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Organizational Ethnography

Studying the Complexity of Everyday Life

Sierk Ybema VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands
Dvora Yanow Wageningen University, The Netherlands
Harry Wels VU University, Amsterdam
Frans H Kamsteeg VU University, Amsterdam
© 2009   304 pages   SAGE Publications Ltd   
Individual Purchasers
Paperback ISBN: 9781847870469 £34.99
Hardcover ISBN: 9781847870452 £98.00
Ebook ISBN: 9781446248188
Electronic Inspection Copy available for instructors here

Just as newspapers do not, typically, engage with the ordinary experiences of people's daily lives, so organizational studies has also tended largely to ignore the humdrum, everyday experiences of people working in organizations. However, ethnographic approaches provide in-depth and up-close understandings of how the 'everyday-ness' of work is organized and how, in turn, work itself organizes people and the societies they inhabit.


Organizational Ethnography brings contributions from leading scholars in organizational studies that serve to unpack an ethnographic perspective on organizations and organizational research. The authors explore the particular problems faced by organizational ethnographers, including:


- questions of gaining access to research sites within organizations;

- the many styles of writing organizational ethnography;

- the role of friendship relations in the field;

- problems of distance and closeness;

- the doing of at-home ethnography;

- ethical issues;

- standards for evaluating ethnographic work.


This book is a vital resource for organizational scholars and students 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.

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