Exploring Outsider/Insider Dynamics and Intersectionalities
In this chapter, we aim to contribute to the development of an intersectional approach to culture and identity in cross-cultural management studies by exploring the experience of insider and outside ethnographers doing research with organisations in sub-Saharan Africa. We start from an understanding of researchers’ identity as resulting from the dynamic intersection of multiple categories (race, gender, class, education and so on) in specific contexts, shaped by economic, social, political and cultural processes and structures. Previous studies have highlighted that being an insider researcher (e.g., sharing key characteristics with the participants, such as skin colour or national/ethnic identity), or an outsider has a significant impact in the research process. However, insider and outsider identities have been predominantly conceived on the basis of the nationality, which has often lead to an understanding of cultures and identities as fixed and stable. In this chapter, we challenge this dominant perspective, by enlightening how researchers’ identities are fluid and continuously in-the-making, even within the research process itself. Drawing on joint reflections on our experiences as management researchers in sub-Saharan Africa, and on ten interviews with colleagues with similar experiences, we explore how researcher’s identity is shaped and negotiated along the research process and its role in knowledge production, paying especially attention to local and wider power dynamics.