Ethnographic Thinking: From Method to Mindset, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Ethnographic Thinking

From Method to Mindset, 1st Edition

By Jay Hasbrouck


120 pages

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pub: 2017-12-11
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This book argues that ‘ethnographic thinking’—the thought processes and patterns ethnographers develop through their practice—offers companies and organizations the cultural insights they need to develop fully-informed strategies. Using real world examples, Hasbrouck demonstrates how shifting the value of ethnography from simply identifying consumer needs to driving a more holistic understanding of a company or organization can help it benefit from a deeper understanding of the dynamic and interactive cultural contexts of its offerings. In doing so, he argues that such an approach can also enhance the strategic value of their work by helping them increase appreciation for openness and exploration, hone interpretive skills, and cultivate holistic thinking, in order to broaden perspectives, challenge assumptions, and cross-pollinate ideas between differing viewpoints.

Ethnographic Thinking is key reading for managers and strategists specifically wishing to tap-into the potential that ethnography offers, as well as those searching more broadly for new ways to innovate practice. It is essential reading for students of applied ethnography, and recommended for scholars too.


“This is an extremely valuable book for beginning students of ethnography, graduate students in cultural anthropology and sociology, and practitioners who apply ethnography to real-world issues and commercial ventures. Through closely reported, finely-crafted, wide-ranging, and richly illustrative cases, Jay Hasbrouck demonstrates how well-designed and executed ethnographic fieldwork coupled with anthropologically-informed thinking can generate uncommon insight.”

Robert J. Morais, Principal Emeritus of Weinman Schnee Morais Inc. and Adjunct Professor at Columbia Business School, USA

"Anyone who is engaged in business or tech innovation should read this book"

Ian Smith, Director, Being Guided, UK (Reviewed on Medium)

"Hasbrouck has deftly curated the history of anthropology and design thinking paradigms into an applied method of 'Ethnographic Thinking'. Today, curiosity, awareness, and flexibility are often consultancy buzz words used in sales strategies, customer centricity and organizational adaptation experiments. However, Hasbrouck smartly moves our exploration of a theoretical method to a practical mindset for powerful and relevant innovation and creativity practices. The “Ethnographic Thinking” approach expands the design thinking practice to include the social dynamics and interactions in the context of cultural viewpoints and assumptions.”

Karen S. Walch, Emeritus, Thunderbird School of Global Management, USA

Table of Contents

Foreword by Timothy De Waal Malefyt


Introduction: A Starting Place: Design Thinking and Ethnographic Thinking

1. Cultivating Curiosity

2. Expanding Awareness

3. Deferring Judgement

4. Adapting Thoughtfully

5. Immersing Fully

6. Facilitating Tactically

7. Documenting Diligently

8. Analyzing Holistically

9. Situating Intentionally

10. Storytelling Empathically


About the Author

Jay Hasbrouck is a strategist and anthropologist whose insights drive innovation and strategic direction for companies, non-profits, and government agencies. The principal of Hasbrouck Research Group, he has designed and managed large-scale projects across the world. He has a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Southern California, USA.

About the Series

Anthropology & Business

Crossing boundaries, innovating praxis
Both anthropology and business work at the forefront of culture and change. As anthropology brings its concerns with cultural organization and patterns of human behavior to multiple forms of business, a new dynamic of engagement is created. In addition to expanding interest in business as an object of study, anthropologists increasingly hold positions within corporations or work as independent consultants to businesses. In these roles, anthropologists are both redefining the discipline and innovating in industries around the world. These shifts are creating exciting cross-fertilizations and advances in both realms: challenging traditional categories of scholarship and practice, pushing methodological boundaries, and generating new theoretical entanglements. This series advances anthropology's multifaceted work in enterprise, from marketing, design, and technology to user experience research, work practice studies, finance, and many other realms.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General