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.
Chapter 5: Making the Familiar Strange: A Case for Disengaged Organizational Ethnography
Making the Familiar Strange: A Case for Disengaged Organizational Ethnography
I never saw the east coast
until I moved to the west …
I never saw the morning
until I stayed up all night
I never saw your sunshine
until you turned out your lovelight babe
I never saw my hometown
until I stayed away too long
Ethnographic fieldwork typically involves the development of close connections between the ethnographer and the subjects and situations being studied (Hammersley and Atkinson, 2007; Lofland, 1995; Prasad, 2005); that is, living with and living like those who are studied’ in order to understand what the anthropologist Malinowski first called the ‘native's point of view’ (Van Maanen, 1988: 2, 49–50). In order to understand ‘what goes ...