A Meta-Analysis of Workplace Ethnographies:Race, Gender, and Employee Attitudes and Behaviors
AbstractWorkplace ethnographies suggest many hypotheses about the effects of organizational characteristics on employee attitudes and behaviors. These hypotheses, however, are difficult to evaluate by considering each ethnography individually. The current article uses qualitative comparative analysis of content-coded data from the full population of workplace ethnographies to provide a fuller evaluation of the lessons these ethnographies have to offer. The hypothesis that women are happy and quiescent workers receives only limited support. Women actually evidence less satisfaction and pride in their work than men, but they are more cooperative and less conflictual than men. Autonomy is the most consistent determinant of positive workplace attitudes, a finding that is consistent with survey-based research. These findings thus both confirm and condition prior conclusions about the workplace and suggest the importance of systematically compiling the findings of workplace ethnographies to evaluate and benchmark conclusions based on ethnographic analysis.