Work-worlds colliding: Self-reflexivity, power and emotion in organizational ethnography

Gilmore, Sarah
Kenny, Kate
Gilmore, Sarah, & Kenny, Kate. (2015). Work-worlds colliding: Self-reflexivity, power and emotion in organizational ethnography. Human Relations, 68(1), 55-78. doi: 10.1177/0018726714531998
While organizational ethnographers have embraced the concept of self-reflexivity, problems remain. In this article we argue that the prevalent assumption that self-reflexivity is the sole responsibility of the individual researcher limits its scope for understanding organizations. To address this, we propose an innovative method of collective reflection that is inspired by ideas from cultural and feminist anthropology. The value of this method is illustrated through an analysis of two ethnographic case studies, involving a â pair interviewâ method. This collective approach surfaced self-reflexive accounts, in which aspects of the research encounter that still tend to be downplayed within organizational ethnographies, including emotion, intersubjectivity and the operation of power dynamics, were allowed to emerge. The approach also facilitated a second contribution through the conceptualization of organizational ethnography as a unique endeavour that represents a collision between one â world of workâ : the university, with a second: the researched organization. We find that this â collisionâ exacerbates the emotionality of ethnographic research, highlighting the refusal of â researchedâ organizations to be domesticated by the specific norms of academia. Our article concludes by drawing out implications for the practice of self-reflexivity within organizational ethnography.
SAGE Publications
Publisher DOI
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Ireland