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 8: At-Home Ethnography: Struggling with Closeness and Closure1
At-Home Ethnography: Struggling with Closeness and Closure1
It is rare that academics study the lived realities’ of their own organizations. There may be good reasons for this. It is difficult to study something one is heavily involved in. One may fear that those targeted for study might experience breaches of trust. Personal involvement should not necessarily rule out inquiry however, as that is linked with intimate knowledge, which means involvement may be as much a resource as a liability. Feelings of organizational loyalty requiring that one not expose ‘backstage’ conditions may lead to, or be an excuse for, self-discipline and subordination to conventions of proper behaviour which otherwise are taken for granted.
Understanding organizations calls for the micro-anchoring’ of more ...