Research seminar “ORGANIZATIONAL ETHNOGRAPHY AND THE ONTOLOGY OF DIGITAL ARTIFACTS” by Onajomo Akemu
WHEN: Friday, October 27, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
WHERE: Block C3 (GSB/GSPP Building), 3rd floor, Room 3038
Digital technologies have penetrated almost every aspect of organizational life. This increased digitization has made modern organizations “hybrid” sites in which organizational members work and interacting in real world, face-to-face situations as well as via computer-mediated means in digital space. These developments create methodological complexities for ethnographers: organizational ethnographers need to develop research designs that incorporate multiple physical and digital sites in their studies of contemporary work practices. Drawing on recent debates in the field of information systems (IS) about the nature of digital artifacts and our experience doing ethnographic fieldwork within two organizations, we examine the relevance of the attributes of digital artifacts for organizational ethnography. We argue that the ambivalent nature of digital artifacts complicates researchers’ attainment of ethnographic concerns such as intense familiarity with social worlds being studied, the nature of the field, access to informants’ social worlds, ethics, voice and representation, and ethnographic credibility. We also argue that by focusing on how attributes of digital artifacts structure human practices within contemporary organizations, researchers can produce richer, more authentic, grounded portraits of contemporary organizing. Keywords: Digital artifacts, Ethnography, Hybrid settings, Participant-observation, Social network analysis
Dr. Onajomo Akemu is fascinated with the role small business organizations play in creating economic value for their owners and employees and for the broader societies in which they are located. His current research interests focus on decision making processes in small, innovative companies. As such, he currently focuses on firm emergence, strategy making and implementation in these firms using rich, idiographic qualitative methods.
Prior to graduate studies, Onajomo worked as an engineer and consultant with Shell International and Schlumberger respectively in The Netherlands and in Western Siberia, Russia. In those roles, he was involved in the development of high-value hydrocarbon producing assets and providing carbon storage solutions to clients across Europe. He has also advised start-up enterprises in The Netherlands.