Conducting High Quality Field Research In (And With) Organizations
Panel Presentation: 12:00 – 1:30 PM
Social Ecology I, Room 306
Discussion: 2:00 – 3:30 PM
Social Ecology I, Room 300
Gary Alan Fine
John Evans Professor of Sociology
Jean Gimbel Lane Professor of the Humanities
Kimberly D. Elsbach
Professor of Management
Co-director of the Center for Women and Leadership
Susan A. Mohrman
Senior Research Scientist
Marshall School of Business
University of Southern California
Departments of Anthropology and Chicano/Latino Studies
Organizational field researchers using qualitative methods often become deeply immersed in the contexts where they conduct their research. Conducting research of this type necessitates developing relationships, techniques and processes in, and with, the organizations involved that are often quite different from those established when other research methodologies are utilized. Under such conditions, informants can become more than sources of data, even participating in research design, data collection, and data analysis. In this symposium, our expert panelists explore the various meanings of “high quality” research in these situations and the challenges and tradeoffs that are involved. They will draw extensively from their own research experiences and offer suggestions for conducting rigorous, high quality, and impactful qualitative field research in (and with) organizations.
About the Panelists
Gary Alan Fine is currently examining the multiple social worlds of chess as a leisure and competitive activity, examining the role of technological change and changes in global-political politics (e.g., the breakup of the Soviet Union) on chess as a community. His recent ethnographic publications include: Kitchens: The Culture of Restaurant Work (University of California Press, 1996); Morel Tales: The Culture of Mushrooming (Harvard University Press, 1998); Gifted Tongues: High School Debate and Adolescent Culture (Princeton University Press, 2001); Everyday Genius: Self-Taught Art and the Culture of Authenticity (University of Chicago Press, 2004); and Authors of the Storm: Meteorology and the Culture of Prediction (University of Chicago Press, 2007).
Kimberly D. Elsbach focuses her research on the acquisition and maintenance of organizational images, identities and reputations, especially images of legitimacy, trustworthiness and creativity. She also teaches and studies negotiation skills in competitive business environments. Her research provides a framework for communicating with shareholders, customers and employees in the immediacy of a reputation crisis and through long-term recovery. In a recent paper published in the Harvard Business Review and the Academy of Management Journal, Elsbach presented findings that demonstrate how Hollywood movie and television producers judge the creativity of people pitching story ideas. Her work has also appeared in Administrative Science Quarterly, Organization Science, and Academy of Management Review.
Susan A. Mohrman is widely known for her research in the area of organization design and effectiveness. Recently she has focused on learning in organizations and design for knowledge management in the contexts of companies undergoing fundamental change as global technology firms. She also examines the research process itself, and how to create university/company partnerships to yield useful knowledge. She has been actively involved as a researcher and/or consultant to a wide variety of organizations, including Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Pratt and Whitney, Lockheed Martin, Medtronic, Texas Instruments, 3M, Xerox, Pfizer, and Avery Dennison, and a number of school systems and police departments. She is author/editor of numerous books, including: Managing Complexity in High Technology Organizations (Oxford University Press, 1989); Tomorrow’s Organization: Crafting Winning Capabilities in a Dynamic World (Jossey-Bass, 1998); Doing Research that is Useful for Theory and Practice (Jossey-Bass, 1999); Organizing for High Performance (Jossey-Bass, 2001); and Creating a Strategic Human Resources Organization (Stanford University Press, 2003).
Michael Montoya is an Assistant Professor in the Chicano/Latino Studies program and the department of Anthropology. Prior to his appointment at UC-Irvine, Montoya was an Affiliate Fellow at the Molecular Sciences Institute in Berkeley, CA. He also served as the Associate Director of the University of Wisconsin Institute on Race and Ethnicity and as a program analyst/planner for the University of Wisconsin System Administration. Prior to graduate school, Montoya worked for over seven years in non-profit human service program development and management in the areas of housing, health care, anti-hunger and literacy. Michael Montoya received his Ph.D. from the Department of Anthropology at Stanford University in 2003. Montoya’s research is in the field of medical anthropology and the social and cultural studies of science and technology.
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