For nearly 40 years researchers have been using narratives and stories to understand larger cultural issues through the lenses of their personal experiences. There is an increasing recognition that autoethnographic approaches to work and organizations add to our knowledge of both personal identity and organizational scholarship. By using personal narrative and autoethnographic approaches, this research focuses on the working lives of individual people within the organizations for which they work.

This international handbook includes chapters that provide multiple overarching perspectives to organizational autoethnography including views from fields such as critical, postcolonial and queer studies. It also tackles specific organizational processes, including organizational exits, grief, fandom, and workplace bullying, as well as highlighting the ethical implications of writing organizational research from a personal narrative approach. Contributors also provide autoethnographies about the military, health care and academia, in addition to approaches from various subdisciplines such as marketing, economics, and documentary film work.

Contributions from the US, the UK, Europe, and the Global South span disciplines such as organizational studies and ethnography, communication studies, business studies, and theatre and performance to provide a comprehensive map of this wide-reaching area of qualitative research. This handbook will therefore be of interest to both graduate and postgraduate students as well as practicing researchers.

Winner of the 2021 National Communication Association Ethnography Division Best Book Award

Winner of the 2021 Distinguished Book on Business Communication Award, Association for Business Communication

chapter |10 pages


Organizing a handbook and how to use it
ByAndrew F. Herrmann

part Section I|104 pages

Situating organizational autoethnography

chapter 2|12 pages

Life between interlocking oppressions

An intersectional approach to organizational autoethnography
ByHelena Liu

chapter 4|15 pages

Queering organizational research through autoethnography

ByJamie McDonald, Nick Rumens

chapter 5|15 pages

Postcolonial organizational autoethnography

Journey into reflexivity, erasures, and margins
ByMahuya Pal, Beatriz Nieto Fernandez, Nivethitha Ketheeswaran

chapter 6|16 pages

Aggression, bullying, and mobbing in the workplace

An autoethnographic exploration
ByMpho M. Pheko, Thabo L. Seleke, Joy Tauetsile, Motsomi N. Marobela

part Section II|73 pages

Autoethnography across organizational disciplines

chapter 7|17 pages

On not seeing myself in the research on Veterans

ByJeni R. Hunniecutt

chapter 8|12 pages

Navigating the narrow spaces

A critical autoethnography of life in the (postmodern) Neoliberal University
ByChristopher N. Poulos

chapter 9|14 pages

Autoethnography and information technology

ByNiamh O Riordan

chapter 10|16 pages

Organizational autoethnographies of economy, finance, business and management

Reflections and possibilities
ByJeff Hearn, Karl-Erik Sveiby, Anika Thym

chapter 11|12 pages

The discomfort of autoethnography in academic marketing research

ByChris Hackley

part Section III|80 pages

Organizations and organizing

chapter 12|18 pages

Billable (h)ours

Autoethnography, ambivalence, and academic labor in a healthcare organization
ByNicole Defenbaugh, Jay Baglia, Elissa Foster

chapter 13|16 pages

Birthing autoethnographic philanthropy, healing, and organizational change

That baby’s name
ByAbby Arnold

chapter 14|15 pages

Organizing desire

The queer bar
ByTony E. Adams

chapter 15|12 pages


An autoethnography of owning multiple businesses, simultaneously
ByStephanie K. Webb

chapter 16|17 pages

Organizational resistance and autoethnography

BySanne Frandsen, R. Duncan, M. Pelly

part Section IV|82 pages

Organizing organizational identities

chapter 17|16 pages

Grieving Kathy

An interactional autoethnography of cultivating sustainable organizations
ByDanielle M. Stern, Linda D. Manning

chapter 18|11 pages

Finding the “I” in “Fan”

Structures of performed identity within fan spaces 1
ByAdam W. Tyma

chapter 19|15 pages

Pieced together. Writing invisible (dis)abilities in academia

ByKatrine Meldgaard Kjær, Noortje van Amsterdam

chapter 20|14 pages

“Switch off the headwork!”

Everyday organizational crossings in identity transformations from academic to distance runner
ByJacquelyn Allen-Collinson, John Hockey

chapter 21|12 pages

An autoethnographic account of (pre)retirement socialization

Examining anticipatory messages about workforce exit
ByLindsey B. Anderson

chapter 22|12 pages

Walking home

An autoethnography of hiking, cultural identity, and (de)colonization
ByPhiona Stanley

part Section V|83 pages

Writing and evaluating organizational autoethnography

chapter 23|13 pages

Learning through the process

Failure, frustration, and forward movement in autoethnography
ByKatherine J. Denker, Kayla Rausch, Savaughn E. Williams

chapter 24|17 pages

The IRB’s stone wall

Rollercoaster of doom
ByThomas W. Townsend, Angela Duggins, Brandon Bragg, Tessa McCoy, Juliette Guerrault, Jessica Newell, Hannah Tiberi

chapter 25|16 pages

Anchoring “the Big Tent”

How organizational autoethnography exemplifies and stretches notions of qualitative quality
ByCary J. S. López, Sarah J. Tracy

chapter 26|16 pages

Towards a model of collaborative organizational autoethnography

The more the merrier?
BySally Sambrook, Clair Doloriert

chapter 27|19 pages

Autoethnographic data as abductive experiences

ByWafa Said Mosleh

part Section VI|63 pages

Organizing the future of organizational autoethnography

chapter 28|20 pages

Framing stories from the academic margins

Documentary as qualitative inquiry and critical community engagement
ByBrian Johnston

chapter 29|13 pages

Time and the writing of personal narratives in organizational ethnography

ByMette Gislev Kjærsgaard, Henry Larsen

chapter 30|14 pages

Organizing autoethnography on the internet

Models and challenges
ByMaha Bali

chapter 31|14 pages

A CCO perspective on autoethnography

Researching, organizing, and constituting
ByFrédérik Matte, Geneviève Boivin

chapter |5 pages


Organizing the future of organizational autoethnography
ByAndrew F. Herrmann