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Research Seminar: What Do We Do When They Shed Tears?

Research Seminar: What Do We Do When They Shed Tears?

Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Business invites you to the Research Seminar titled "What Do We Do When They Shed Tears?" by Dr. Onajomo Akemu


There is a taboo among organizational ethnographers against revealing the intense, highly valent emotions that we experience during fieldwork. Researchers adopt various strategies to sanitize their research accounts for presentation to an academic audience. These range from full disclosure—the researcher tells it as it is—to temporal displacement—the researcher only reveals their awkwardness, pain, heightened emotional states long after they publish sanitized research accounts. Yet, raw, visceral emotional moments are inescapable in ethnography, a research design that privileges the researcher being immersed in a fieldsite for considerable periods of time. Drawing on our own fieldwork and recent scholarship that takes seriously the generative potential of field emotions, we argue that treating these emotional moments vigorously, transparently and rigorously has the potential to advance researcher reflexivity, a school of thought in organizational studies that has privileged the detached exercise of rationality. By paying attention to the researcher’s transient affective states instead of more permanent social positions as championed by the reflexive turn, organization ethnographers can shift the focus from the individual researcher—often criticized as narcissistic—to the interactions between the researcher and the researched, the rightful object of ethnographic study.

Area: Organizational Theory

Time: 5 pm - 6 pm


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Wednesday, September 29, 2021






Onajomo (Ona) Akemu

Assistant Professor in Strategy & Entrepreneurship

Onajomo (Ona) Akemu is an Assistant Professor in Strategy & Entrepreneurship with expertise in entrepreneurial decision making. He started his academic career after receiving a PhD from the Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), an M.Sc. in Petroleum Engineering from Imperial College, London, and an MBA from London Business School (LBS). His research and teaching focuses on: (1) decision making and strategy implementation within nascent entrepreneurial ventures; (2) improving qualitative methodology; and (3) managerial effectiveness in established organizations.

Onajomo’s research has been published in reputable academic journals, such as Journal of Management Studies and Organizational Research Methods. Prior to graduate studies, he worked as an engineer/consultant in the international oil & gas industry and also advised start-up enterprises in The Netherlands.

A native of Nigeria, Onajomo has lived in the United Kingdom, Russia, The Netherlands, and now Kazakhstan. He is fluent in English, Dutch, Yoruba and West African Creole.