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Ethnographic sensitivity and current recordkeeping

Ethnographic sensitivity and current recordkeeping The purpose of this paper is to report on the application of information culture analysis techniques in the workplace. The paper suggests that records managers should use ethnographic sensitivity, if they want to have a constructive dialogue with records creators and users, and effect positive change in their organisations.Design/methodology/approachTwo pilot studies were conducted in university settings for the purpose of testing an information culture assessment toolkit. The university records managers who carried out the investigation approached the fieldwork ethnographically, in the sense that they were interested in the perspectives of their end users, and tried to understand their information cultures, rather than imposing their recordkeeping concepts and procedures.FindingsInformation culture analysis was of practical utility in large complex organisations, providing an insight into behaviours, motivations, and most importantly promoted reflection and dialogue among organisational actors.Originality/valueThe paper raises awareness of the diversity of professional skills and knowledge required by records practitioners. It emphasises that to remain relevant to their organisations, records managers have to be receptive and sensitive to cultural influences. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Records Management Journal Emerald Publishing

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
0956-5698
DOI
10.1108/rmj-08-2017-0021
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to report on the application of information culture analysis techniques in the workplace. The paper suggests that records managers should use ethnographic sensitivity, if they want to have a constructive dialogue with records creators and users, and effect positive change in their organisations.Design/methodology/approachTwo pilot studies were conducted in university settings for the purpose of testing an information culture assessment toolkit. The university records managers who carried out the investigation approached the fieldwork ethnographically, in the sense that they were interested in the perspectives of their end users, and tried to understand their information cultures, rather than imposing their recordkeeping concepts and procedures.FindingsInformation culture analysis was of practical utility in large complex organisations, providing an insight into behaviours, motivations, and most importantly promoted reflection and dialogue among organisational actors.Originality/valueThe paper raises awareness of the diversity of professional skills and knowledge required by records practitioners. It emphasises that to remain relevant to their organisations, records managers have to be receptive and sensitive to cultural influences.

Journal

Records Management JournalEmerald Publishing

Published: Aug 6, 2018

Keywords: Universities; Ethnography; Information culture

References