Get 20M+ Full-Text Papers For Less Than $1.50/day. Start a 14-Day Trial for You and Your Team.

Learn More →

“Sometimes you don’t know how to move” cultural savviness and learning the ropes of bureaucracy

“Sometimes you don’t know how to move” cultural savviness and learning the ropes of bureaucracy PurposeRecent works by organisational anthropologists have identified bureaucracy as a major challenge for unskilled workers in the global economy. Daily encounters with bureaucratic processes only enhance general feelings of inadequacy, frustration and insecurity experienced by social groups who have to rely on precarious work. However, a focus on people’s homespun strategies and on the role of the non-profit sector in helping them to navigate bureaucracy is still incipient. The paper aims to discuss these issues.Design/methodology/approachThe research, ethnographic in its approach, unveils some of these challenges by drawing on 29 interviews with migrant workers in a third sector organisation in Manchester, UK. It explores migrants’ work experiences and aspirations, and the strategies used to navigate the bureaucracy embedded in the organisation of their lives. Informed by the different roles the researcher performed at the centre and by the inter-disciplinary nature of the projects, the methodology includes interviews, participative observation, analysis of life story narratives and drawings, and participation in community workshops.FindingsWhile acknowledging that bureaucracy can keep people in liminal spaces and enhance their sense of insecurity, this paper reveals how personal aspirations and the ability to make connections across different social networks provide the much needed drive that enables migrants to acquire language skills, a tool that helps them to learn the ropes of bureaucratic processes, become culturally savvy, and leave the stage of quasi-citizenship.Originality/valueResponses highlight the significance of recent welfare reforms and reveal adaptive mechanisms to deal with resulting uncertainties, which include the use of a variety of social networks, learning hew digital and language skills, and seeking specialized knowledge found in organisations in the third sector. The study also questions the taken-for-granted rationality of bureaucracy, unveiling its messy and ambiguous logic. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Organizational Ethnography Emerald Publishing

“Sometimes you don’t know how to move” cultural savviness and learning the ropes of bureaucracy

Journal of Organizational Ethnography , Volume 8 (2): 15 – Jul 8, 2019

Loading next page...
 
/lp/emerald-publishing/sometimes-you-don-t-know-how-to-move-cultural-savviness-and-learning-FV00QU33Yo
Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
2046-6749
DOI
10.1108/JOE-01-2018-0005
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

PurposeRecent works by organisational anthropologists have identified bureaucracy as a major challenge for unskilled workers in the global economy. Daily encounters with bureaucratic processes only enhance general feelings of inadequacy, frustration and insecurity experienced by social groups who have to rely on precarious work. However, a focus on people’s homespun strategies and on the role of the non-profit sector in helping them to navigate bureaucracy is still incipient. The paper aims to discuss these issues.Design/methodology/approachThe research, ethnographic in its approach, unveils some of these challenges by drawing on 29 interviews with migrant workers in a third sector organisation in Manchester, UK. It explores migrants’ work experiences and aspirations, and the strategies used to navigate the bureaucracy embedded in the organisation of their lives. Informed by the different roles the researcher performed at the centre and by the inter-disciplinary nature of the projects, the methodology includes interviews, participative observation, analysis of life story narratives and drawings, and participation in community workshops.FindingsWhile acknowledging that bureaucracy can keep people in liminal spaces and enhance their sense of insecurity, this paper reveals how personal aspirations and the ability to make connections across different social networks provide the much needed drive that enables migrants to acquire language skills, a tool that helps them to learn the ropes of bureaucratic processes, become culturally savvy, and leave the stage of quasi-citizenship.Originality/valueResponses highlight the significance of recent welfare reforms and reveal adaptive mechanisms to deal with resulting uncertainties, which include the use of a variety of social networks, learning hew digital and language skills, and seeking specialized knowledge found in organisations in the third sector. The study also questions the taken-for-granted rationality of bureaucracy, unveiling its messy and ambiguous logic.

Journal

Journal of Organizational EthnographyEmerald Publishing

Published: Jul 8, 2019

References

You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.


DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Search

Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly

Organize

Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.

Access

Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

DeepDyve

Freelancer

DeepDyve

Pro

Price

FREE

$49/month
$499/year

Save searches from
Google Scholar,
PubMed

Create folders to
organize your research

Export folders, citations

Read DeepDyve articles

Abstract access only

Unlimited access to over
18 million full-text articles

Print

20 pages / month