The Usefulness of an Ethnographic Approach to the International Comparison of Organizations

Philippe d’Iribarne, International Studies of Management & Organization, Vol. 26, No. 4, Social Anthropology, Business Studies, and Cultural Issues (Winter, 1996/1997), pp. 30-47.

Most international comparisons in the field of organizational studies are based on surveys conducted by questionnaire. At the same time, other comparative research projects have adopted an ethnographic approach. It is instructive to compare the results obtained by the two approaches in a certain number of countries. The focus here is on three countries: France, the United States, and Holland. On the basis of this comparison, the limitations of a questionnaire-based approach are considered and the potential of an ethnographic approach to transcend these is demonstrated.

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