Testing relevance and applicability: reflections on organizational anthropology

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Standard

Testing relevance and applicability: reflections on organizational anthropology. / Karsten, Mette Marie Vad.

In: Journal of Organizational Ethnography, Vol. 9, No. 2, 30.01.2020, p. 159-172.

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Harvard

APA

CBE

MLA

Vancouver

Author

Karsten, Mette Marie Vad. / Testing relevance and applicability: reflections on organizational anthropology. In: Journal of Organizational Ethnography. 2020 ; Vol. 9, No. 2. pp. 159-172.

Bibtex

@article{1a0070a130cb4ee696269201ea25bfb1,
title = "Testing relevance and applicability: reflections on organizational anthropology",
abstract = "Purpose: Starting from the challenges and implications of doing organizational ethnography within the organization which the researcher is also employed by, the purpose of this paper is to reflect upon the idea of “passing the test” in relation to such ethnographic endeavor. The paper discusses how “collaboration” on projects and in product development processes with colleagues/informants is a precondition for passing “tests,” which unfolded as subtle, verbalized demands made by colleagues/informants during fieldwork. Design/methodology/approach: Longitudinal anthropological fieldwork was carried out as part of an industrial PhD project, which investigates digitization as organizational, professional and social practices in the Danish construction industry. The fieldwork lasted on/off from April 2017 to December 2018. Various forms of participant observation and collaborative ethnographic methods were used during fieldwork. Findings: The paper investigates how these “tests” focused on two key aspects: the relevance of anthropology in a profit-oriented, technical corporate organization; and the application of anthropological theories and ethnographic methodologies for the benefit of product development, usability studies and organizational change. It is argued that the tests were passed through collaborative engagements, where the author oscillated between positions as collegial insider and outside researcher for the dual benefit of both commercial interests and research interests. Originality/value: The paper suggests that daring to collaborate and co-create products (as something different than texts) during organizational fieldwork for the benefit of both corporate and ethnographic interests offers strong possibilities for keeping ethnography relevant and applicable, passing tests in organizational settings and advancing ethnography{\textquoteright}s impact in the world.",
keywords = "Applied research, Collaborative ethnography, Informants as colleagues, Organizational anthropology, ETHNOGRAPHY, CULTURE",
author = "Karsten, {Mette Marie Vad}",
year = "2020",
month = jan,
day = "30",
doi = "10.1108/JOE-01-2019-0005",
language = "English",
volume = "9",
pages = "159--172",
journal = "Journal of Organizational Ethnography",
issn = "2046-6749",
publisher = "Emerald Group Publishing",
number = "2",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Testing relevance and applicability: reflections on organizational anthropology

AU - Karsten, Mette Marie Vad

PY - 2020/1/30

Y1 - 2020/1/30

N2 - Purpose: Starting from the challenges and implications of doing organizational ethnography within the organization which the researcher is also employed by, the purpose of this paper is to reflect upon the idea of “passing the test” in relation to such ethnographic endeavor. The paper discusses how “collaboration” on projects and in product development processes with colleagues/informants is a precondition for passing “tests,” which unfolded as subtle, verbalized demands made by colleagues/informants during fieldwork. Design/methodology/approach: Longitudinal anthropological fieldwork was carried out as part of an industrial PhD project, which investigates digitization as organizational, professional and social practices in the Danish construction industry. The fieldwork lasted on/off from April 2017 to December 2018. Various forms of participant observation and collaborative ethnographic methods were used during fieldwork. Findings: The paper investigates how these “tests” focused on two key aspects: the relevance of anthropology in a profit-oriented, technical corporate organization; and the application of anthropological theories and ethnographic methodologies for the benefit of product development, usability studies and organizational change. It is argued that the tests were passed through collaborative engagements, where the author oscillated between positions as collegial insider and outside researcher for the dual benefit of both commercial interests and research interests. Originality/value: The paper suggests that daring to collaborate and co-create products (as something different than texts) during organizational fieldwork for the benefit of both corporate and ethnographic interests offers strong possibilities for keeping ethnography relevant and applicable, passing tests in organizational settings and advancing ethnography’s impact in the world.

AB - Purpose: Starting from the challenges and implications of doing organizational ethnography within the organization which the researcher is also employed by, the purpose of this paper is to reflect upon the idea of “passing the test” in relation to such ethnographic endeavor. The paper discusses how “collaboration” on projects and in product development processes with colleagues/informants is a precondition for passing “tests,” which unfolded as subtle, verbalized demands made by colleagues/informants during fieldwork. Design/methodology/approach: Longitudinal anthropological fieldwork was carried out as part of an industrial PhD project, which investigates digitization as organizational, professional and social practices in the Danish construction industry. The fieldwork lasted on/off from April 2017 to December 2018. Various forms of participant observation and collaborative ethnographic methods were used during fieldwork. Findings: The paper investigates how these “tests” focused on two key aspects: the relevance of anthropology in a profit-oriented, technical corporate organization; and the application of anthropological theories and ethnographic methodologies for the benefit of product development, usability studies and organizational change. It is argued that the tests were passed through collaborative engagements, where the author oscillated between positions as collegial insider and outside researcher for the dual benefit of both commercial interests and research interests. Originality/value: The paper suggests that daring to collaborate and co-create products (as something different than texts) during organizational fieldwork for the benefit of both corporate and ethnographic interests offers strong possibilities for keeping ethnography relevant and applicable, passing tests in organizational settings and advancing ethnography’s impact in the world.

KW - Applied research

KW - Collaborative ethnography

KW - Informants as colleagues

KW - Organizational anthropology

KW - ETHNOGRAPHY

KW - CULTURE

U2 - 10.1108/JOE-01-2019-0005

DO - 10.1108/JOE-01-2019-0005

M3 - Journal article

VL - 9

SP - 159

EP - 172

JO - Journal of Organizational Ethnography

JF - Journal of Organizational Ethnography

SN - 2046-6749

IS - 2

ER -