مطالعه موردی قوم نگاری(ECS): مدل سازی مردمشناسی و بهبود ارتباط در تحقیقات بازاریابی کسب و کار
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|19628||2010||15 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Industrial Marketing Management, Volume 39, Issue 1, January 2010, Pages 25–39
By extending interpretative methods to business settings, this paper formalizes a model of Ethnographic Case Study (ECS) built upon extensive literature review and abductive elaboration of two-year fieldwork on 12 Italian companies. Objectives and related contributions are twofold. First, key compulsory and complementary stages of ECS marketing research are presented for business contexts. Second, the paper envisions the quality of the knowledge generated through the ECS inquiry, and argues that the methodological peculiarities of this approach may help reduce the relevance gap affecting business research. The systematic cooperation between researchers and practitioners along the ECS phases may benefit relevance through (i) the fine tuning of reciprocal expectations, (ii) the sharing of the research experience, (iii) the multiplication of the beneficiaries of the findings granted by ECS, and (iv) the participation in the process of knowledge dissemination. In this light, the ECS model supports the convincement that methods are not only a way to theory validation but also to theory discovery.
Matthyssens and Vandenbempt (2003: 595) have recently attributed the qualification of ‘contexts of discovery’ to contemporary business environments by acknowledging their increasing dynamism, complexity and unstructured conditions. From the epistemological and methodological viewpoints, this implies extending the timeframe of analysis and the range of methods applicable to business research by means of longitudinal and multidisciplinary approaches (Colarelli O'Connor, Rice, Peters, & Veryzer, 2003). More precisely, business research may profit from extensive, sounder application of interpretative methods ( Gummesson, 2003: 491–492), which potentially allow thicker descriptions of organizational reality and richer representations of companies' lived experience. The so-called interpretative approach postulates that individuals' sensemaking processes and behavioral responses reflect the way they interpret information and facts personally experienced ( Rabinow & Sullivan, 1979). As such, relations, including those occurring within organizations and marketplaces at large, are strongly affected by the social construction of meanings through interpretative practices. Sailing along the interpretative stream, Cova and Salle have similarly commented how the IMP group has frequently ritualized the maintenance of traditional research methods and the clear cut separation between business and consumer research in order to reassert the IMP collective identity (Cova & Salle, 2003: 11). Instead, the same authors argue that the ‘IMP ritual scapegoat’ could be better sacrificed so as to welcome alternative ways to represent business contexts in more vivid, meaningful terms (Cova & Salle, 2003: 13–14). The paper is positioned within the emergent stream of contributions exploring the potential of the interpretative methods — and ethnography in particular — for business research (Borghini et al., 2006, Cova and Salle, 2003, Pettigrew, 1979, Rinallo and Golfetto, 2006 and Van Maanen, 2006), where business and organizational research are used here as synonyms to address those fields of inquiry where companies are the main focus of investigation, regardless of their industry of belonging and of the consumer/industrial nature of the goods/services being traded. By focusing on the ethnographic investigation of business cases, the paper discusses the specificities of data collection and interpretation within organizational settings while parallely commenting how ethnography may benefit the relevance of business research. Thus, attention is directed here to the application of ethnography to organizational case study research and to the methodological and epistemological implications of diverting ethnography from the traditional consumer side. By bridging the two separate domains of organizational ethnography (to list but a few, see reflections by John Van Maanen, 1979 and Van Maanen, 2006; Michael Rosen, 1991) and case study research (among others, on single case study, see Robert Yin's 1994 milestone work, while on multiple case study confront Kathleen Eisenhardt, 1989) this work documents the formalization of the Ethnographic Case Study method (ECS). To date, in fact, we lack theoretical and methodological contributions on ethnographic case analysis, since previous works are basically examples of applied organizational ethnography both on single (e.g. Carlile, 2002 and Carlile, 2004 Gioia and Chittipeddi, 1991, Rinallo and Golfetto, 2006 and Vaast and Levina, 2006) and multiple business cases (e.g. Borghini et al., 2006, Meyer et al., 2005 and Staudenmayer et al., 2002). As such, these studies remain focused on the presentation of purely research specific findings and thus do not help elaborate a more generalizable model of ECS research. Relying on extensive literature review of organizational ethnography (Table 1) and on abductive reasoning (Dubois and Gadde, 2002 and Van Maanen et al., 2007: 1149) stimulated by a two-year ethnographic study on 12 companies operating in Italy, I illustrate and discuss here a model for conducting Ethnographic Case Study research (ECS) in business settings. By ECS I signify the application of the ontological, epistemological and methodological features of ethnography to a theoretically selected set of business cases. As stated above, previous studies applying business ethnography mainly show the following limitations. First, these works seldom question — nor they theorize — the methodological aspects of doing ethnography within organizational settings, and therefore leave business scholars without structured ideas of how ethnographic inquiry may be replicated in other business environments. Second, these papers mostly relate to the organizational literature more than to the marketing one. So, my contribution tries to conceptualize the methodological features of ECS, while additionally tailoring such reasoning to the marketing realm. Complementarily to the formalization of the ECS model, the paper illuminates the improvements obtainable in terms of the relevance of business research (Starkey & Maden, 2001: 3). In particular, the ECS approach can be conceptualized as a means to manage the trade off between conceptual knowledge and instrumental knowledge (Pelz, 1978: 349). In so doing, I argue the ways ECS research is framed, applied, deployed for theory generation and eventually disseminated help reconcile the needs of theoretical and epistemological validity endorsed by the scientific community with the quest for easily applicable theory to managers' everyday decisions. Table 1. Reviewing business research conducted through ethnographic techniques. Author(s) (alphabetical order) Topic Empirical setting Method(s) Single vs multiple case Fieldwork temporal extensiona Bechky (2003) Occupational communities and shared knowledge/meaning Semiconductor equipment manufacturing company Ethnography + document analysis Single Mildly extended Borghini et al. (2006) Ongoing information search of industrial buyers at trade shows Eleven trade fairs in the textile-apparel and wood-furniture industries Ethnography (tracking, interviewing and observation) and desk analysis Multiple Extended Carlile (2002) The paradoxical role of knowledge in new product development One fuel system valves company Ethnography Single Mildly extended de Rond, and Bouchikhi (2004) The dialogical lecture of interorganizational alliances One alliance between a major pharmaceutical firm and a biotechnology start-up Ethnographic interviews and archival research Single (as presented in the paper) Extended Gioia, and Chittipeddi (1991) The role of meaning attribution and participation in organizations' strategic changes One multi-sited public US university Ethnography + follow-up distant observation Single Extended Kellog et al. (2006) Communities' cross-boundaries coordination praxes One web-interactive marketing company Ethnographic interviewing and observation Single Limited Meyer (1982) Adaptation to organizational jolts 19 hospitals Brief ethnography (on three hospitals) and survey, pictorial diagrams and organizational charts on the whole sample Multiple Limited (Brief) Meyer et al. (2005) Nonlinear change in organizational fields Six conferences on nanotechnologies Methodological bricolage, including ethnography and natural history Multiple Extended Pettigrew (1979) Social dramas elaboration in organizational settings One British boarding school founded in 1934 Longitudinal field analysis + retrospective analysis Single Extended Rinallo, and Golfetto (2006) Concentration in trade fair collective events Première Vision trade fair in the clothing fabric industry Ethnography and document analysis Single (considering the trade fair under observation) Extended Staudenmayer et al. (2002) The role of temporal shifts in organizational change Three technology intensive companies Desk ethnography (ethnographic interpretation of secondary data) Multiple Extended (2 out of 3 cases) Vaast, and Levina (2006) Organizational redesign in IT contexts One European insurance company Ethnography Single Extended Van Maanen (1975 and following) Motivation, commitment and need satisfaction of patrol officers Union City Police Department Ethnographic participant observation + questionnaires Single Extended a Limited (brief) = less than one year fieldwork; mildly extended = around one year fieldwork; extended = multi-year fieldwork. Table options As such, the paper is oriented to: (i) formalize a general model of Ethnographic Case Study marketing research in organizational settings; and (ii) illustrate how ECS research may ultimately help overcome the so-called ‘relevance gap’ (Starkey & Maden, 2001: 3) through direct, ongoing cooperation between researcher(s) and practitioner(s) involved in the study. The collaborative ethnographic fieldwork is discussed parallely to the illustration of objectives, researcher's and practitioner's roles, and tools deployable along the key phases of inquiry (details available in Fig. 1). In so doing, the paper denies any ‘cookbook like approach’, since the general model should not be intended as an automatic plot exempt from the need for contextualization imposed by the specificities of the selected business cases. It rather constitutes a preliminary though partial attempt to provide business researchers with a general grid to critically enter the ethnographic investigation of contemporary business environments. Full-size image (80 K) Fig. 1. A model of Ethnographic Case Study (ECS). Figure options Consistent with the objectives declared above, the paper is articulated in five sections. Firstly, I illuminate the theoretical and empirical foundations of the ECS model proposed hereafter, including (i) the theoretical review of the literature on organizational ethnography and (ii) the field study stimulating my abductive reasoning. Then, I address the two research questions. In the third section, in fact, I detail the ECS model by maintaining the separation between the fieldwork (i.e. data collection and interpretation) and textwork stages (i.e. writing). In the fourth section, I finally illustrate the relevance gap, and contextualize it to the opportunities and limitations presented by ECS. In particular, I look at the relationship linking researcher(s) and practitioner(s) so as to detect both rationales and possible, partial solutions to the gap. Discussion and limitations are presented in the fifth closing section. Concluding, I underline how the systematic and structured reorientation of ethnography towards organizational settings proposed here mirrors the analogous reorientation showed by modern anthropology’ from exotic settings of observation to familiar, domestic ones (Rosen, 1991: 14). As a matter of fact, modern anthropologists have been gradually directing attention towards cultures of belonging, while accordingly analyzing urban landscapes, professional subcultures, or work environments, to quote but a few (what John Sherry, 1995, labels the anthropological shift from contemporary ancestors to ancestral contemporaries). Thereby, anthropologists are no longer concerned about their non involvement in the explored context, but show interest in granting capabilities of self reflexivity and interpretative detachment from a world they directly belong to. Within the marketing literature, over the last twenty years such reorientation of ethnography has first spread across consumer marketing studies, where the Consumer Culture Theory approach has covered four main consumption related issues, including consumer identity projects, marketplace cultures, the sociohistoric patterning of consumption, and mass mediated marketplace ideologies ( Arnould & Thompson, 2005: 871). Differently, business marketing is still resisting to interpretative methods ( Cova & Salle, 2003) and, when adopting them, it has so far generated little conceptual elaboration of their contextualization to business settings. ECS research constitutes a step further in the discussion on ethnographic methodologies transferred to organizational case analysis and adds understanding to the widespread reflection upon business research relevance.