifesto” embracing and encouraging the diversity of approaches and introduces the first contributions.

Details

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

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

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Article

Vincenza Priola and Matthew J. Brannan

The growth of women in management has been argued to offer a route to reduce organizational and social inequality. The purpose of this paper is to explore the careers and…

Abstract

Purpose

The growth of women in management has been argued to offer a route to reduce organizational and social inequality. The purpose of this paper is to explore the careers and experiences of female managers from a variety of organizations operating in the West Midlands region of the UK.

Design/methodology/approach

This study is based on 56 interviews conducted with women managers within various sectors. The interviewees also completed pictorial careers maps, which along with interview recordings were analyzed.

Findings

The key themes to emerge from this research centre upon the factors that draw women into management (which we term seductive elements) as well as some of the hindering practices that prevent women from progressing. Significantly, we find that managerial careers are associated with gendered assumptions and practices (e.g. facilitating and developing people) which contribute to construct management (done by women) as bounded‐up characteristically with “feminized” behaviours.

Research limitations/implications

The research is based upon a relatively small sample that is multi‐sectorial. Wider studies that increase population size, together with deeper studies that hold sectorial variables constant would further add weight to the findings presented here.

Practical implications

The paper draws attention to the “lived reality” of doing management, which, we argue often, for women in particular involves the reconciliation of contradictions and conflicting pressures. We draw attention to the lack of “alternative models” of organization and highlight the potential for gender‐focus mentoring and management education.

Originality/value

The paper is of value in giving voice to a selection of women managers by allowing them to reflect upon and explore their experience of management. The paper also documents the day‐to‐day reality of women's managerial careers that require the re‐enactment and reproduction of stereotypical gender norms.

Details

Equal Opportunities International, vol. 28 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0261-0159

Keywords

Content available
Article

Abstract

Details

Personnel Review, vol. 45 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

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