Most of us work in or for one, but there are surprisingly few sustained analyses of the problems and peculiarities of organizations. Anthropologists are increasingly turning their attention to the study of western organizations, and this timely collection addresses the pleasures and pitfalls of ethnographic research undertaken across a range of organizational contexts. From museums to laboratories, health clinics, and multinational businesses, leading anthropologists discuss their fieldwork experiences, the problems they encountered, and the solutions they came up with. This book highlights the practical, political and ethical dimensions of research in organizations. Among issues vividly described are the relations between gender and politics in organizational hierarchies. How are sexual politics played out and experienced in health clinics? How does a business manager's personal biography affect the relationships within the organization as a whole? How are language and metaphor used to refigure the way people think about and act in organizations? Institutions often have well-defined procedures for bringing in visitors and guests. When is the anthropologist an insider to the organization, and when an outsider? What ethical issues arise when researchers are caught between observing organizations and participating in their work? In answering these and other questions the authors consider both the current status and future prospects for organizational ethnography. Comprehensive and varied, the book represents an invaluable aid to anyone interested in the politics and complexities of working life.
'This is a signal, and essential, contribution to the literature of social theory and research.' Choice '...A useful contribution to a growing field.' The Australian Journal of Anthropology 'This well-written and coherently edited volume presents an interesting collection of research in organization. It makes reading easy by grouping the ethnographic chapters topically into business, science, pulic service, and development...this volume gives the reader rich insight into the anthropological study of organizations.' Martin Ortlieb, The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute