Ethnography in International Business: Theorizing from Fieldwork in Complex Cultural Contexts
Masterclass Lead: Mary Yoko Brannen (San Jose State & Copenhagen Business School)
Time and Date: 5 July, 1pm-3pm EST
Recent changes such as the ubiquitous use of virtual teams, (only becoming more pronounced in the current context of the Pandemic) and changing workplace demographics, have led to a situation where physical distance between cultures is decreasing while the complexity of cultural interaction is increasing. Such changes have only pushed to the forefront what anthropologists and other close observers of culture have always known. From a distance, meanings, and people’s sensemaking patterns might well be seen as commonly shared. But, up close, when individuals with varying pre-conceptions about each other’s cultures and contexts attempts to transfer, synchronize, learn from, and even co-create, the use-value of aggregate level cultural frameworks begins to seriously break down.
Ethnography is the method of choice for understanding such cultural complexity, especially when the organizational phenomenon under study is relatively new and/or rapidly changing. Yet very little guidance is given in PhD programs on conducting ethnographic research, how to build IB theory from it, or how to make a career around it.
This masterclass takes the participant from the preliminary steps of matching one’s research question with the appropriate ethnographic research design, to theory development, and provides pointers on writing it up.