Pritchard and symon reviewing sites and revisiting sights bam nov 2011
Katrina Pritchard and Gillian SymonDepartment of Organizational Psychology, Birkbeck, University of London BAM Research Methods SIG: Sharing our struggles workshop Loughborough: 25th November 2011 This research was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (award PTA-0302004-00095).
About the research Methodological challenges Practical Responses: • Preliminary fieldwork • Tracer studies • Mental mapping More challenges? Supervision in this context
Organizational HR Discourse Knowledge professionals Knowledge as socially Neglect of discursive Problematic nature of constructed and practice within knowledge base situated in practice knowledge studies Discursive practice as Skepticism of Discursive key element of work importance of construction of knowledge in and of knowledge claims itself Constructed and contested nature of knowledge work
American investment bank Product,market and geography all influence management structure Global HQ in US with London as regional office Researchfocus on Regional HR department
Local HR rolesGlobal Head OfficeHR Regional HR Department: 4 offices in London 1 office in South East England 1 office in Scotland
12 month ethnography physically present in London offices approximately 3 days per week Face-to face activities involved: shadowing participants, participant interviews, tracer studies, collecting documents, attending meetings, workshops and training courses, conversations in meeting rooms, corridors, cafes and pubs. Mediated activities included: email exchanges, phone calls, conference calls, text messages.
Three teams became focus of research activity: • HR Call Centre • Training and development team • HR Partners
Presence (and therefore absence) Placesand spaces that are open (or closed) to the researcher‟s presence (or absence) Own„identity work‟ in the context of the above
Preliminary fieldwork activity Use of tracer studies Mental mapping
Clearlydefined time for learning the ropes and finding way around (6 weeks) Manages expectations (self and others) of „doing research‟ during this period Allowsmore detailed planning to emerge and time for more negotiation of access to take place Reflection prompted reconsideration of „piloting‟ in subsequent research
Following a specific organizational process via the use of tags: • an expatriate assignment, a creativity workshop, the launch of a diversity networking group and the development of a local HR plan. For each of process: • interviewed the individual with overall responsibility • using activity reports generated from work management system followed the process both forward and backwards, talking to the others involved and collecting related documentation Produced „flow diagrams‟ of activities
ACADEMIC SPACES RESEARCH SITE SPACES SPACES IN BETWEEN PERSONAL SPACES
ACADEMIC SPACES RESEARCH SITE SPACES VIRTUAL SPACES Conferences Meeting Rooms Supervisor‟s Office SPACES IN BETWEEN Security & Reception PhD room Cafes and Office Cafeteria Library other Social spaces Train Train Home OfficeTaken from Pritchard (2011) PERSONAL SPACES
Increasing complexity of spaces and places and our engagement with them Growingtechnological mediation of research process and practices Evolving demands on researcher identity work Possibility of opening up reflexivity on the above to include participant perspectives
Not being there: lacking insight but maintaining distance Facilitating the „big picture‟: appreciating the detail while encouraging conceptual development Structuring the account: including detail within a „write-able‟ account
Pritchard, K (2011) From ‘being there’ to ‘being … where?’: relocating ethnography. Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management 6 (3) 230-245 Pritchard, K and Symon, G (2011) Identity on the line: constructing professional identity in a HR call centre. Work, Employment and Society 25 (3) 434-450 Pritchard, K (2010) Becoming an HR strategic partner: tales of transition. Human Resource Management Journal, 20 (2) 175-188 Pritchard, K (2012) Combining Qualitative Methods. in Cassell, C and Symon, G (eds) “The practice of qualitative organizational research: core methods and current challenges” pp 138-156. SAGE. (to be published Feb 2012).