1st Edition

The Routledge International Handbook of Organizational Autoethnography

Edited By Andrew Herrmann Copyright 2020

    For nearly 40 years researchers have been using narratives and stories to understand larger cultural issues through the lenses of their personal experiences. There is an increasing recognition that autoethnographic approaches to work and organizations add to our knowledge of both personal identity and organizational scholarship. By using personal narrative and autoethnographic approaches, this research focuses on the working lives of individual people within the organizations for which they work.

    This international handbook includes chapters that provide multiple overarching perspectives to organizational autoethnography including views from fields such as critical, postcolonial and queer studies. It also tackles specific organizational processes, including organizational exits, grief, fandom, and workplace bullying, as well as highlighting the ethical implications of writing organizational research from a personal narrative approach. Contributors also provide autoethnographies about the military, health care and academia, in addition to approaches from various subdisciplines such as marketing, economics, and documentary film work.

    Contributions from the US, the UK, Europe, and the Global South span disciplines such as organizational studies and ethnography, communication studies, business studies, and theatre and performance to provide a comprehensive map of this wide-reaching area of qualitative research. This handbook will therefore be of interest to both graduate and postgraduate students as well as practicing researchers.

    Winner of the 2021 National Communication Association Ethnography Division Best Book Award

    Winner of the 2021 Distinguished Book on Business Communication Award, Association for Business Communication


    List of Figures

    List of Tables


    Preface: Organizing a Handbook and What’s Inside

    Andrew F. Herrmann

    Section I: Situating Organizational Autoethnography

    1. The Historical and Hysterical Narratives of Organization and Autoethnography

    Andrew F. Herrmann

    2. Life between Interlocking Oppressions: An Intersectional Approach to Organizational Autoethnography

    Helena Liu

    3. Autoethnography through the Prism of Foucault’s Care of the Self

    Leah Tomkins

    4. Queering Organizational Research Through Autoethnography

    Jamie McDonald and Nick Rumens

    5. Postcolonial Organizational Autoethnography: Journey into Reflexivity, Erasures, and Margins

    Mahuya Pal, Beatriz Nieto Fernandez, and Nivethitha Ketheeswaran

    6. Aggression, Bullying and Mobbing in the Workplace: An Autoethnographic Exploration

    Mpho M. Pheko, Thabo L. Seleke, Joy Tauetsile, and Motsomi N. Marobela

    Section II: Autoethnography Across Organizational Disciplines

    7. On Not Seeing Myself in the Research on Veterans

    Jeni R. Hunniecutt

    8. Navigating the Narrow Spaces: A Critical Autoethnography of Life in the (Postmodern) Neoliberal University

    Christopher N. Poulos

    9. Autoethnography and Information Technology

    Niamh Riordan

    10. Organizational Autoethnographies of Economy, Finance, Business and Management: Reflections and Possibilities

    Jeff Hearn, Karl-Erik Sveiby, and Anika Thym

    11. The Discomfort of Autoethnography in Academic Marketing Research

    Chris Hackley

    Section III: Organizations and Organizing

    12. Billable (H)ours: Autoethnography, Ambivalence, and Academic Labor in a Healthcare Organization

    Nicole Defenbaugh, Jay Baglia, and Elissa Foster

    13. Birthing Autoethnographic Philanthropy, Healing, and Organizational Change: That Baby’s Name

    Abby Lackey

    14. Organizing Desire: The Queer Bar

    Tony E. Adams

    15. Polypreneur: An Autoethnography of Owning Multiple Businesses, Simultaneously

    Stephanie K. Webb

    16. Organizational Resistance and Autoethnography

    Sanne Frandsen and R. Duncan M. Pelly

    Section IV: Organizing Organizational Identities

    17. Grieving Kathy: An Interactional Autoethnography of Cultivating Sustainable Organizations

    Danielle M. Stern and Linda D. Manning

    18. Finding the "I" in Fan: Organizing Around Performed Identities within Fan Spaces

    Adam Tyma

    19. Pieced Together. Writing Invisible (Dis)abilities in Academia

    Katrine Meldgaard Kjær and Noortje van Amsterdam

    20. "Switch Off the Headwork!": Everyday Organizational Crossings in Identity Transformations from Academic to Distance Runner

    Jacquelyn Allen-Collinson and John Hockey

    21. An Autoethnographic Account of (Pre)Retirement Socialization: Examining Anticipatory Messages About Workforce Exit

    Lindsey B. Anderson

    22. Walking Home: An Autoethnography of Hiking, Cultural Identity, and (De)colonization

    Phiona Stanley

    Section V: Writing and Evaluating Organizational Autoethnography

    23. Learning through the Process: Failure, Frustration and Forward Movement in Autoethnography

    Katherine Denker, Kayla Rausch, and Savaughn Williams

    24. The IRB’s Stone Wall: Rollercoaster of Doom

    Thomas W. Townsend, Angela Duggins, Brandon Bragg, Tess McCoy, Juliette Guerrault, Jessica Newell, and Hannah Tiberi

    25. Anchoring the Big Tent: How Organizational Autoethnography Exemplifies and Stretches Notions of Qualitative Quality

    Cary J. S. López and Sarah J. Tracy

    26. Towards a Model of Collaborative Organizational Autoethnography: The More the Merrier?

    Sally Sambrook and Clair Doloriert

    27. Autoethnographic Data as Abductive Experiences

    Wafa Said Mosleh

    Section VI: Organizing the Future of Organizational Autoethnography

    28. Framing Stories from the Academic Margins: Documentary as Qualitative Inquiry and Critical Community Engagement

    Brian Johnston

    29. Time and the Writing of Personal Narratives in Organizational Ethnography

    Mette Gislev Kjærsgaard and Henry Larson

    30. Organizing Autoethnography on the Internet: Models and Challenges

    Maha Bali

    31. A CCO Perspective on Autoethnography: Researching, Organizing and Constituting

    Frédérik Matte and Geneviève Boivin

    32. Conclusion: Organizing the Future of Organizational Autoethnography

    Andrew F. Herrmann



    Andrew F. Herrmann is an Associate Professor of Communication Studies at East Tennessee State University, where he teaches organizational and professional communication, communication technology, and personal narrative courses. His critical research focuses on identity, narrative, and power at the intersections of organizational, occupational, and popular culture contexts.