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Ethnography is the “trademark” methodology of anthropology. Its conventional primary method is “participant observation”, in which “the researcher takes part in the daily activities, rituals, interactions, and events of a group of people as one of the means of learning the explicit and tacit aspects of their life routines and their culture” [1] . In its traditional form, ethnographic research (fieldwork) lasts from 12- 18 months. Transferred to corporate/business/industry settings, ethnography has proved to be highly valuable, but has often been perceived as time- and resource-consuming, or non-generalizable due to its focus on individuals and small group (see [2] ). Gluesing [3] describes ethnographic research techniques in the “corporate encounter” in the following manner:

  1. The researcher uses all five senses, the ethnographer serves as the primary tool of data collection, living or staying in a context for an extended period of time;
  2. participates in a wide range of activities that are both routine and extraordinary, along with the people who are the full participants in that context;
  3. learns and uses more than one language to communicate with people in their own native language or dialect;
  4. carries out informal observation during leisure activities is an important part of data collection (often called “deep hanging out”), in addition to formal observation of work;
  5. uses everyday informal conversation as a form of interviewing;
  6. records observations and thoughts, usually chronologically, in fieldnotes in a variety of settings.
  7. learns from and builds on the perspectives of the people in the research setting inductively, using both explicit and tacit information in analysis and writing, to develop local theories for testing and then adapting these theories for general use.


  1. DeWalt, Kathleen M., and Billie R. DeWalt. 2000. Participant Observation. In Handbook of Methods in Cultural Anthropology, ed. H. Russell Bernard. Walnut Creek etc.: Altamira Press. Pp. 259–299.
  2. Jordan, Brigitte, and Brinda Dalal. 2006. Persuasive Encounters: Ethnography in the Corporation. Field Methods 18 (4): 1-24.
  3. Gluesing, Julia. 2013. Being There: The Power of Conventional Ethnographic Methods. In Advancing Ethnography in Corporate Environments: Challenges and Emerging Opportunities, ed. Brigitte Jordan. Walnut Creek (CA): Left Coast Press Inc. Pp. 23-37.