By Any Means Necessary? Ethnographic Access, Ethics and the Critical Researcher

Rafael Alcadipani, Damian Hodgson


This paper aims to analyse the implications of negotiating ethnographic research access following research ethical codes and remain coherent with Critical Management Studies (CMS) principles. Through this reflective account, we seek to address the field of Organisation Studies (OS), where ethnographic research access has attracted little theoretical scholarly attention, and also to contribute to the renewed focus on ethical research practice within CMS literature. In addition, we also aim to contribute to broader debates about qualitative research practices by highlighting the ethical implications of establishing formal research access and to analyse the dilemmas that arise from the conflict between prescriptive ethical codes and researcher's own conscience when carrying out field research. Rather than calling for a new, revised code of ethics, we appeal for a more open and honest debate about the pragmatic realities of critical, organisational ethnographic research.

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