Organizational Ethnography: Studying the Complexities of Everyday Life


Edited by: Sierk Ybema, Dvora Yanow, Harry Wels & Frans Kamsteeg

  • Citations
  • Add to My List
  • Text Size

  • Chapters
  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Copyright

    View Copyright Page

    About the Contributors

    Mats Alvesson is Professor of Business Administration at the University of Lund, Sweden. He is also affiliated with the University of Queensland Business School. He has previously held positions in Montreal, Turku, Linkoping, Stockholm and Goteborg, and has been a visiting academic at the universities of Cambridge, Melbourne, Colorado and Oxford. He received his PhD from the University of Lund in 1984. Research interests include critical theory, gender, power, the management of professional service (knowledge intensive) organizations, organizational culture and symbolism, qualitative methods and the philosophy of science. Recent books include Reflexive methodology, 2nd edition (Sage, 2009, with Kaj Sköldberg), Postmodernism and social research (Open University Press, 2002), Understanding organizational culture (Sage, 2002), Knowledge work and knowledge-intensive firms (Oxford University Press, 2004) and Changing organizational culture (Routledge, 2008, with Stefan Sveningsson).

    Nic Beech is Professor of Management at St Andrews University, Scotland. His research is mainly focused on the social dynamics of organizational life – the intertwining of people's identities, relationships and practices. He has a particular interest in cultural industries and the health sector. Nic is the founding chair of the British Academy of Management's special interest group on identity.

    Simon Down is a Senior Lecturer in Management at the University of Newcastle Business School, UK, and Deputy Director of the Centre for Knowledge, Innovation, Technology and Enterprise (KITE). Beginning his working life as an entrepreneur in the independent music sector, he has published articles on small firm policy, entrepreneurial self-identity, management history and ethnographic methodology. He is the author of Narratives of enterprise: Crafting entrepreneurial self-identity in a small firm (2006), an ethnographic study of a small firm in the UK. He has also conducted ethnographic research in an Australian steel plant on the topic of culture change and self-identity. It is this experience that is discussed in his chapter here.

    Gary Alan Fine is the John Evans Professor of Sociology at Northwestern University. He received his PhD in Social Psychology from Harvard University. For the past 30 years he has conducted a series of ethnographic studies of leisure domains and workplaces, examining the development of small group cultures. These sites include Little League baseball, fantasy role-play gaming, restaurant kitchens, mushroom hunters, art collectors, and government meteorologists. His current ethnographic research examines the social worlds of chess.

    Karin Geuijen teaches Public Management at the Utrecht School of Governance. Her research focuses on European policy networks and on (transnational) discourse coalitions, especially on issues of migration and human rights. Her research focuses on transnational discourse conditions especially in the field of migration and human rights. Her dissertation was on shifting asylum policy within the Netherlands, in comparison with Germany and the United Kingdom. Recent publications include ‘Dutch Eurocrats at work: Getting things done in Europe’ (with Paul 't Hart and Kutsal Yesilkagit), in R.A.W. Rhodes, Paul 't Hart & Mirko Noordegraaf (eds), Observing government elites: Up close and personal (Palgrave MacMillan, 2007) and The new Eurocrats: National civil servants in EU policy making (with P. 't Hart, S. Princen and K. Yesilkagit (Amsterdam University Press, 2008).

    Halleh Ghorashi holds the chair in Management of Diversity and Integration in the Department of Culture, Organization, and Management at the VU University Amsterdam the Netherlands. She is the author of Ways to Survive, Battles to Win: Iranian Women Exiles in the Netherlands and the United States (Nova Science Publishers, 2003). She has published several articles on topics such as identity, diasporic positioning, cultural diversity, and emancipation issues. As an active participant in the Dutch public debates on diversity and integration issues, she has received several awards. Her present research focus is on the narratives of identity and belonging of migrants, along with the processes of exclusion and inclusion in the context of growing culturalism.

    Paul Hibbert is Lecturer in Management at the University of Strathclyde. He is developing a research focus on knowledge, learning and reflexive practice, combined with a continuing interest in inter-organizational collaboration. Paul has published his work in leading international journals, books and practice-oriented publications. His research has received best paper awards from: the Research Methods Division of the British Academy of Management (2008, with co-authors Christine Coupland and Robert MacIntosh); the Critical Management Studies Group of the Academy of Management (2007); and the Identity Division of the British Academy of Management (2006). In addition he received the Academy of Management's Organization, Development and Change Division Rupert F Chisholm award for the best theory-to-practice article (2005, with co-author Chris Huxham).

    Michael Hughes is a Team Leader at a steelmaking plant in Australia. Initially trained in the hospitality industry, he began working in the steelmaking industry in the early 1990s as an operator. He has taken an active part in major departmental workplace change processes in the late 1990s and in his particular section's initial and continuing workplace change. Michael attended the 2003 Asia Pacific Researchers in Organization Studies (APROS) Conference in Oaxaca, Mexico, where he presented an earlier version of this chapter.

    Michael Humphreys is Professor of Organization Studies at Nottingham University Business School. His current research interests include studies of organizational identity narrative and change; innovation and improvisation in teams; public sector management and qualitative research methodology. He has published in a wide range of journals, including Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, Journal of Management Studies, Journal of Organizational Change Management, Organization, Organization Studies, and Public Administration.

    Frans Kamsteeg is Associate Professor in Organization Studies and Anthropology at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the VU University Amsterdam. His research focuses on the question of how ideology and religion shape discourses in (Dutch) civil society organizations. He has published several articles and book chapters on culture and identity problems in non-profit organizations, as well as on the value of organizational anthropology and discourse analysis to management (in Intervention, Journal of Culture, Organization & Management, 2004, 2005). His methodological interest involves the contribution of ethnographic analysis to organizational change processes, and the special position of the anthropologist as change agent. He received a PhD in cultural politics and religion in Chile.

    Robert MacIntosh holds a chair in strategic management at the University of Glasgow's Business School. He completed his PhD in engineering management and his research focuses on strategy development and organizational change. He is also interested in the process of doing research with managers and co-chairs the Action Research SWG of the European Group for Organization Studies. At the moment he is working on a range of projects with the National Health Service and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs in the UK. He also delivers consultancy and executive education to a range of public and private sector organizations. Undermining his credibility as a management researcher, however, is his status as a shareholder in Aberdeen Football Club – not the wisest investment decision, but one filled with hope!

    Peter McInnes is a Lecturer in Management at the University of Strathclyde. Peter's research interests lie in exploring the impact of identity dynamics upon the way in which people understand themselves, each other and the organizations that they are part of. This has seen Peter undertake studies in a number of organizations within both the public and private sectors. His research has been published in such journals as the International Journal of Public Administration and The International Journal of Public Sector Management.

    Brian Moeran is Professor of Business Anthropology in the Department of Intercultural Communication and Management at the Copenhagen Business School and Director of the ©reative Encounters research programme. A social anthropologist by training, he has spent more than 15 years in Japan where he has conducted research on advertising, art marketing, media, popular culture, women's fashion magazines, and fragrance culture. He has published widely in the fields of economic anthropology, media studies, and creative industries.

    Davide Nicolini is Assistant Professor and RCUK Fellow at IKON, the research unit on Innovation Knowledge and Organizational Networks of Warwick Business School. Prior to joining the University of Warwick, he was researching and lecturing at the University of Trento and Bergamo (Italy) and held the position of Senior Social Scientist at the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations in London. His recent work focuses on the development of a practice-based approach to the study of organizational phenomena and its implications for the understanding of knowing, collaboration, and change in organizations. Other areas of interest include the advancement of action-methodologies, the development and use of reflection practices, and their application to learning from accident, safety, and inter-organizational relations. Although these days most of his field work is carried out in healthcare, he has also studied construction sites, factories, public organizations, and scientific labs.

    Peregrine Schwartz-Shea is Professor of Political Science at the University of Utah. Her research on doctoral curricula in methodology has appeared in PS: Political Science and Politics and Perestroika! The raucous rebellion in political science (ed. Kristen Renwick Monroe, Yale University Press, 2005). She is co-editor with Dvora Yanow of Interpretation and method: Empirical research methods and the ‘interpretive turn’ (M. E. Sharpe, 2006). Her current research, also with Yanow, examines US institutional review board policy.

    David Shulman is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Sociology at Lafayette College. He received his PhD in Sociology from Northwestern University. He has published ethnographic research on deception and impression management in the workplace, culminating in From hire to liar: The role of deception in the workplace (Cornell University Press, 2007). He has also published articles on research methods and symbolic interactionism in general and on ethnographic methods in particular. He is presently working on a research study of themed environments.

    Chris Sykes is a Lecturer in the School of Management and Marketing in the Faculty of Commerce at the University of Wollongong. Chris's research interests are in the areas of organizational discourses, practices and knowing. His dissertation and a number of recent publications examine the effects of changing organizational discourse and organizational knowledge in Australian community services organizations. He is a committed action researcher and is currently co-ordinating three learning and teaching projects working with the Australian Business Deans’ Council Learning and Teaching Network.

    Lesley Treleaven is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Economics and Business at the University of Sydney with extensive experience in business education and organizational studies. For over 20 years she has employed various forms of participatory action research with people wanting to inquire collaboratively into everyday organizational life to improve situations. Her work is published in both the Handbook of action research (eds. Bradbury and Reason, 2006) and Participation in human inquiry (ed. Reason, 1994). Her current research interests in organizational practices, change and discourse are informed by applications of feminist poststructuralist theory. She is currently chief investigator on an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant exploring practice-based knowing in community organizations. She is a member of two nationally-funded Australian Learning and Teaching Council grants: ‘Embedding the Development of Intercultural Competence in Business Education’ and ‘Facilitating Staff and Student Engagement with Graduate Attribute Development, Assessment and Standards in Business Faculties’. Details of her publications and research interests are available from her home page

    Kees van der Waal was born in the Netherlands and grew up in South Africa. He studied anthropology at the Pretoria and Rand Afrikaans universities. He worked as a museum anthropologist in Pretoria and then taught at Pretoria, Rand Afrikaans and recently Stellenbosch University, where he is a Professor in Social Anthropology. His research has mainly been done in the Limpopo Province of South Africa and has focused on the following topics: the use of space in Venda, crafts in the informal sector, development intervention in a rural settlement, household dynamics and violence, and local law. He has also worked on the transformation in Afrikaans volkekunde (anthropology) and the various approaches to diversity at Stellenbosch University. His current research focuses on organizational interactions in the context of development interventions in the Dwars River Valley, outside Stellenbosch.

    Tony Watson is Professor of Organizational Behaviour at Nottingham University Business School. He teaches, researches and writes about industrial sociology, organizations, and managerial and entrepreneurial work. Ethnographic research is a special interest. His books include In search of management (revised edition, 2001) and Sociology, work and industry (5th edition, 2008). His current research is in deploying ethnography and using concepts of identity work, narrative, culture and entrepreneurship to study aspects of the beer and public house industries.

    Harry Wels is Associate Professor in the Department of Culture, Organization, and Management, VU University Amsterdam. His research interest is focused on structures of organizational cooperation between often-antagonistic stakeholders in the field of nature conservation and natural resource management in southern Africa. His recent publications include Competing jurisdictions: Settling land claims in Africa (Brill, 2005, with Sandra Evers and Marja Spierenburg) and ‘“Securing space”: Mapping and fencing in transfrontier conservation in southern Africa’ (2006, Space and Culture, with Marja Spierenburg). He is also Director of South Africa-Vrije Universiteit-Strategic Alliances (SAVUSA), which coordinates the Desmond Tutu Programme of VU University Amsterdam and is aimed at generating academic publications on issues relating to South and southern Africa.

    Dvora Yanow holds the Strategic Chair in Meaning and Method at the VU University Amsterdam. Her research has been shaped by an overall interest in the communication of meaning in organizational and policy settings. She is the author of an organizational and policy ethnography, How does a policy mean? Interpreting policy and organizational actions (Georgetown University Press, 1996) and two other books, Conducting interpretive policy analysis (Sage, 2000); and Constructing ‘race’ and ‘ethnicity’ in America: Category-making in public policy and administration (M.E. Sharpe, 2003); and co-editor of Knowing in organizations: A practice-based approach (M. E. Sharpe, 2003) and Interpretation and method: Empirical research methods and the interpretive turn (M. E. Sharpe, 2006). Her published articles treat the role of built space in communicating policy and organizational meanings, organizational learning from an interpretive-cultural perspective, the role of improvisation in methods and management, public policies as collective identity stories, and interpretive philosophies and research methods.

    Sierk Ybema is Assistant Professor in Organization Science in the department of Culture, Organization, and Management at the VU University Amsterdam. His research revolves around processes of politics, identity and sensemaking. He conducted ethnographic research within an amusement park and within the editorial staffs of two newspapers. He has widely published on a variety of issues, including relational and temporal identity talk, managerial discourse and postalgia, culture and ‘symbolism’, intercultural communications, interorganizational relationships, and organizational change and crisis.

  • Annotated Bibliography: Defining ‘Organizational Ethnography’: Selection Criteria

    DvoraYanow and KarinGeuijen

    On several occasions over the last few years, one organizational studies scholar or another has posted an inquiry to some listserve asking for references to organizational ethnographies. The replies have invariably implied the existence of only a few such works, naming the same handful over and again. With the intention, then, of helping to develop this field of study further, we set out to produce a list here. As we intend the book for a wide variety of organizational studies courses, both topical and methodological, it made sense to annotate the entries, by topical theme and by scope of method.

    We are acutely aware that compiling a bibliography such as this is tantamount to worldmaking’ (Goodman, 1978) within in a scholarly field. The ethnographic sensibility that informs our work therefore requires us to reflect on our processes for constructing the list. All such bibliographies must of necessity be incomplete. They are moving targets for several reasons, not least of which is that books are being published all the time, in this case worldwide, and it is difficult to keep up. At the same time, ‘organizational ethnography’ is a relatively new term, and older works would not have been marked with it, making identifying them harder and more subject to individual scholars’ reading habits and evaluative criteria. Within these parameters, deciding what to include and what to exclude required us to engage a fundamental question. The field of organizational ethnography has, after all, no canon, unlike organizational theory, where such a compilation might begin with Max Weber, Henri Fayol, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Luther Gulick, Joan Woodward, Tom Burns and G.M. Stalker, and proceed from there. The list, then, is an artifact of the process that produced it. Others, with other resources, following other processes, might have produced a different list. Out criteria for inclusion (and exclusion) rested on methodological (ethnographic), substantive (organizational), and publication genre grounds, as follows.

    To be counted methodologically as an organizational ethnography and included in this bibliography a work had to meet the threefold criteria identified in the introduction to this book: methods, writing, and sensibility. This means it had to rely on ethnographic methods, or ‘ethnographying’: observing (with whatever degree of participating), talking to people, and the close reading of research-relevant organizational documents, in some combination. The writing had to be in narrative form, with data details more or less thickly described (see Schwartz-Shea and Yanow, Chapter 3, this volume), rather than the more succinct textual form associated with presenting survey research or statistical analyses of various sorts. Finally, the text needed to express the ethnographic sensibility that would convince the reader of the trustworthiness of the author as well as of the findings s/he presented. Sensibility, as noted in the introduction to the book, is a diffuse concept, difficult to define. As it would be hard, in the end, to achieve an ethnographic sensibility in a manuscript without also engaging in the first two characteristics (methods and writing), this point was rendered something of a moot criterion, except in the following circumstance.

    What these selection criteria ruled out methodologically were works relying on interviewing alone, even when their authors claimed to have produced an ethnography. At the same time, we did not rule out ‘mixed methods’ research per se (research combining surveys, for example, with ethnographic methods) as long as the ethnographic part of the research was clearly more than illustrative in the study. This meant that the third criterion – that elusive sensibility – would have to come into play throughout the work. Its presence in the narrative account as well as in the field is a key element in what demarcates an ethnography that also uses interviewing or surveys from an interview- or survey-based study. By comparison, many fictional works (e.g., Lodge, 1988) capture that ethnographic sensibility as they treat life in organizations; but they are based on imagination rather than on systematic, scientific inquiry and do not seek to examine theoretical arguments.

    Other kinds of books presented other issues for our methodological decision-making. We decided to include books based on ethnographic methods containing a key chapter that is an organizational ethnography, but which otherwise would not qualify as fully ethnographic as they have more of a theoretical focus than a ‘site’ focus (for example, Goffman, 1961; Manning, 1977). In these choices, we were swayed once again by the presence of an ethnographic sensibility in parts of the books, even when the entire narrative did not take a strictly organizational ethnographic perspective as its point of departure. We did not, for example, include another study by Goffman (1959) whose focus is much more general-theoretical and is not directly based on ethnographic fieldwork within one or more organizations with a goal of telling the reader about these organizations as such. From a methodological perspective, works such as these raise key questions about the role of generalization in ethnographic research, as well as about the relationship between theorizing and data presentation. We also considered a few books that might be considered ethnographic in written form, but whose methods were not ethnographic, such as Martin (1992). While this work is considered by many to be an important cultural study of an organization, and it does reflect on problems associated with ethnographic writing, as it is based on interviews only rather than on ‘being there’, we have omitted it on methodological grounds.

    Second, we needed to define organization in order to determine whether a work was an organizational ethnography. This proved to be far more difficult than one might guess. Should we, for instance, include studies that explored occupations, professions or other forms of work? This would open the door to a long list of ‘sociology of work’ (and, to a lesser extent, ‘anthropology of work’) research.1 The question of what an organization is has long been the subject of debate, and we will not repeat it here in all its complexities (see, for example, Bolman and Deal, 1984; Fineman et al., 2005; Hatch and Cunliffe, 2006; McAuley et al, 2007; Morgan, 1986; Shafritz et al., 2005). Thinking this through, we decided to use as criteria those research topics that feature in organizational studies scholarship, ranging from structure to processes of organizing, from human relations to politics, from culture to economics (see, for example, Bolman and Deal, 1984; Morgan, 1986), involving various organizational levels, from shop floor workers to middle managers to chief executives, but also including external relations with clients and/or customers, governmental regulators, and other organizations, across a range of organizational types, from government agencies to corporations, health care to education, and so forth. If studies of work were situated in organizational contexts and engaged organizational studies topics such as these, we included them (for example, Abolafia, 1996; Zabusky, 1995). If they focused primarily on characteristics of work absent in an organizational context, we did not (for example, Kolb, 1983). The resulting bibliography reflects the breadth of the organizational studies field.

    Furthermore, to make the research to produce it and its use more manageable, we needed to limit the size of the list, and so we decided to use the publication genre as the criterion. We have included only book length monographs: edited volumes, journal articles, and conference papers have been excluded. To make the list useful internationally, we have included only those works published by university or trade publishers and therefore likely to be publicly available and accessible, leaving out dissertations published by dissertation publishers. For the same reason, we have excluded books that are not written in English (for example, Ybema, 2003), it being today's academic lingua franca in most parts of the world. We recognize that the choice of language and publisher, together with biases embedded within the US-dominated field of organizational studies, have produced a list that is heavily slanted toward studies of Western organizations, from Western-influenced points of view. As the field of organizational ethnography grows, we look forward to a growing number of studies conducted of non-Western organizations and by non-Western-educated scholars (although language will continue to be a decisional Occam's razor).

    The Challenges of Contemporary ‘Organizational’‘Ethnographies’

    Other interesting definitional challenges presented themselves along the way. ‘Organization’ has long referred to an entity with definable boundaries; but new technologies, new global work arrangements, and new types of‘political action’ have led to new organizational forms that depart from traditional ones, with important consequences for the conduct of ethnography itself prosecuted, historically, face to face within a geographically-located and bounded setting.

    New kinds of organizations have come into being that are no longer territorially based in part or in whole. These include network organizations in which different combinations of people work together on a temporary basis to complete a particular project, or ‘action nets’ (interconnected nets of organizing; Czarniawska, 1997) with people working together but located in different places, sometimes even on different continents. Treating ‘organizational studies’ within the context of business, we would have to consider various forms of entrepreneurship; but if we include studies of two-person entrepreneurships (Down, 2006), should we also be considering the single entrepreneur? What about globalized cooperation in entrepreneurship and enterprise cultures based on relationships among business, ethnicity, religion, and nation-state policies such as ex-patriot Chinese doing business in Malaysia and other countries (for example, Dahles, 2007; Koning, 2007). There are also hybrid organizations that combine elements of geographically-based organizations with virtual ones; organizations based on (or at least that enable) telecommuting, with employees working from home or at the client's or customer's organization or in the car. These sometimes result in what look like boundary-less organizations in which the lines between home and work are blurred, much as they were in pre-modern times. New technologies have also enabled new forms of political action and, with them, new forms of organizing, ranging from anti-globalization activism (which potentially links organizational studies to the social movement literature) to A1 Qaeda.

    And then there is the online world: is, for example, an online community an organization? Baym (2000) analyses a soap opera Usenet group, which consists of people who share neither a geographic location nor a set of artefacts, who are not all online simultaneously and who combine aspects of interpersonal communication with mass communication. These forms of communication provide structural resources with which members create practices, norms, relationships, and identities that come to define the group (Baym, 2000: 14). These kinds of activities can be defined as ‘shared engagement in a project’ (ibid, 2000: 22) or as ‘organized institutions of interpretation’ (ibid, 2000: 17).

    Reviewing these studies, it becomes increasingly clear that organizing, in many cases, no longer necessarily takes place, as in our scholarly imaginary (we think) it used to, in one clearly demarcated space in which things are done one at a time. Instead, it is also fragmented, and sometimes done at a much faster pace than formerly: many things happen at the same time, and the people studied are constantly ‘already elsewhere’ (Czarniawska, 2007: 16). As Van Maanen (2001) has noted, developments like these problematize the traditional holistic perspective that organizational ethnographies inherited from anthropological forebears.

    Under these circumstances, what does it mean to conduct an ethnography? Is it multi-sited ethnography (Marcus, 1995), ‘fieldwork on the move’ or moving ethnology’ (Czarniawska, 2007), or is it a ‘virtual ethnography’ (Hine, 2000)? What does an ethnography of a distributed organization look like, or even more so, a virtual one? What would count as ‘being there’ in virtual organizations whose ‘members’ communicate by way of email, discussion forums, and other non-place-specific, non-face-to-face virtual modes, such as Second Life? What is the ‘there-ness’ of the organization, and what happens to ‘observation’, ‘participation’, and ‘ethnographic interviewing’ (Spradley, 1979) when these are mediated by computers, interactive web pages, Skype, instant messaging, and mobile phone messaging? Might there really be a place for relatively faster, shorter ethnographic research (although we continue to resist ‘fly-through’ studies), and how would this achieve the immersion of place-ness that is so central to an ethnographic sensibility? Some textbooks and articles treating these issues from a methods perspective are available (for example, Hakken, 1999), but very few book-length studies have been written showing what such new organizational ethnographies might look like (see, for example, Baym, 2000, for an exception).

    And finally, what about forms of (re)presentation? Under contemporary organizational circumstances, perhaps ethnographic writing needs to expand to include multimedia technologies, either instead of or in addition to paper. We acknowledge Van Maanen's (2001: 239) plea for methodologically broadened, interdisciplinary ethnography: the legitimacy of social observation beyond what he calls ‘the fetish of fieldwork’, the tête à tête of interpersonal interaction. These fundamental shifts in the character of organizing make for interesting assessments of contemporary literature in light of both substantive and methodological definitions rooted in earlier times and their experiences and definitions.

    In sum, then, this annotated bibliography includes often-classical works produced in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s as well as those reflecting a renewed interest since the 1990s. The works included here are wide-ranging both in empirical scope and in theoretical focus. They cover a variety of organizational settings, be these commercial or public (for example, corporations or police forces); political or bureaucratic (for example, members of parliament or the dynamics of bureaucracy); territorially-based or virtual; hierarchically-led or network-shaped. And they take very different theoretical perspectives: examining power relations (for example, managerial or shop floor-focused), the role of agency and context, social or other identities, culture, gender, or interventions and organizational change. The list includes studies of single organizations as well as comparative studies of two or a small set of organizations.

    A Note on Sources

    Bibliography-making is an exercise in category-construction. One relies, first and foremost, on subject categories constructed by librarians using the latest in library science thinking, and categorizing systems proliferate, especially when searching across national boundaries: Library of Congresss (US), Dewey Decimal System (US), PiCarta (NL), Google or Google Scholar, and other internet search engines have made the task easier, on the one hand – one can control one's search terms oneself, generate new combinations of terms, and so forth – but harder, on the other, as the number of entries proliferates beyond control. Moreover, the choice of search terms and of criteria for inclusion/exclusion reflects the purposes for which a bibliography is being constructed, and these themselves reflect a membership of particular epistemic communities and professional networks.

    Our sources included university library and other electronic databases, searching on ‘organisational ethnography’. We also used a kind of ‘snowball method’ applied to the reference lists of our growing bibliography, supplemented by lists from methods articles, book chapters, and books (including, for example, Van Maanen, 2001). We were assisted by lists compiled by others, including Randy Hodson (although in the end we have used it mostly to clarify our thinking about what not to include; see note 1), and ourselves and colleagues for classroom and thesis teaching purposes in the Department of Culture, Organization, and Management at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam.

    1 In a US National Science Foundation-funded project, sociologist Randy Hodson has compiled a list of workplace ethnographies (204 cases, drawn from 156 books), coded for 150 organizational, workforce, human relations, and management variables, each focusing on a specific group of workers within an organization (available at; last accessed 5 June 2008). While this provided an interesting resource, most of the entries did not meet our criteria for organizational studies. The Society for the Anthropology of Work (SAW) of the Amercian Anthropological Association has other resources (; last accessed 18 July 2008).

    Abolafia, M. (1996) Making markets: Opportunism and restraint on Wall Street. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press
    Baym, N. (2000) Tune in, log on: Soaps, fandom and online community. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage
    Bolman, L. and Deal, T. (1984) Reframing organizations. San Franciso, CA: Jossey-Bass.
    Czarniawska, B. (1997) Narrating organizations: Dramas of institutional identity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press
    Czarniawska, B. (2007) Shadowing and other techniques for doing fieldwork in modern societies. Malmö: Liber AB
    Dahles, H. (2007) ‘Creating social capital as competitive advantage in China: Singapore Chinese entrepreneurs venturing into China’, in S.Clegg, Y.Wang and M.Barrell (eds) Business networks and strategic alliances in China. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. pp. 182–208
    Down, S. (2006) Narratives of enterprise: Crafting entrepreneurial self-identity in a small firm. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar
    Fineman, S, Sims, D. and Gabriel, Y. (2005) Organizing and organizations (
    3rd edn
    ). London: Sage
    Goffman, E. (1959) The presentation of self in everyday life. New York: Anchor Books
    Goffman, E. (1961) Asylums: Essays on the social situation of mental patients and other inmates. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books
    Goodman, N. (1978) Ways of worldmaking. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Co
    Hakken, D. (1999) Cyborgs @cyberspace? An ethnographer looks to the future. New York: Routledge
    Hammersley, M. (1992) What's wrong with ethnography? Methodological explorations. London: Routledge
    Hatch, M.J. and Cunliffe, A.L. (2006) Organization theory (
    2nd edn
    ). Oxford: Oxford University Press
    Hine, C. (2000) Virtual ethnography. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage
    Kolb, D. (1983) The mediators. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
    Koning, J. (2007) ‘Chineseness and Chinese Indonesian business practices: A generational and discursive enquiry’, in Can SengOoi and JulietteKoning (eds) ‘The business of identity: To be or notto Chinese’. Special Issue East Asia: An International Quarterly24: 129–52
    Lodge, D. (1988) Nice work. London: Secker & Warburg
    Manning, P. (1977) Police work: The social organization of policing. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
    Marcus, G. (1995) Ethnography in/of the world system: The emergence of multi-sited ethnography. Annual Review of Anthropology24: 95–115
    Martin, J. (1992) Cultures in organizations: Three perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press
    McAuley, J., Duberley, J. and Johnson, P. (2007) Organization theory: Challenges and perspectives. Harlow: Pearson
    Morgan, G. (1986) Images of organization. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage
    Shafritz, J.M., Ott, J.S. and Jang, YS. (2005) Classics of organization theory (
    6th edn
    ). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth
    Spradley, J.P. (1979) The ethnographic interview. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston
    Van Maanen, J. (2001) ‘Afterword’, in DavidGellner and E.Hirsch (eds) Inside organizations: Anthropologists at work. Oxford: Berg. pp. 233–61
    Ybema, S. (2003) De koers van de krant: Vertogen over identiteit bij Trouw en de Volkskrant [Discourses on tradition and transition: Conflict about the newspaper's identity among editors of Trouw and de Volkskrant]. VU University, Amsterdam: published PhD dissertation
    Zabusky, S. (1995) Launching Europe: An ethnography of European cooperation in space science. Princeton: Princeton University Press


    Abolafia, M. (1996) Making markets: Opportunism and restraint on Wall Street. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    Theme: Formal (rules and formal structures) and informal (norms) arrangements are constructed to avoid fraud and manipulation in three different kinds of financial market: futures, bonds, and stocks. Dynamic ‘cycles of opportunism’ are produced by the strategies that individuals and groups employ to handle the tension between individual self-interest and collective, institutional restraints.

    Methods: Fieldwork (observation, interviews, and document analysis) on and near three trading floors between 1979 and 1992: futures market, five years, starting in 1980; bond market traders at four of the ten largest Wall Street investment banks, October 1987–March 1989; New York Stock Exchange floor, 1990–1992.

    Alvesson, M. (1995) Management of knowledge-intensive firms. Berlin: De Gruyter.

    Theme: Management and control structures and processes and their consequences for employees at ‘Enator’, a Swedish computer consulting firm (a knowledge-intensive company) with about 500 employees across some 20 subsidiaries, each with one to 50 employees. Enator worked explicitly with culture as part of management and organizational operations. The study treats 11 corporate phenomena as symbols, among these the building, the business concept, and the project management philosophy course, perceived as ‘keys’ to the cultural understanding of the company.

    Methods: Over a six-month period in 1987, three weeks of participant observation, plus interviews with 35 individuals, averaging 1.5 hours each, with an additional 15 brief conversations and some studies of corporate documents. Central was participation in the company's course on project management philosophy, attended by all employees. Chapter 4 on Qualitative Research and Philosophy of Science; section 4.6 on methods.

    Barker, James R. (1999) The discipline of teamwork: Participation and concertive control. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

    Theme: The process of implementing self-directed work teams in a high-tech manufacturing company, the way team members discipline themselves and each other during this process (‘concertive control’), and its consequences for the work experiences and identities of the team members.

    Methods: Self-described ethnographic organizational culture study from a shop-floor perspective: observations of the manufacturing process, formal and informal meetings of teams, plus hundreds of interviews in day-to-day interactions during three years in the early 1990s at ISE Communications, a Colorado manufacturer of electronic circuit boards used for voice and data transmission equipment.

    Barley, S. and Kunda, G. (2004) Gurus, hired guns and warm bodies: Itinerant experts in a knowledge economy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

    Theme: The shift from permanent employment to contract work for high-tech sector technicians brings them autonomy but also uncertainty, which they cope with by constantly maintaining and updating their human and social capital (their knowledge and networks). Focuses on the diverse reasons for contracting instead of hiring permanent staff and the implications of these new relationships for contractors, managers, and permanent employees.

    Methods: One year of participant observation in three staffing agencies (starting November 1997), life histories with over 70 contractors (during 1998 and 1999), and studies of workers in some Silicon Valley firms that routinely employed technical contractors. Evidence consists of description of the perspectives and practices of people in different occupational groups: details of what the authors saw and heard, the patterns they found in the data, and the sense they made of those patterns.

    Bartunek, J. (2003) Organizational and educational change: The life and role of a change agent group. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

    Theme: The development of identities, actions, and stakeholder relations over seven years (from origin until fading) of a self-managed team, the Network Faculty Development Committee, an initiative to empower experienced teachers within a federated Catholic school system.

    Methods: A longitudinal ethnographic study observing the meetings of the teachers’ network from the mid-1980s to their ending in 1995. Each of the first seven years is described in a separate chapter.

    Becker, H.S., Geer, B., Hughes, E. and Strauss, A. (1961) Boys in white. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Theme: Medical students’ reactions to what they perceive as faculty's unrealistic demands, how they feel about their training in general, their teachers, and the profession that they are training to enter. The focus here is on the formal and informal aspects of the work environment.

    Methods: Participant observation in classes, wards, laboratories, and operating theatres. Particular groups of students were observed intensively for periods ranging from one week to two months, supplemented with informal-casual and formal-structured interviews with 62 students plus faculty. Part I, ‘Background and methods’ (pp. 1–63); ethnographic methods detailed in Chapter 2, ‘Design of the study’ (pp. 17–32).

    Bennett, W.L. and Feldman, M.S. (1981) Reconstructing reality in the courtroom. London: Tavistock.

    Theme: Communication and judgment in trials. Criminal trial is not an objective process, but one organized around plausibility in story-telling and story-hearing which concerns the abilities of the actors involved. Accounts perceived as plausible are well-formed, containing many events that are relevant to the endpoint and numerous causal linkages among the story's elements.

    Methods: An ethnographic study of more than 60 criminal trials in the Superior Court, King County (Seattle), Washington: observation's of court proceedings and in hallways; quasi-interviews and formal interviews. The initial video-taping of an actual trial; later, some communication experiments (with students testing researchers’ theory development), and the analysis of transcripts of trials. Chapter 1 is on methods (pp. 3–18).

    Blau, P. (1963) [1955] The dynamics of bureaucracy: A study of interpersonal relations in two government agencies. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Theme: Investigation of small groups of officials in two government agencies, a state employment agency and a federal law enforcement agency, on the processes of social interaction and the ways in which these relations influenced operations. Focuses on the conditions for change in government agencies and the role of internal tensions and cohesion.

    Methods: Three months of observations of officials in both agencies (offices, field visits, lunches, etc.), but also of reviewers and stenographers, in 1948–49, followed by interviews. The Methodological Epilogue (pp. 269–305) contains a reflective chapter on ‘Fieldwork in Bureaucracy’ (pp. 269–86).

    Bosk, C. (1979) Forgive and remember: Managing medical failure. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Theme: How the medical profession is interpreted, acted on, and defended by professionals as seen through a case study of a surgical training programme, including issues of deviance, medical failure, and social controls. Focus on how professional self-controls are instilled in trainees by the senior surgeons who train them, how privileges and responsibilities to patients and colleagues are conceptualized, and how the professional conscience gets structured.

    Methods: Eighteen months of participant observation of the surgical training programme of Pacific Hospital, an elite medical institution affiliated with a major medical school and university. Observation of two different surgical services: one high research and low clinical-oriented, and the other low research and high clinical-oriented. Surgeons were followed through their daily activities and actively questioned; researchers attended faculty meetings, examined the written evaluations of house officers, and participated as ‘an extra pair of hands’, observing as a ‘fly on the wall’. One-hour conversational interviews with key informants (house staff and attending physicians) followed on from fieldwork.

    Burawoy, M. (1979) Manufacturing consent: Changes in the labour process under monopoly capitalism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Theme: Shop-floor informal culture of ‘playing the game’ of ‘making out’ work practices studied from a Marxist perspective, focusing on the question, ‘Why do workers work so hard?’ Workers bend and break rules in order to maximize individual profits in the piece-work compensation system.

    Methods: Participant observation while working as a miscellaneous machine operator at the engine division of a multinational corporation in Chicago for ten months (July 1974–May 1975) and analysis of managerial records and data, conducted with the explicit consent and knowledge of management.

    Chetkovich, C. (1997) Real heat: Gender and race in the urban fire service. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

    Theme: A study of the role of informal structures in how new recruits to firefighting in Oakland, California gained opportunities from their colleagues and bosses to be where the action was, thereby demonstrating their capabilities and building confidence. Includes analysis of minority men and women in the hostile or offensive environment of a masculine ‘culture’.

    Methods: Eighteen months of ethnographic work at fire stations and during emergency calls (beginning March 1992), including interviews with veterans, members of the administration, etc., and repeated interviews with one class of 38 fire-fighters, including nine women. A subgroup of 26 were observed during their 18 month training period. Towards the end of the fieldwork, the researcher invited responses from members. Includes appendix on methods.

    Cole, R.E. (1971) Japanese blue collar: The changing tradition. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    Theme: The Japanese blue-collar worker's world and behaviour, in the context of Japanese tradition and contemporary industrial relations, including institutional and interpersonal commitments and the consequences these have for strengthening or weakening a Japanese corporate group consciousness.

    Methods: Participant observation for three months as a machine expediter at Takei Diecast Joint Stock Company in Tokyo and for one month on the clutch assembly line at Gujo Auto Parts Company supplemented by formal interviews with 15 workers in each location.

    Collinson, D.L. (1992) Managing the shopfloor: Subjectivity, masculinity and workplace culture. Berlin: De Gruyter.

    Theme: The construction of working-class masculinity on the shop-floor for male manual workers in a North-West England, heavy vehicle manufacturing company ‘Slavs’, through resistance, compliance, and consent to organizational control.

    Methods: Ethnographic research with groups and individuals on the shop-floor as well as on the workers’ bus, the pub, and occasionally in people's homes, starting in 1979, supplemented by formal semi-structured interviews with 64 manual workers from every skilled trade represented in the top and bottom machine shops. Lasting between one and seven hours, and additional informal conversations. Includes appendix on methodology (pp. 233–7).

    Crewe, E. (2005) Lords of Parliament: Manners, rituals and politics. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

    Theme: Power, rules, symbols, rituals, hierarchies, and manners in the House of Lords: the way that Lords are socialized into the ways of the House, the way they establish their reputation, and the power relationships among them.

    Methods: Fieldwork (1989–2000), including interviews [unstructured with 119 peers, 63 staff, 26 others; structured via two questionnaires, 177/1000 peers and 48/349 staff replied], participant observation [informal conversations in offices; observations of Chambers, meetings, commissions selecting staff; shadowing Inspector's interviews with staff; attending parliamentary ceremonies, social functions; visiting homes of three peers; working in jobs like personal assistant, etc.]). Appendix 2: ‘Research methodology’ (pp. 241–7).

    Crozier, M. (1964) The bureaucratic phenomenon. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Theme: Vicious circles in bureaucratic organizations lead to rigidity, and periodic reorganizations and crises are potential motors for organizational change. Linking the meso level to the macro level and treating organizations in their contexts, Crozier finds not only organizational structures but also human activities and power relations as crucial for the outcomes of organizational processes.

    Methods: Ethnographic fieldwork, as well as interviews and a survey (1955–59), in two large government-controlled organizations in France, one municipal administrative (clerical) and the other a state-owned manufacturing/production organization. The second case involved two successive studies: an intensive look at three plants in the Paris area, and a more superficial look at 20 (out of a total of 30) of Monopoly's plants throughout France.

    Czarniawska, B. (1997) Narrating the organization: Dramas of institutional identity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Theme: Case studies of the daily but hidden workings of public sector local administration and social insurance organizations in Sweden, using literary devices like metaphors.

    Methods: An ‘anthropologically inspired’ study (p. 60) in which the author did ‘observant participation’ (p. 66) during 14 months, repeatedly asking her interlocutors, located in various parts of the organizations, to tell her what they had been doing at work over the past two or three weeks, visiting each organization ten to 20 times to observe selected events, plus extensive document analysis. Chapter 3: Interpretive studies of organizations: The logic of inquiry (pp. 54–72).

    Dalton, M. (1959) Men who manage: Fusions of feeling and theory in administration. New York: Wiley.

    Theme: Managers have to manage the lasting tension between official power and unofficial influences which characterizes intra-organizational conflict and compromise in three factories and one department store in a heavily industrialized area of the central United States. Official and unofficial rewards and punishment are resources for managers adapting to diverse circumstances involving formal and informal ‘roles’ and horizontal and vertical ‘cliques’.

    Methods: Formal interviewing, work diaries, participant observation as a member of staff in two of the firms before and during the research period, seeking understanding from a perspective ‘as close as possible to the world of managers’ (p. 1). Role as researcher was covert to management, overt to some of the staff. Appendix on methods (pp. 273–85).

    Delbridge, R. (1998) Life on the line in contemporary manufacturing: The workplace experience of lean production and the ‘Japanese’ model. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Theme: The influence that Japanese management techniques like ‘just-in-time production’ and ‘total quality management’ have had on the way work is organized in ‘transplants’ and other firms and sectors.

    Methods: Ethnographic research: participant observation working on the shop-floor during four months’ immersion. Chapter 2 on methods and methodology (pp. 13–39).

    Down, S. (2006) Narratives of enterprise: Crafting entrepreneurial self-identity in a small firm. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

    Theme: Two entrepreneurs – Paul and John – and their firm ‘Fenderco’ – a small joint venture firm based in a small market town in middle-England designing and selling fendering equipment that stops ship hulls and wharf sides from being damaged in berthing and manoeuvering procedures, with larger and corporate partners based in Europe and Australia – use narrative resources to construct their identity as entrepreneurs. The book also examines the social contexts in which self-identity narratives are spoken.

    Methods: Ethnographic research (observations and interviews) conducted intermittently for two and a half years (1996–1998) hanging around for many hours in the office, on site, at Paul's home, and in the pub. The research depended on narrative accounts by the respondents of their pasts and the choices and decisions they made. Appendix on methods (pp. 118–28).

    Feldman, M. (1989) Order without design: Information production and policy making. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press.

    Theme: How bureaucrats generate information for reports for policy-makers and politicans, and how organizations develop cognitive understandings of issues and problems in their environments and of themselves through the interpretations constructed in these reports. The study focuses on analysts in the policy office of the US Department of Energy, which has to cooperate with the legal office and a programme office in order to create new policies.

    Methods: Observing and participating during one and one-half years as an analyst in the policy office. Observations of meetings and discussions within the policy office and between them and other offices, complemented by interviews and analyses of analysts’ written reports. Chapter 3: ‘Method and data’ (pp. 27–34).

    Fine, G.A. (1996) Kitchens: The culture of restaurant work. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    Theme: The organizational culture, structure, and working conditions in restaurant kitchens, both individually and as part of a larger culinary culture.

    Methods: Participant observation in four restaurant kitchens for one month each (within an eight month period), complemented by interviews with all full-time cooks working in these restaurants. Appendix on methods: An ethnography in the kitchen’ (pp. 233–53).

    Foner, N. (1994) The caregiving dilemma: Work in an American nursing home. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    Theme: Nursing aides in nursing homes are expected to provide care that is responsive to residents’ needs, while at the same time structural or institutional characteristics (e.g., bureaucratic demands, the nursing hierarchy, pressures from patients’ and their own families, ethnicity, gender relations) work against this kind of care. Their informal work culture makes their work life more bearable and also affects patients.

    Methods: Observations of nursing aides and participation as a volunteer (coffee lady, wheeling patients to activities, making beds, etc.) on the patient floors of ‘Crescent Nursing Home’, a 200-bed non-profit skilled nursing facility in New York City, for eight months (1988–89); supplemented by 14 semi-structured in-depth interviews with nursing aides and others with administrative staff, nurses, and patients. Section in Introduction on methods: The field research’ (pp. 4–8).

    Geuijen, K., 't Hart, P., Princen, S. and Yesilkagit, K. (2008) The new Eurocrats: National civil servants in EU policy-making. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

    Theme: Networks of national civil servants who prepare, take and implement decisions in Brussels and their home departments are studied as new modes of governance developing within the European Union. What do these civil servants do when they engage with the EU; how do they negotiate their dual roles as national civil servants and participants in European networks; and how do the ministries in which they are employed enhance or constrain their operations at the EU level?

    Methods: A mixed method study drawing on a large-scale survey among Dutch civil servants; interviews with 49 middle-ranking and top officials in EU veterinary policy committees and police cooperating in local council working groups, and with 28 current and former national expert civil servants (SNEs) seconded by their government to the European Commission; observations of 16 meetings both in Brussels and The Hague; and participant observing of SNEs while working as a trainee at the European Commission. Methods section in Chapter 1 (pp. 24–7).

    Goffman, E. (1961) Asylums: Essays on the social situation of mental patients and other inmates. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

    Theme: An ethnographic study of and theoretical reflection on daily hospital life that seeks to describe how hospital inmates experience the social world in which they live.

    Methods: Ethnographic fieldwork at St. Elizabeth's Hospital, Washington, DC (1955–56), additional brief field research of ward behaviour in the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, Bethesda, Maryland (1954–1957).

    Gouldner, A.W. (1954) Patterns of industrial bureaucracy: A case study of modern factory administration. New York: Free Press.

    Theme: The formation and operation of industrial bureaucracy during changes in management resulting in a leadership succession crisis, developed through a case study of worker-management relations in a gypsum mine and processing plant.

    Methods: Observations of the plant: walking around, observing workers and chatting with them as they worked, to contextualize 174 formal interviews of an hour and a half to two hours on average. One member of the research team – a skilled mechanic – spent a summer working in the mine, and documentary material was also used. Appendix on methods (pp. 247–69).

    Gouldner, A.W. (1954) Wildcat strike. Yellow Springs, OH: Antioch Press.

    Theme: A companion to the previous entry, this study focuses on group tensions during an industrial conflict – a wildcat strike – in a gypsum mine and processing plant.

    Methods: See previous entry.

    Hopgood, S. (2005) Keepers of the flame: Understanding Amnesty International. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

    Theme: Working life inside a major human rights organization, focusing on the moral and practical dilemmas faced by human rights activists, the decisions they make about the nature of the organization's mission, and the struggles over the implementation of that mission. Central to these dilemmas, decisions, and struggles are the tensions between moral authority’ and ‘political authority’ and between ‘the sacred’ and ‘the profane’.

    Methods: Ethnographic fieldwork (2002–2003) at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International, London, drawing on more than 150 semi-structured interviews with staff members, archival research, and observations of day-to-day operations (for example, at internal meetings at all levels), governing meetings of the International Executive Committee, and the supreme policy-making forum of the International Council Meeting.

    Ingersoll, V.H. and Adams, G.B. (1992) The tacit organization. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

    Theme: A symbolic approach to the study of organizations that seeks to reveal what is ‘omnipresent yet tacit’ in organizational life, in the form of ‘(meta)patterns’ and ‘(meta)myths’. The technology of data processing in the Washington State Ferry System – its formats and definitional constraints – can alter the way people conceptualize their work. The organization has roots in a small family business as well as in the state bureaucracy.

    Methods: Observation at the ferry system and the state Department of Transportation, interviews with more than 50 people, and analysis of documents. Afterword on methodology: A symbolic approach to the study of organizations’ (pp. 251–60).

    Jackall, R. (1988) Moral mazes: The world of corporate managers. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Theme: How corporate life within large bureaucracies, including internal political struggles and leadership at all levels, relates to questions of organizational and managerial morality.

    Methods: Fieldwork in three companies – Fall 1980 to mid-1982 in one, Fall 1980 to mid-1983 in the second, and early 1982 through 1985 in the third – with 143 intensive semi-structured interviews and 40 re-interviews, often three or four times, with managers at every level. Findings were discussed with 12 managers during six meetings with each. Jackall also did non-participant and participant observation in formal and informal settings; he studied 13 cases of organizational dissenters, conducted interviews with 18 whistleblowers, and analysed relevant documents (company literature directed at managers and internal documents detailing organizational actions and stances on specific issues). Methods discussed in Chapter 1 and specified in author's note (pp. 205–6).

    Jankowski, M.S. (1992) Islands in the street: Gangs and American urban society. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    Theme: Jankowski finds an entrepreneurial spirit, not risk, turf or violence, to be the driving force behind urban gangs seen as quasi-rational business organizations. The first part of the book deals with the internal dynamics of gangs: individual decisions to join a gang; how gangs recruit and function and what factors influence their behaviours; how the organization supports itself through gang members’ economic activities and what factors influence whether or not they are successful; the nature and causes of violence and how individual members and organizations cope with it; and gangs’ relations with their local communities. The second part of the book turns to gangs’ relations with the world outside the local community: urban politics, various government agencies, the criminal justice system, and the media.

    Methods: Comparative ethnographic research on 37 gangs in a diversity of neighbourhoods in different cities – Los Angeles (13 gangs), New York City (20) and Boston (four) – ranging from working class to extremely poverty stricken, varying in size from 34 to more than 1000 members, and from different ethnic backgrounds (including Irish, African-American, Puerto Rican, Chicano, Dominican, Jamaican, and Central American, but not Asian). The researcher introduced himself to each gang leader as a professor who wanted to write a book comparing gangs over a period of ten years (1978–1989) and also interviewed people representing the official agencies or positions within society.

    Jaques, E. (1970) The changing culture of a factory: A study of authority and participation in an industrial setting. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

    Theme: A study commissioned by the Works Council explores the way a light engineering firm of 1500 employees tries to understand itself by interpreting how the large-scale problems of British industry are reflected in its own social development.

    Methods: What the author calls a ‘field theory approach,’ in which researchers and their clients share responsibility for the research through a joint analysis of the problem, also sees the observer himself as one factor in determining his observations. The text of the report was subjected to rigorous criticism both by members of the firm and by the Works Council.

    Johnson, K. (1998) Deinstitutionalising women: An ethnographic study of institutional closure. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Theme: A study of deinstitutionalization's impacts on 21 women living in a closed unit in a large institution for people with mental disabilities. The author finds in this process a paradoxical discourse of rights and management.

    Methods: Participant observation during 20 months of daily life and meetings at Hilltop's Unit N, interviews with staff, and analysis of documents and files.

    Kamsteeg, F.H. (1998) Prophetic Pentecostalism in Chile: A case study on religion and development policy. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press.

    Theme: A Chilean nongovernmental organization is analyzed as an instrument of Pentecostal politics whose goal is to produce religious change and raise Pentecostal social and political consciousness. The estrangement of NGO staff and ordinary church folk is an unintended outcome of the development discourse that increasingly separated development and religion.

    Methods: Participant observation in three church congregations and a development-related nongovernmental organization in Santiago, Chile (1991–1992), with more than 100 visits to community activities (church services, Sunday School, youth group meetings, special occasions), plus 30 in-depth interviews with church leaders and members, as well as participant observation and interviews among NGO staff and the analysis of relevant policy documents. Chapter 2, ‘Studying Latin American Pentecostalism’, contains a section on methodology (pp. 37–42) and the methods applied (pp. 42–57).

    Kanter, R.M. (1977) Men and women of the corporation. New York: Basic Books.

    Theme: Corporate power in relation to the careers and self-images of people who are seeking upwardly mobile careers, focusing on managers (men) and secretaries, wives, and the occasional token manager (women) at the ‘Industrial Supply Corporation’.

    Methods: The author was a consultant, participant-observer, and researcher, conducting multiple research projects over a five year period: on site during 120 days consulting and doing participant observation in meetings and training programs, conducting 120 staff interviews, group discussions, and other conversations, plus 500 written surveys and content analysis of performance appraisal forms. Appendix on methodology (pp. 291–8).

    Kaufman, H. (1960) The forest ranger. Baltimore, MD: Published for Resources for the Future by Johns Hopkins Press.

    Theme: Top managers in the US Forest Service, a large, dispersed organization, are able to shape the behaviour of field officers into a coherent programme through unifying techniques, which are partly explicit and partly implicit.

    Methods: The researcher immersed himself in the culture he proposed to describe, in an anthropological manner of gathering data doing field research in five districts (one week each), where he held conversations with the field officers, supplemented by observation.

    Kondo, D. (1990) Crafting selves: Power, gender and discourses of identity in a Japanese workplace. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Theme: A Japanese-American studies work in Tokyo, comparing employees’ self-construction with Western notions of the self.

    Methods: Participant observation through living in a Tokyo neighbourhood, working in a beauty salon and in a small factory making goods to be sold in the bakery/confectionary across the street, supplemented with interviews with co-workers and people met elsewhere.

    Kotter, J. (1983) The general managers. New York: Free Press.

    Theme: Study of 15 ‘successful’ male white executives in generalist or general-management jobs drawn from nine private corporations spread out across the United States in the late 1970s, focusing on questions about the nature of general-management jobs, the type of people who tend to be or become effective in such jobs, and what exactly it is that effective general managers do on a daily basis. He found that complexity was the central issue in their work lives.

    Methods: An ‘observational and self-report study’ conducted between 1976 and 1981. Each individual was studied for almost a month's time, spread over the course of a year. Interviews (30–60 minutes) were done with the key people with whom each general manager worked, and several interviews of three to four hours total were done with each general manager. Each was also given a background questionnaire to fill out. A follow-up revisit took place four to seven months later, with observations over one-and-a-half to two days. Appendices on methods: Appendix A, The study (pp. 155–62); Appendix B, Interview guides (pp. 163–4); Appendix C, Questionnaires (pp. 165–74).

    Kunda, G. (1992) Engineering culture: Control and commitment in a high-tech corporation. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

    Theme: A high tech engineering firm, the management of which explicitly tries to manage the organizational culture, is studied as an attempt at normative control of the employees, both engineers and staff. Research evidence shows that this attempt is met with ambivalence, ranging from enthusiasm to reluctant compliance to rebellious resistance. The final result of this ‘cultural engineering’ is a fragmented rather than a more integrated culture, with a considerable number of people dis-identifying with the official engineering culture.

    Methods: A realist-style ethnography conducted in 1985: January to June in a staff group; June to December at ‘SysCom’: observations of daily work life, including meetings; interviews with staff. Kunda entered the organization as a management consultant, and later he became a full-time observer. Appendix on methods (pp. 229–40).

    Latour, B. and Woolgar, S. (1979) Laboratory life: The construction of scientific facts. London: Sage.

    Theme: Anaysis of day-to-day work in the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, California, looking at the production of scientific knowledge, specifically, the ways in which some stories come to be accepted as scientific knowledge and others do not.

    Methods: Observations of the routine work carried out in a laboratory conducting scientific research (October 1975–August 1977), supplemented by formal interviews and the study of documents and literature produced by scientific staff at the laboratory.

    Law, J. (1994) Organizing modernity. Oxford: Blackwell.

    Theme: Processes of ‘ordering’ and organizing in formal organizations, and the role of social technologies of controlling, as distinct from the idea of a ‘single social order’, which Law perceives as the ‘dream or nightmare’ of modernity. Ethnography and writing are treated as yet another process of ordering, and Law invites the reader to watch him during his study.

    Methods: Two years of ethnographic fieldwork at Daresbury Laboratory, a nuclear radiation research centre in Great Britain: interviewing, sitting in on meetings, and also observing experiments.

    Leidner, R. (1993) Fast food, fast talk: Service work and the routinization of everyday life. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    Theme: How routinization works in service jobs and the outcomes it produces, looking at the relations among routinization, skill, control, interaction, and self in two cases and exploring how they go about routinizing the work of employees who deal with the public. Both companies faced two basic challenges: to standardize the behaviour of employees, and to control the behaviour of customers. They differed on the extent of efforts to affect workers’ personalities, the workers’ gender, and the degree of supervision, as well as on how the interests of managers, workers, and service-recipients were to be aligned.

    Methods: Interviewing and participant observation at McDonald's and Combined Insurance: attending corporate training programmes and interviewing executives to study the companies’ goals and strategies for routinization, followed by doing or observing the work and interviewing interactive service workers to explore how the routines worked out in practice. Section on methods in Chapter 1, ‘The research’ (pp. 14–17). Two appendices with reflections on the research process: Appendix 1, Researching routinized work (pp. 233–48); Appendix 2, Revising the script at Combined Insurance (pp. 249–56).

    Lutz, C. and Collier, J. (1992) Reading National Geographic. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Theme: An organizational ethnography of National Geographic, looking at the ways readers view photos, the structure and content of these images, and the organizations that produce them – the National Geographic Society the photographers, the editors of the magazine, etc.

    Methods: Twenty-five interviews were conducted with photographers, editors, and other staff members in the summers of 1989 and 1990. Observations of meetings of the National Geographic Society were done during that same time. In addition, an analysis was done of 600 randomly selected National Geographic photographs from 1950 to 1986 in relation to the larger wholes of the genre and its socio-cultural context. Interviews were conducted with and observations were done of the behaviour of readers of the magazine.

    Manning, P. (1977) Police work: The social organization of policing. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

    Theme: A ‘dramaturgical perspective’ on the dilemmas of policing, this study claims that the police have resorted to the dramatic management of the appearance of effectiveness, being faced with massive discrepancies between their claims (the police must dramatize the appearance of control of crime in order to gain public support) and their accomplishments (they cannot in fact control crime; they cannot possibly fulfill the ever-increasing public demand for an ever-higher level of public order and crime prevention).

    Methods: Extensive fieldwork with a subdivision of the London Metropolitan Police (1973), with observation during 84 hours of walking home beats, riding in police cars, and sitting in the reserve room (the main information room of the station), the canteen, and in the office of the chief superintendent, supplemented by interviews, statistical analysis, and assistance to officers by collating phone and teleprinter messages received at the station. The researcher also drew on data from a study of two narcotics enforcement units in metropolitan Washington, DC.

    Mayo, E. (1933) The human problem of an industrial civilization. Boston: Harvard University Press.

    Theme: Mayo perceives organizations as ‘social systems’ in which informal rules and norms, mutual support within a work group, and other social-psychological factors are at least as important for motivating organizational performance as classical (Taylorist) individualist approaches. A classic study that paved the way for the Human Relations movement in organizational studies.

    Methods: Experiments (Western Electronic Company: Hawthorne experiments in two experimental rooms), interviews and observations. During more than two years (1928–30), over 21,000 employees were personally interviewed (for one half to one and one-half hours) by 30 interviewers to find out their attitudes toward their work. During the last phase of the research project, one or two researchers made daily observations of the individuals in a department.

    Moeran, B. (2006) Ethnography at work. Oxford: Berg Publishers.

    Theme: How do advertisements come into being and why? Focusing on a case study of an advertising campaign made by Asatsu, a Japanese advertising agency, for the International Division of Frontier, a Japanese electronics manufacturing organization, the author looks at six central issues, among them ‘follow the money’, ‘advertising talk’, ‘impression management’, and ‘creativity’. Comparing managers in professional settings to ethnographers, he suggests that while managers may fill roles common to ethnographers, they cannot be true ethnographers until they remove themselves from the situation.

    Methods: A year of ethnographic fieldwork studying the day-to-day working life of people designing advertisement campaigns and trying to persuade clients to use their services.

    Morrill, C. (1995) The executive way: Conflict management in corporations. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Theme: The causes of conflict among high level American corporate executives, and the multitude of covert and overt ways these executives dispute with one another.

    Methods: A realist ethnography (1984–1986) consisting of interviews with over 200 executives and their support personnel at 13 companies (in the construction, manufacturing, professional, and services sectors), observations and informal interviews of executives and their staff; formal executive interviews; follow-up formal interviews with key informants; and analysis of historical data and documents. Appendix A: ‘Anatomy of an ethnography of business elites’ (pp. 229–55).

    Ogasawara, Y. (1998) Office ladies and salaried men: Power, gender, and work in Japanese companies. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    Theme: The complexities underlying the apparent dominance of men over women in Japanese offices, where female clerical workers (‘office ladies’) are seen by both men and women as utterly powerless. This book reveals the subtle and not-so-subtle ways in which these women manipulate men, subverting the power structure to their advantage by using informal means of control like gossip, outright work refusal, and public gift giving. The men must accede to these manipulative strategies in order to retain their power.

    Methods: Six months of covert participant observation in a large bank in Tokyo, working as an ‘office lady’, including over 100 interviews with salaried men, their wives, and current and former office ladies. Appendix A: ‘Data and methods’ (pp. 169–77).

    Ong, A. (1987) Spirits of resistance and capitalist discipline: Factory women in Malaysia. New York: State University of New York Press.

    Theme: Disruptions, conflicts, and ambivalences in the lives of Malay women working in Japanese factories in Malaysia, caught between their Malay community culture and the culture of capitalism.

    Methods: Over one year of participant observation living in post-colonial Malaysia.

    Orr, J. (1996) Talking about machines: An ethnography of a modern job. New York: Cornell University Press.

    Theme: The ‘oral culture’ of Xerox copy machine field service technicians repairing machines in their clients’ offices and meeting together over lunch, where talk about the machines is instrumental to their success.

    Methods: Participant observation of the day-to-day activities of copier repair technicians, after an initial training as a technician.

    Parker, M. (2000) Organizational culture and identity: Unity and division at work. London: Sage.

    Theme: Organizational culture is at the same time general and specific in that it always develops in relation to the local environment, organizational history, and macro developments. Specific attention is devoted to cultural identities and power relations between and within ‘categories’: dynamic groups which are constructed around different themes in organizations. As a result of these interplays, organizations tend to develop at least three categories: functional, generational, and geographically-based groups.

    Methods: Three case studies of organizations in Britain – a manufacturing company (cookers), a financial sector organization (building society), and a hospital (within the UK's National Health Service) – between 1988 and 1998. Each case study took at least 18 months and involved document analysis; formal semi-structured interviews with higher status employees (managers, directors, and doctors); informal interviews and conversations; observations of day-to-day activities and meetings; and a month of‘shadowing’ an employee at the hospital. Appendix on methods (pp. 235–41).

    Perlow, L. (1997) Finding time: How corporations, individuals, and families can benefit from new work practices. Ithaca, NY: IRL Press (an imprint of Cornell University Press).

    Theme: What is necessary for individual software engineers in a product development team to succeed in the existing work culture at ‘Ditto’, a Fortune 500 corporation, chosen because of its reputation as a leader in implementing flexible work policies to address employees’ work/life conflicts. The ‘vicious work time cycle’ – a system of rewards that perpetuates crises and continuous interruptions, while discouraging cooperation – results in work practices that damage both organizational productivity and the quality of individuals’ lives outside of work.

    Methods: A nine-month participant observer study of the software group, with about four days per week on site, arriving early and leaving late, shadowing some of the engineers, attending meetings, and conducting formal interviews with each of the 17 members of the software team. Members of the team were also asked to write down their work and life activities during three randomly selected days. Perlow made home visits and interviewed spouses, as well as attending social events. Methodological Appendix: A research tale (pp. 141–8).

    Pettigrew, A. (1973) The politics of organizational decision-making. London: Tavistock.

    Theme: Power and conflict in the context of a series of innovative decisions concerning computer purchases in ‘Brian Michaels’. The goal of the study was to map the historically developed power resources (e.g., information) of the participants in this process and the way they used these resources to promote their interests.

    Methods: Participant observation four days a week (September 1966 to December 1969) beginning with the training programme in the systems department, where the team working on the computer decision was housed, including interviewing, diary keeping, questionnaires, and content analysis of documentary data. Interview data, which included an historical orientation, were checked with documentary material, such as company reports, correspondence, and internal memos. Chapter 4: The research process (pp. 52–75)

    Ram, M. (1994) Managing to survive: Working lives in small firms. Oxford: Blackwell.

    Theme: The day-to-day activities and dilemmas of managers and workers, including ethnic characteristics, in smaller Asian clothing firms in the UK Midlands. ‘Negotiated paternalism’ in management-labour relations is characterized ‘neither by autocracy nor by harmony’, but is a situation in which ‘negotiated obligations are constructed and re-constructed’.

    Methods: Ram worked for years in this industry as a manager and consultant before beginning the directed case study research, which is based on a year-long study of three clothing firms in the West Midlands. He began with semi-structured interviews with 16 owner-managers, followed by observational fieldwork over a four month period and then regular weekly visits for a year. Ram is reflexive about the ‘messy’ process of fieldwork, especially the role of ‘exchange’ between researcher and researched in ‘managing fieldwork roles’. Chapter 2 on methodology (pp. 22–39).

    Rosen, M. (2000) Turning words, spinning worlds: Chapters in organizational ethnography. Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers.

    Theme: A collection of previously published articles decoding market rules in the New York worlds of advertising (two chapters on ‘Spiro's’), finance (three chapters on an insurance company and the New York Stock Exchange), and drug dealing.

    Methods: Participant observer ethnography, in which the author reflects on the uses of ethnographic methods in organizational studies. The foreward and two chapters take up organizational ethnography.

    Selznick, P. (1949) TVA and the grass roots: A study in the sociology of formal organization. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    Theme: A study of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and the results of its policy of administering its programme, particularly in the agricultural field, through the use of local institutions. What price is paid in bureaucratic life when ideology becomes a resource in the struggle for power?

    Methods: One year's observations in daily contact with personnel at TVA; a number of weeks in intensive contact with extension service personnel in the field; plus interviews with TVA personnel and an analysis of gossip channels and files.

    Shore, C. (2000) Building Europe: The cultural politics of European integration. London: Routledge.

    Theme: Study of the cultural politics of European integration and the organizational culture of the European Commission: how the European Commission attempted to create a single Europe and a single European identity by using culture – several instruments, among them Euro-symbols and statistics, European citizenship, and the single currency (the Euro) – as a tool for bringing about a sense of cohesion and belonging among Europeans. This study provides some interpretations for the ‘seemingly endemic’ fraud and corruption the Commission had to cope with at the time of the study.

    Methods: Ethnographic fieldwork – immersion in daily activities, plus in-depth interviews and cross-check or follow-up interviews – carried out among European Union civil servants and politicians in Brussels between 1993 and 1997, including two periods of four and six months for intensive fieldwork. Methods section within the introductory chapter (pp. 7–11).

    Smith, V. (1990) Managing in the corporate interest: Control and resistance in an American bank. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    Theme: This case study of restructuring at the American Security Bank’, a large multi-branch California bank, critiques management philosophies that blame middle-management rigidity for corporate problems. Middle-management behaviour is rational when perceived from the middle managers’ own perspectives: they have their own goals (here, increasing productivity) that may differ from strategic management's goals (‘cutting bureaucratic slack’).

    Methods: ‘Involved observations’ taking 75 hours in two week-long management training seminars (1985). Interviews were conducted with other managers about their seminar experiences, as well as with the corporate trainers; and open interviews were conducted with 60 bank-employees (operations middle managers, supervisors, and the management development personnel of three major divisions of the bank). Observations of the production process were done before, during, and after the interviews, and documentary sources were also analyzed. Section on methods (pp. 20–7); appendix on observations (pp. 201–3).

    Tompkins, P. (1992) Organizational communication imperatives: Lessons of the space program. Los Angeles, CA: Roxbury Press.

    Theme: ‘Organizational forgetting’ and effective communication strategies at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Centre, including an organizational failure in the Challenger Program.

    Methods: Observations, interviews with principals, close readings of historical documents over a period of 25 years, starting in 1967 in the role of consultant, returning to interview top management in 1990, four years after the Challenger accident. A first-person narrative employing three points of view: ‘first-person observer, first-person participant, and the objective point of view’ (p. viii). Preface on methods (pp. vi-ix).

    Watson, T.J. (1994) In search of management: Culture, chaos & control in managerial work. London: International Thomson Business Press.

    Theme: The nature of managerial work at the British ‘ZTC Ryland’ plant (3000 employees), which develops, makes and sells telecommunications products. Insights into basic organizational activities and the processes that managers in the 1990s used as they coped with both traditional business pressures and the newer ideas of pursuing ‘excellence’ through changing cultures and ‘empowering’ employees. This study was arranged as a secondment from business school, with one of the key tasks to develop a scheme identifying and expressing the management competencies which ZTC Ryland would use in selecting and developing its managers for the future (see appendix, pp. 225–8).

    Methods: One year of participant observation and conducting formal and informal interviews, working alongside managers while at the same time studying them and producing the scheme on the base of dialogues with them. He explicitly takes Melville Dalton's Men who manage as the study's predecessor in methods as well as theme. Reflective section on methods within the Introduction: ‘Into the field: Revealing the ethnographer's hand’ (pp. 6–8).

    Wels, H. (2003) Private wildlife conservation in Zimbabwe: Joint ventures and reciprocity. Leiden: Brill.

    Theme: This case study of the identifying processes of reciprocal exchange between joint venture partners in private wildlife conservation focuses on cooperation started in the 1990s, when the Land Question became crucial in the politically explosive situation in Zimbabwe, between the Savé Valley Conservancy (SVC, an organization established in June 1991 by 24 white commercial local cattle farmers) and its neighbouring black communities (communal farmers), represented through the Savé Valley Conservancy Trust (SVCT). The SVC considered the Trust as its gift to the black communities and with that interpretation created an expectation for reciprocity: SVC would redistribute some of the economic benefits from its wildlife utilization programme, and in return the communities would respect the boundaries of the SVC instead of violating them through poaching.

    Methods: Observations of the workings of SVC and its Conservancy Committee Meetings, interviews with its members and broad historical, socio-political and socio-cultural contextualizations.

    Whyte, W.F. (1948) Human relations in the restaurant industry. New York: McGraw Hill.

    Theme: Human relationships in the restaurant industry and the way these took shape under wartime conditions, comparing abnormal with normal situations and behaviours.

    Methods: A one-year (1944–1945) intensive field study of 12 Chicago restaurants, with interviewing in 13 others, including seven in other cities. Whyte and three research assistants first conducted interviews with employees, supervisors, and executives concerning their human relations problems. Second, each of the researchers spent between one and six months performing various restaurant jobs (in some cases on the restaurant's payroll). Third, observations were done of the interactions among the various people who made up a restaurant. Appendix: A note on research (pp. 359–68).

    Wolcott, H. (1973) The man in the principal's office: An ethnography. Austin, TX: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

    Theme: The day-to-day activities of a suburban elementary school principal, including the time devoted to various administrative activities, dilemmas faced, feelings, and how his many life roles affect and are affected by his role as principal, as reflected in his self-perceptions and others’ perceptions of his behavior. Wolcott devotes particular attention to the principal's role as mediator among the various groups comprising the network of relationships that develop among his staff, parents, school system officials, and school-children, and himself.

    Methods: An intensive case study shadowing ‘Edward Bell’ at all his work activities at the Taft School’ in a middle-sized American city (1966–1968), supplemented by interviews with 15 members of the staff and written questionnaires. Wolcott was a teacher and a vice-principal at an elementary school himself before doing this study.

    Yanow, D. (1996) How does a policy mean? Interpreting policy and organizational actions. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.

    Theme: Organizational and public policy meanings are often expressed and communicated through symbolic language, objects, and acts. Analysis of these may explain unarticulated and sometimes conflicting meanings that characterize processes of devising and implementing policy by different actors.

    Methods: Participating and observing in two government corporation community centers in Israel (November 1972–February 1973 and mid-March 1973–August 1975). Between September 1980 and February 1981 Yanow did follow-up interviews (including formal interviews with 37 people), document analysis, and further observations.

    Young, M. (1991) An inside job: Policing and police culture in Britain. Oxford: Clarendon.

    Theme: A study of British police practices as they occur on the ground in urban areas: how detectives in this insulated and conservative institution frequently assume sexist, racist and violent roles to play out their macho dramas’, ‘stage-managing the arbitrary and changing face of crime’ by creating ‘crime figures’ and manipulating ‘detection rates’.

    Methods: ‘Observing participation’ by a career officer drawing on insider knowledge of Northumbria Police and West Mercia Police, having worked as a policeman in the Drugs Squad for ten years before being seconded in mid-career to the university, reading anthropology, and then writing this book. Chapter 1: Participant observation of police practice (pp. 1–56).

    Zabusky, S. (1995) Launching Europe: An ethnography of European cooperation in space science. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Theme: The complex processes involved in cooperation on space science missions in the contemporary context of European integration within the European Space Agency do not depend on a ‘homogenizing of interests in a bland unity’ but instead consist of ‘ongoing negotiation of and conflict over often irreconcilable differences’. Some of these differences are technical (e.g., those of science), some political (e.g., European integration). Participants on space science missions make use of these differences, particularly those manifest in work and nationality identities, as they struggle together not only to produce space satellites but also to create European integration.

    Methods: Fieldwork (September 1988–August 1989) at the Space Science Department of the European Space Research and Technology Center (part of the European Space Agency) at Noordwijk, The Netherlands, consisting of observations of day-to-day work practices – like engineering sessions at the laboratory – and meetings, doing semi-structured and unstructured interviews with cooperating staff scientists, and having informal conversations at social events. Published material and other written documents were also analysed. Section on methodology in Chapter 1 (pp. 41–6).

    Zald, M. (1970) Organizational change: The political economy of the YMCA. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Theme: A sociological study of the adaptation of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) to technological, ideological and social changes and the role of the organization's economic and political structures in this process. The YMCA combines changes in policies, personnel, and power relations with maintaining and revitalizing what Zald terms their ‘traditional political economy’.

    Methods: Ethnographic fieldwork with a sociological disciplinary (rather than cultural) focus (1961–1964) at the metropolitan Chicago YMCA, in combination with historical analysis, observations of meetings, qualitative interviews, and a questionnaire administered to all professional staff and a sample of board members (1962). Several hundred hours of interviewing with board members, secretaries, professional staff members, and volunteers, plus observations of staff, the board of managers, the board of trustees, various committees, and the general secretaries’ cabinet meetings. Participant-observation in the board of managers’ planning committee (Fall 1963–Summer 1964), plus two weeks interviewing (1967) in the office and selected departments. Section on methods in Preface (pp. xiii-xvii).

    • Loading...
Back to Top

Copy and paste the following HTML into your website