How to Use Ethnographical Case Studies to Decipher National Cultures

Philippe d’Iribarne -in Rethinking the Case Study in International Business and Management Research, Edited by Rebecca Piekkari and Catherine Welch, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK • Northampton, MA, USA, 2011.

In the current state of ‘cultural studies’, case studies tend only to be used for relatively local cultures, such as organizations or parts of organizations. The analysis of national cultures is mostly left to research that uses attitude scales. The application of an interpretative approach based on case studies provides a viable alternative to quantitative approaches. It makes it possible to highlight visions of an ideal way of living and working together, as well as the fears everyone tries to assuage that are unique to each society. Clues of these visions and fears can be found in the overall discourse of actors belonging to the same society and in the writings they produce. By following a hermeneutic approach, one can gradually proceed from these clues to a global comprehension of each culture and to what differentiates it from other cultures.

You can also be interested in reading :

Chantal Claudel, Patricia von Münchow, Michele Pordeus Ribeiro, Frédéric Pugnière-Saavedra et Geneviève Tréguer-Felten,  « Langue, discours et culture : vingt ans de recherche en comparaison », in Cultures, discours, langues. Nouveaux abordages, Lambert-Lucas, 2013.

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