ethnograpy in business

August 21, 2007 at 12:00 pm Leave a comment

the incentive structure in a particular organization, tied to its self description of its place
in the market is a key to an ethnographic analysis of business; in chasm terms, are they are an early adopter, and is that myth
still operative, or is it something else. what is the myth of technology in the organization?
just a tool or a liberating force to create a new and more powerful future? to what degree
does IT hold the vision of the organization and its prospects, competitive advantage? all
business is, in the end, a futures contract, based on what the key stakeholders believe is
the net present value of their future cashflows as conceptualized by the people who create
the aura of value around the business (their vendors, customers, investors, etc). When you
are talking ethnography you are basically talking about what symbols of power and hope
are at work. Once you get that kind of alignment then the problem falls into the realm of
what I’ve always thought of as the holy trinity of business — the most money at the
highest sustainable margin at the lowest cost — applies. BTW I am thinking about
making money again to support the things I believe in and want to see happen until they
reach a financially sustainable plane on the clear demonstration of their own intrinsic
value; a market timing issue is at play here. So this discussion is more interesting to me
than it might have been at another point in time. I’d like to push it forward. but if you start
with a term like enthography then you have to be ready for meaning-creep. once you let
the anthropologist’s nose under the tent, who knows what might follow, to use an old
arabic metaphor. not sure what homeland security will say with that kind of cross-border
semiotic emigration. but since im on my way to montreal to figure out the flaws in an
exchange focused on interior designers and furniture manufacturers, and just read the
Sunday Globe and Mail, my willingness to transgress borders of all kinds is on the
momentary increase (question: could we just outsource the governing function to Canada
and let us American focus on the production of technology and entertainment like the
children we are?).

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x is the new black Greendimes

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