Much of the ‘mystery’ of organizational life is hidden in plain sight in individuals' everyday communications and everyday practices. Ethnographic approaches provide in-depth and up-close understandings of how the everyday-ness of work is organized and how work organizes people in everyday organizational life.

Organizational Ethnography brings contributions from leading scholars in organizational studies that help to develop an ethnographic perspective on organizations and organizational research. The authors explore the special problems faced by organizational ethnographers, from questions of gaining access to research sites to various styles of writing ethnography, the role of friendship relations in the field, ethical issues, and standards for evaluating ethnographic work.

This book will be a useful resource for organizational scholars doing or writing ethnography in the fields of business and management, public administration, education, health care, social work, or any related field in which organizations play a role.

Getting Going: Organizing Ethnographic Fieldwork

Getting going: Organizing ethnographic fieldwork
Keesvan der Waal


The work of ethnography is to make the exotic familiar and the familiar exotic, to problematize what is taken for granted, to ‘suggest in writing what it is like to be someone else’ (Van Maanen, 2001: 235). A characteristic of ethnography is its criticality its radical challenge to received ideas about people and society (Bate, 1997: 1153). In this book, the core question is: what is the contribution of the ethnographic approach to the study of organizations in both familiar and exotic settings? Organizational processes dominate our lives more markedly than ever before over large parts of the globe, given the articulation of complex production and consumption processes that connect us to more people ...

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