Doing ethnography in a paranoid organization: an autoethnographic account

Doing ethnography in a paranoid organization: an autoethnographic account Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine what we can learn from an autoethnographical approach about public administration. In this context it presents and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of autoethnography. Design/methodology/approach – The paper is based on a case study of E-rail, a European national rail service subject to extensive negative press coverage. The autoethnographic accounts, based on interviews, observations, phone calls, e-mails, and other informal interactions with the organizational members, highlight the researcher’s entry to and exit of the organization. Findings – The paper mobilizes fieldwork access negotiation and trust building with participants as empirical material in its own right, arguing that challenges involving “being in the field” should be explored to provide new types of knowledge about the organizational phenomenon under study – in this case the rise of organizational paranoia. Originality/value – This paper uses autoethnography, which is rare in public administration studies, and discusses the distinct features of autoethnography as an ethnographic approach to public organizations. It argues that autoethnographic accounts of fieldwork relationship highlight and challenge the boundaries of the kind of research questions we might ask – and the kind of answers we might provide – about public administration. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Organizational Ethnography Emerald Publishing

Doing ethnography in a paranoid organization: an autoethnographic account

Journal of Organizational Ethnography, Volume 4 (2): 15 – Jul 13, 2015

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
2046-6749
D.O.I.
10.1108/JOE-07-2014-0020
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine what we can learn from an autoethnographical approach about public administration. In this context it presents and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of autoethnography. Design/methodology/approach – The paper is based on a case study of E-rail, a European national rail service subject to extensive negative press coverage. The autoethnographic accounts, based on interviews, observations, phone calls, e-mails, and other informal interactions with the organizational members, highlight the researcher’s entry to and exit of the organization. Findings – The paper mobilizes fieldwork access negotiation and trust building with participants as empirical material in its own right, arguing that challenges involving “being in the field” should be explored to provide new types of knowledge about the organizational phenomenon under study – in this case the rise of organizational paranoia. Originality/value – This paper uses autoethnography, which is rare in public administration studies, and discusses the distinct features of autoethnography as an ethnographic approach to public organizations. It argues that autoethnographic accounts of fieldwork relationship highlight and challenge the boundaries of the kind of research questions we might ask – and the kind of answers we might provide – about public administration.

Journal

Journal of Organizational EthnographyEmerald Publishing

Published: Jul 13, 2015

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