An Organizational Ethnography of Strategic Networking Practice in an Under-Researched and Potentially Difficult to Access Setting: The Roles of the Researcher, the Researched, and Context

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William Darbi and Paul Knott 2019. An Organizational Ethnography of Strategic Networking Practice in an Under-Researched and Potentially Difficult to Access Setting: The Roles of the Researcher, the Researched, and Context. SAGE Publications. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781526466266
AuthorsWilliam Darbi and Paul Knott
Abstract

This case study sets out the preparation and conduct of a piece of organizational ethnographic research undertaken for a doctoral degree. A feature of the research is the distinctive set of challenges presented by the research setting, which was part of the informal business sector in Ghana, Africa. Having been formerly under-researched, this business setting presented several hurdles for the research design to overcome, notably a need to situate the study within strategic management scholarship, select a theoretical framework commensurate with the study, and adopt a suitable research strategy. The narrative sets out the rationale for following the SAP research paradigm, adopting a “hybrid” research strategy involving an embedded case study structure and ethnographic data collection and analysis methods, and framing the research using Bourdieu’s logic of practice framework. Given the unusual setting, the case sets out how the researcher’s own background was germane to gaining and sustaining access. Equally, it sets out how this background in part facilitated the potentially delicate issue of human ethics clearance to study a sector characterized by a degree of legal non-compliance in a societal setting far removed from that of formal developed-country businesses. The case sets out in detail how different elements of the data collection played out in practice, including semi-structured interviews, shadowing, observation, and documentary research. It concludes with illuminating reflection on lessons learnt, including the roles of the researcher as well as those of the researched and of context.

KeywordsStrategic Networking Practice; Researcher roles ; Ghana; African business sector
Year2019
PublisherSAGE Publications
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.4135/9781526466266
Web address (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781526466266
Output statusPublished
Publication dates02 Jan 2019
Publication process dates
Deposited26 Oct 2023
ISBN9781526466266
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