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Getting Deeper Into Organizational Identity Formation: Ethnography Inadvertently Assays Long-Standing Assumptions

By: Published: 2020 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 1
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This case study reports the process of doing my dissertation which started out as an exploration of how organizational identities are formed from inception. My dissertation was based on an ethnography of a nascent open innovation organization founded in 2011. I analyzed naturally occurring data produced from 2008 to 2014, and focused on everyday conversations through emails, meetings, social and professional events, social media, and everyday chat. Having a richer dataset than expected made it more difficult to pin down an organizational identity to answer my research questions. In the process, I challenged the initial objective of my study and unpacked the organizational process of organizational identity work, thereby contributing to long-standing ontological debates. Challenges to my research proposal, which was based on previous literatures, were revealed to be the main contribution of my dissertation.

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