09 June 2016

A New Home for Ethnography: The Use and Legacy of Ethnography by Anthropologists and Non-Anthropologists

Rhiannon and I are currently completing an article that looks at ethnography at this moment in time. One thread in this discussion is the way in which ethnography is used by non-anthropologists or anthropologists working outside academia.

One of my recent favorites has been Dr. Linda Hill's work on Creativity and Management.

In Dr. Hill's talk about How to Manage for Collective Creativity, she states:
I'm an ethnographer. I use the methods of anthropology to understand the questions in which I'm interested. So along with three co-conspirators, I spent nearly a decade observing up close and personal exceptional leaders of innovation. We studied 16 men and women, located in seven countries across the globe, working in 12 different industries. In total, we spent hundreds of hours on the ground, on-site, watching these leaders in action. We ended up with pages and pages and pages of field notes that we analyzed and looked for patterns in what our leaders did. The bottom line? If we want to build organizations that can innovate time and again, we must unlearn our conventional notions of leadership.

By looking at the various ways ethnographic methods are used by anthropological practitioners and non-anthropologists alike, it is instructive to revisit the question of what defines 'ethnographic methods' apart from other qualitative and quantitative research methods?

We'll check back in to this question once our article is closer to its release date.