The Developments in Ethnographic Studies of Organizing: Towards Objects of Ignorance and Objects of Concern

O'Doherty, Damian and Neyland, Daniel. 2019. The Developments in Ethnographic Studies of Organizing: Towards Objects of Ignorance and Objects of Concern. Organization, 26(4), pp. 449-469. ISSN 1350-5084 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

In this introduction to the Special Issue, we review the rich tradition of ethnographic studies in organisation studies and critically examine the place of ethnography in organisation studies as practised in schools of business and management. Drawing on the findings of the articles published here, we reflect on the need for a significant extension of the content and syllabus of our discipline to include what we call objects of concern and objects of ignorance. The articles we publish show that decision makers in organizations are not always humans, and nor can we assume the human and its groups monopolise the capacity for agency in organisation. Where we still labour in organisation theory with dualisms such as structure or agent, or subject and object, these articles trace objects and their relations which point to new forms of non-human co-ordination and agency. The organisational realities to which these objects give rise demand careful methodological enquiry, and we show that recent experiments in a genre we call ‘post-reflexive ethnography’ are likely to prove helpful for developing ethnographic enquiry in contemporary organisation.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


Business schools, ethnography, organisation theory, organisational anthropology, post-reflexivity

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology > Centre for the Study of Invention and Social Process (CSISP)


22 May 2019Accepted
23 May 2019Published Online
1 July 2019Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

02 Jul 2019 09:11

Last Modified:

10 Jun 2021 00:08

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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