DW_SWG 15: New Ways of Writing Organizational Ethnography

Heidi Dahles
Griffith University, Australia
Juliette Koning
Brookes University Oxford, UK
Geneviève Musca
Université Paris Ouest, Nanterre La Défense, France

Call for Applications



While conventional thinking views Organizational Ethnography (OE) basically as a method, i.e. fieldwork, OE is also – and, according to many ethnographers, most of all – a way of writing. Ethnographic descriptions are mediated through diverse genres of writing. Since Clifford Geertz' (The Interpretation of Cultures, New York: Basic Books, 1973) appeal for 'thick descriptions' – a textual arrangement of research data which presents a case in terms of coherently constructed interpretations – much has changed in the practice of ethnographic writing. Through their writings, ethnographic researchers have come to contest the idea of communicating a coherent insider’s view of a society. The very act of interpreting necessitates an inquiry into the researcher’s role and meaning making processes of which the researcher is a part. In this genre, writing ethnography turns into a reflexive process in which ethnographers critically assesses their role in the research and the establishment of the findings. Moreover, changing requirements of academic achievement encourage ethnographers to explore new ways of publishing fieldwork that divert from the classic ethnographic monograph.

The main aim of this workshop is to produce a stronger paper outline based on an earlier submitted draft paper that presents ethnographic data. In order to achieve this aim, the workshop will instruct participants about diverse genres of ethnographic writing in order to show how these genres might usefully be applied to studies of organizations of all kinds. In addition, the challenges of reflexive writing will be discussed, examples of good practice will be provided and alternative ways of writing OE will be explored.

The workshop will take place on Wednesday, July 3, 2013, 9:00am–15:00pm.



This Development Workshop targets organizational scholars from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds and interests wishing to enhance their knowledge of and skills in ethnographic writing. All scholars interested in developing their papers towards publishable articles are invited to apply to this workshop on "New Ways of Writing Organizational Ethnography". However, preference will be given to the PhD and early career scholars. To be considered as an early career scholar, the applicant needs to have completed his/her doctoral/PhD thesis within the last three years. All applicants are required to have hands-on experience in ethnographic research.

Please submit – via the EGOS website! – a single document of application that includes:

  • On the first page: a short letter of application containing full details of name, address (postal address, phone and email), affiliation (date of PhD completion for early career scholars), a statement of why the applicant considers it valuable to attend the workshop as well as an indication of what journal(s) the paper is likely to be submitted to.
  • A draft paper based on ethnographic data that you want to develop to a publishable stage.
Heidi Dahles is Full Professor of International Business & Asian Studies at the Griffith Business School, Griffith University, Australia. Her research interest is in transnational entrepreneurship. She has published in peer-reviewed journals such as 'Culture & Organization', 'East Asia. An International Quarterly', 'Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship' and 'Journal of Enterprising Communities'. Among her recent books are "Capital and Knowledge. Changing Power Relations in Asia" (co-edited with Otto van den Muijzenberg, 2003) and "Multicultural Organizations in Asia" (co-edited with Loh Wei Leng, 2006). Heidi is Review Editor for the 'Journal of Business Anthropology' and co-editor of 'ASIA MATTERS – Business, Culture & Theory'.
Juliette Koning is Senior Lecturer in Organizational Anthropology at the Department of Business and Management, Oxford Brookes University, UK. Her current research focuses on business, leadership, identity, ethnicity and religion in Southeast Asia. Books and (co-)edited volumes include "Generations of Change" (2004), "Rope Walking and Safety Nets" (2006) and "Chinese Indonesians and Regime Change" (2011). Recent publications are contributions to 'East Asia. An International Quarterly' (2007, 24), 'Inside Indonesia' (2009, 95), 'Copenhagen Journal of Asian Studies' (2009, 27), 'International Journal of Business Anthropology' (2012, 3) and an edited volume on "Christianity in Asia" (Routledge, 2009) and "Entrepreneurship in Context" (Routledge, 2011).
Geneviève Musca is Associate Professor in Strategy Management and Organization at Université Paris Ouest, Nanterre La Défense, France. She is currently acting as coordinator of the "Darwin expedition" research project, an ethnographic study of a climbing expedition across the Cordillera Darwin range in Patagonia, sponsored by France's National Research Agency (ANR). She has previously held management positions in private sector organizations (telecom industry, the media). She published in journals such as 'M@n@gement' and 'Revue Française de Gestion'. Her current research focuses on competences dynamics and teamwork in practice in turbulent environments.