Exceptional luck? Conducting ethnographies in business organizations

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Anthropological fieldwork methods are increasingly becoming popular with management and business. This paper discusses the experiences of business anthropologists with conducting ethnographies in organizations. Based upon a review of organizational ethnographies and three personal vignettes four issues have been found; access to business organizations, role taking, involvement versus detachment and freedom to publish. To deal with these issues other than traditional anthropological requirements are needed for business anthropologists. It is not so much exceptional luck, but rather a strategic use of one's networks, negotiation skills and social skills to handle these issues. Therefore, business anthropologists need to develop networking and negotiating capacities and commercial sensitiveness to conduct ethnographies in business organizations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-42
Number of pages10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Business anthropology
  • Consultancy
  • Fieldwork
  • Methodology


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