Browsing by Subject "ethnography"

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  • Syrjälä, Henna; Norrgrann, Anu (Emerald, 2019)
    Purpose: This chapter examines two rather extreme examples of non-human entities in home assemblage, interior objects, and companion animals, and how their agency appears distributed with human consumers in assembling home. The authors aim at drawing conceptual contrasts and overlappings in how agency expresses itself in these categories of living and non-living entities, highlighting the multifaceted manifestations of object agency. Methodology/Approach: This chapter employs multiple sets of ethnographi-cally inspired data, ranging from ethnographic interviews and an autoethno-graphic diary to three types of (auto-)netnographic data. Findings: The findings showcase oscillation of agency between these three analytic categories (human, non-human living, and non-human non-living), focusing on how it is distributed between two of the entities at a time, within the heterogeneous assemblage of home. Furthermore, the findings show instances in which agency emerges as shared between all three entities. Originality/Value: The contribution of this chapter comes from advancing existing discussion on object agency toward the focus on distributed and shared agency. The research adds to the prevailing discussion by exhibiting how agency oscillates between different types of interacting entities in the assemblage, and in particular, how the two types of non-human entities are agentic. The research demonstrates the variability and interwovenness of non-human and human, living and non-living agency as they appear intertwined in home assemblage.
  • Einola, Katja; Alvesson, Mats (2020-07-18)
    Is complex, ambiguous, and fluctuating social reality measurable? Sometimes yes, perhaps, but often not. At least not in the fairly straightforward way assumed by many researchers. This study is an ethnographic inquiry into data collection during a survey research project. Based on our observations of participants’ spontaneous thoughts and confusions as they filled in questionnaires on “leadership” and “teamwork”, we draw attention to hidden problems in much organizational research. Many respondents found measures ambiguous, irrelevant, or misleading. We (a) underline the inherently interpretative nature of research into complex organizational phenomena, (b) warn against lack of reflexivity and overreliance on existing survey instruments when we study complex social aspects of organizations, (c) identify five categories of possible problems, and (d) suggest paths towards better informed research that take context seriously.
  • Korkman, Oskar (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2006-01-31)
    This thesis introduces a practice-theoretical approach to understanding customer value formation to be used in the field of service marketing and management. In contrast to current studies trying to understand value formation by analysing customers as independent actors and thinkers, it is in this work suggested that customer value formation can be better understood by analysing how value is formed in the practices and contexts of the customers. The theoretical approach developed in this thesis is applied in an empirical study of family cruises. The theoretical analysis in this thesis results in a new approach for understanding customer value formation. Customer value is, according to this new approach, something that is formed in practice, meaning that value is formed in constellations of the customer and contextual elements like tools, physical spaces and contextually embedded images and know-how. This view is different from the current views that tend to see value as subjectively created, co-created, perceived or experienced by the customer. The new approach has implications on how we view customer value, but also on the methods and techniques we can use to understand customer value in empirical studies. It is also suggested that services could in fact be reconceptualised as practices. According to the stance presented in this thesis the empirical analysis of customer value should not focus on individual customers, but should instead take the contextual entity of practices as its unit of analysis. Therefore, ethnography is chosen as a method for exploring how customer value is formed in practice in the case of family cruises on a specific cruise vessel. The researcher has studied six families, as well as the context of the cruise vessel with various techniques including non-participant observation, participant observation and interviews in order to create an ethnographic understanding of the practices carried out on board. Twenty-one different practices are reported and discussed in order to provide necessary insight to customer value formation that can be used as input for service development.
  • Pura, Minna; Koskull von, Catharina (UNSW Australia Business School, 2015-12-02)
    This paper draws on a series of ethnographic studies conducted in different service industries and illustrates how different types of observation can be utilized in service innovation projects. We compare traditional ways of observing organizations with novel methods such as chat based team collaboration tools that enable cost effective observation 24/7 even in geographically dispersed locations. We identify benefits and challenges with each observation mode for service innovation research in particular, but also for reflective research practice and field research in general. The strengths as well as the weaknesses of applying different modes of observations will be addressed and suggestions for useful mode(s) for radical and incremental innovations will be presented.
  • Arantola-Hattab, Johanna (Hanken School of Economics, 2013-05-23)
    During the past decade value co-creation has been eagerly discussed in service marketing research. Despite the vigorous interest, the discussion has largely stayed on the theoretical level and perhaps led more to confusion than evolution. In business-to-consumer marketing the focus on investigating value has mainly been on the dyad of provider and customer; however the customer has remained an undefined unit in the interactions. This study argues a deeper investigation on co-creation is needed to clarify the value co-creation concept. The purpose of this research is to explore how a family as a customer experiences co-created service value. This study widens the investigation on co-creation beyond the visible interactions between the provider and a single person to cover often for the provider invisible interactions of different family members. The underpinning framework is the Nordic School’s customer-dominant logic (CDL). This study uses qualitative methodology as the approach to study the research topic. The research method applies ethnography to gain knowledge regarding how a specific group of people interacts with the environment. The empirical study consists of interviews and observations of working mothers who interpret their daily lives, responsibilities, and activities. Based on this background, they discuss their experiences and opinions about their banking service. The empirical study illustrates how mothers discuss their individual and family needs with a bank. Thus, this study widens the scope of a single person being a customer and presents the idea of a family as a customer unit. This study contributes to the current theoretical discussion on value co-creation by presenting a categorisation model for investigating different entities of service value co-creation. The model illustrates how experienced service value is a consequence of co-creation covering both visible and invisible interactions of a family. The study illustrates how service value is experienced by a family as a consequence of value co-creation not only in a dyadic interaction between the provider and an individual, but also in the multiple interactions within a family. The managerial contributions give guidance to companies regarding how to extend their understanding of a customer’s experienced service value and how to become better embedded in their customers’ everyday lives. An increased understanding of different entities of co-creation generates new knowledge regarding how companies can sustain valuable relationships with their customers. The findings illustrate it is essential for a bank as a service provider to shift the focus from dyadic interactions to cover also the multiple interactions within a family as a customer unit.
  • Witell, Lars; Holmlund, Maria; Gustafsson, Anders (2020-02-14)
    Purpose: The purpose of this study is to highlight the role of qualitative research in service research. This study discusses what qualitative research is, what role it has in service research and what interest, rigor, relevance and richness mean for qualitative service research. Design/methodology/approach: This study examines the most common qualitative research methods and discusses interest, rigor, relevance and richness as key characteristics of qualitative research. The manuscripts in the special issue are introduced and categorized based on their contributions to service research. Findings: The findings suggest that the amount of research using qualitative research methods has remained stable over the last 30 years. An increased focus on transparency and traceability is important for improving the perceived rigor of qualitative service research. Originality/value: This special issue is the first issue that is explicitly devoted to the qualitative research methodology in service research. In particular, the issue seeks to contribute to a better use and application of qualitative research methodology.
  • Kedzior, Richard (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2014-09-05)
    Changes in consumption related to digital technologies, digitization and the emergence of new media have been topics of great interest to both academics and managers. The backbone of all these changes, the Internet has penetrated consumers’ daily lives and changed the way they work, shop and socialize. The new digital spaces (e.g., social networking sites, massively multiplayer online games, or online virtual worlds) have become important conduits for sociality and consumption as evidenced by the time and money consumers spend online. Yet, frequently the social, cultural and economic significance of digital worlds has been dismissed due to their “immaterial” character. The evidence discussed in this volume demonstrates that consumers experience digital worlds as material, yet materiality in this instance transcends the conventional notions of tangibility and physicality. Thus, this study introduces the concept of digital materiality to more accurately describe the phenomenon of materiality in digital environments, and focuses on the ways in which it emerges in digital worlds. To this end, presented here conceptual framework maps out five distinct processes through which digital worlds become material to their consumers. Each of these processes is driven by a set of consumer motivations which correspond to consumer perceptions of digital materiality. Apart from the theoretical and conceptual contributions to academic literature, this research offers a number of managerial implications which can benefit professionals working with digital media. The ideas discussed here may be especially valuable for public policy makers and product managers struggling with the inherent instability of digital materiality. Some of the insights can also cast light on ways in which businesses could expand their market offering by complementing existing product lines with either digital or physical components. This interdisciplinary work is positioned within Consumer Culture Theory and Digital Consumption Studies, and draws on the extant literature in consumer research, cultural studies, anthropology, and human-computer interaction. Richard Kedzior is an Assistant Professor of Markets, Innovation and Design at the School of Management, Bucknell University. He is a consumer researcher who studies phenomena at the intersection of technology and culture.
  • Niemi, Hertta (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2010-11-10)
    Parliaments are political institutions, but they are also places where people work; the MPs and the people who are employed there work, albeit in rather different ways. In this research the focus is on those in a Parliament who work there as employees and managers, and thereby, in some senses, run the organisation. Accordingly, this involves seeing the Parliament as a working environment, for MPs and employees, for men and women. The institution of Parliament is thus here examined by looking at it from a different and new angle. Instead of the usual focus on politicians the focus is on the administration of this institution. The aim is, amongst other things, to increase knowledge and offer different perspectives on democracy and democratic institutions. Unpacking the nearly mythical institution into smaller, more digestible, graspable realities should at the very least help to remind the wider society that although nations, to a certain extent, do need national institutions they should not become mystified or seen as larger than life. Institutions should work on behalf of people and thus be accountable to these same people. The main contribution of this work is to explore and problematise how managing and working is done inside an institution that both largely fulfils the characteristics of a bureaucracy and yet also has added special features that seem to be rather far removed from clear bureaucratic structures. This research offers a new kind of information on working life inside this elite institution. The joys and the struggles of working and managing in this particular public sector organisation are illustrated here and offer a view, a glimpse, into the experiences of managing and working in this House.
  • Tallberg, Linda (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2014-06-02)
    This book is about life at an Australian animal shelter, called ANIMA. The shelter is tasked with organizing the dark side of humanity of cruelty, neglect, and ignorance. It is about the humans and animals who live and die in the organization - often silenced and hidden in society. Employees join the organization to save animals, yet due to organizational constraints, are the ones who are tasked with the killing. In ANIMA, the emotional and moral conflict is both constant and intense for animal shelter employees. They are promotivated and have strong ideological alignment to the organizational goals. This creates a lifestyle that revolves around saving and caring for the neglected, unwanted and mistreated animals of society. However, management and the animal shelter employees are at odds on how to best handle the social problem of pet overpopulation. The organization rests upon a traditional hierarchical power distribution where those who perform the stigmatized job task of euthanasia are also those without any real decision-making power. Reducing the animal shelter workers to assembly-line workers in a processing-plant is a key way to ensure the business model of the animal welfare organization flows smoothly. I was employed for a year as an animal attendant in the animal shelter. My ethnographic material includes diary entries, interviews, participant-observations and are represented in my thesis through Crystallization. It is through this unusual form of communication that I use poetry, pictures and narratives to try to engage the reader to understand the unique, emotive context of the organization. In this book, I specifically focus on the paradoxical work role that includes euthanasia of healthy animals; how the hidden voices of the animals give knowledge of the organization; and how power relationships are revealed during emergency evacuation during a natural disaster. The study argues that there are immense problems, both at an organizational as well as broader societal level, of how unwanted animals are dealt with. The focus of powerlessness felt by employees and animals leads to four coping mechanisms throughout the study which I call: Hero, Victim, Professional and Tourist. I make contributions to literatures on Emotion in Organizations, Dirty Work and Positive Organizational Scholarship.
  • Storbacka, Lauri (Hanken School of Economics, 2021-06-04)
    Continuous change and uncertainty is the new normal. In organizational life, contradictions and tensions are ubiquitous, driven in part by the often self-interested interplay between different knowledge traditions. Today’s professionals are being challenged as never before to broaden their competence and collaborate across traditional boundaries. We need a fresh approach to capitalize the value of knowledge as the firm’s most strategically significant resource, and this study picks out the artistic nature of knowing and its inherent relationship with power. The Art of Knowing develops the ability to reflect and think paradoxically in the face of uncertainty, ambiguity and contradiction, by extending ourselves into the subsidiary awareness of particulars that compose a whole. I want to inspire practitioners to accept and engage in reflective practice, reinforcing paradoxical thinking into complex situations. To deliver leading, sustainable performance. Our true power to deal with the conflicts and contradictions of different knowledge traditions comes from the ability to distinguish between practical and discursive consciousness, while recognizing the subsidiary-focal integrative structure. This ethnographic longitudinal study inside a financial services organization examines professional practice and the dynamics of operating across different business segments. Working in and researching the target organization gave me unique access to people and processes to gather empirical material in 2013-2019.
  • Tallberg, Teemu (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2009-04-07)
    In Finland the organising of defence is undergoing vast restructuring. Recent legislation has redefined the central tasks of the Finnish Defence Forces. At the same time, international security cooperation, economic pressures and new administrative paradigms have steered the military towards new ways of organising. National defence is not just politics and principles; to a large extent it is also enacted in day-to-day life in organisations. The lens through which these realities of defence are analysed in this study is gender. How is the security sector – and national defence as part of it – organised in the changing security environment? What is the new division of labour between different societal actors in the face of security challenges? What happens ‘at work’ within the military and the defence sector more broadly? How does gender affect the way in which defence is organised and understood, and how do the changes in the organising of security affect gender relations? The thesis searches for answers to these questions in the context of two organisational settings in the male-dominated defence sector. The case study on a Finnish peacekeeping unit in the Balkans opens a critical view on men’s social practices and the everyday life of crisis management organisations. In the second case study, reorganising of provisioning in the Finnish Defence Forces turns out to be a complicated process where different power relations and social divisions intermingle. Tallberg’s extensive ethnographic fieldwork in the two focal organisations has produced a detailed set of data that lays the basis for critical analysis and policy development in terms of defence organising, cooperation around peace and security issues, and gender equality in organisations. Observations and results are provided for understanding social networks, militarisation, authority relations, care, public-private partnerships, personnel policies, career planning, and humour.
  • Laamanen, Mikko (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2017-02-01)
    The politics of value creation outlined in this dissertation challenges core assumptions of current value creation literature and particularly its service-dominant logic branch. Politics of value creation illustrates the weight that people individually and collectively give to an object or an issue; the social construction of meaning and valuation, its conventions and institutions; the authority afforded through these, and the struggle between different groups to maintain and change the above. This study engages current theory with an alternative conceptual framework and an unorthodox empirical setting. Sociological theories of collective action and strategic action fields are in conceptual dialogue with value-creating actors, their relationships and interaction, practices and outcomes. The collective–conflictual value creation theory developed in this study acknowledges systems of domination and skewedness of power in value creating contexts. The approach builds on the bearing that dominant ideologies are a product of a particular social order and interests that result in a conflict between incumbents and challengers, and have consequences to the wider environment. Rather than marginal and consequential, conflict is not only endemic, but causative when value-creating interactions are based on varying understandings and logics. The empirical study engaged the organised labour in Finland with critical ethnography examining societal macro-relations of the labour market institutions, meso-dynamics of the labour movement, and micro-practices in a trade union organisation. The politics of value creation is, on one hand, a critical analysis of current theory, and on the other, an exploratory study illustrating strategic collective action in value creation. With the collective–conflictual approach, value creation contexts are recast as porous arenas where various interactions, practice and outcomes constantly develop in collaboration and competition illustrating the permanence of dynamic tensions that instigate jockeying, using social skill in framing, and practicing ideologies and politics in an attempt to create and arbitrate value.
  • von Koskull, Catharina (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2009-08-04)
    Service researchers have repeatedly claimed that firms should acquire customer information in order to develop services that fit customer needs. Despite this, studies that would concentrate on the actual use of customer information in service development are lacking. The present study fulfils this research gap by investigating information use during a service development process. It demonstrates that use is not a straightforward task that automatically follows the acquisition of customer information. In fact, out of the six identified types of use, four represent non usage of customer information. Hence, the study demonstrates that the acquisition of customer information does not guarantee that the information will actually be used in development. The current study used an ethnographic approach. Consequently, the study was conducted in the field in real time over an extensive period of 13 months. Participant observation allowed direct access to the investigated phenomenon, i.e. the different types of use by the observed development project members were captured while they emerged. In addition, interviews, informal discussions and internal documents were used to gather data. A development process of a bank’s website constituted the empirical context of the investigation. This ethnography brings novel insights to both academia and practice. It critically questions the traditional focus on the firm’s acquisition of customer information and suggests that this focus ought to be expanded to the actual use of customer information. What is the point in acquiring costly customer information if it is not used in the development? Based on the findings of this study, a holistic view on customer information, “information in use” is generated. This view extends the traditional view of customer information in three ways: the source, timing and form of data collection. First, the study showed that the customer information can come explicitly from the customer, from speculation among the developers or it can already exist implicitly. Prior research has mainly focused on the customer as the information provider and the explicit source to turn to for information. Second, the study identified that the used and non-used customer information was acquired both previously, and currently within the time frame of the focal development process, as well as potentially in the future. Prior research has primarily focused on the currently acquired customer information, i.e. within the timeframe of the development process. Third, the used and non-used customer information was both formally and informally acquired. In prior research a large number of sophisticated formal methods have been suggested for the acquisition of customer information to be used in development. By focusing on “information in use”, new knowledge on types of customer information that are actually used was generated. For example, the findings show that the formal customer information acquired during the development process is used less than customer information already existent within the firm. With this knowledge at hand, better methods to capture this more usable customer information can be developed. Moreover, the thesis suggests that by focusing stronger on use of customer information, service development processes can be restructured in order to facilitate the information that is actually used.
  • Krohn, Mikaela (Hanken School of Economics, 2020-09-14)
    Online videos are a form of dynamic visual communication that embrace the amateurish and informal communication style that is typical of videos in social media. In organizations’ strategic communication these types of videos are used for disseminating management message about strategy, strategic issues and news, as well as, for culture building in strategic change. This thesis explores the use of online videos as visual strategic organizational communication, focusing particularly on what online videos are, how they influence strategizing, and what are the underlying mechanism that condition strategizing with online videos. Building on the strategy as practice and sociomateriality perspectives, this thesis connects the openness paradigm and the technological and cultural developments of our time with how people do strategy in current day organizations. This thesis comprises of three studies. Paper 1 outlines a definition of the phenomenon and discusses potential theoretical implications of the use of visual social media type of communication for strategizing. Paper 2 provides an internal open strategizing perspective on the phenomenon of online videos, with an in-depth ethnographic study of a large retail organization. Paper 3 studies an internal strategy workshop video that accidentally leaked outside the company and follows the external audiences´ gamified interaction with this video on public social media. This thesis contributes to strategy as practice literature in three ways. First, it defines the phenomenon of online videos as visual strategic organizational communication. Second, it demonstrates that the use of online videos influences strategizing with their affordances, supports open strategizing, and may over time enable a dynamic of intimacy to emerge. Third, it discusses why the underlying media infrastructure conditions strategizing in a specific way. Further, this thesis contributes to visual management studies by illuminating a type of visual communication practice and theorizing on how the affordances of visibility and visuality interplay with strategizing. Visibility is highly related to transparency and the demand and desire for openness in contemporary organization, whereas visuality enables us to create an emotional or sensory imprint of the message necessary for strategic buy-in and commitment. Together both of these build transparency, inclusivity, and intimacy for more open paradigm management and strategizing. For future research, this study lays the ground to further explore the visualization of organizations as ways to execute the ideal of openness, authenticity, and non-hierarchy in organizations.