ACSPRI Conferences, ACSPRI Social Science Methodology Conference 2016

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Video reflexive ethnography: A creative approach to understand and promote brilliant organisational experiences

Ann Dadich, Michael Hodgins, Aileen Collier

Building: Holme Building
Room: MacCallum Room
Date: 2016-07-21 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Last modified: 2016-06-24


Our paper demonstrates the creative use of video reflexive ethnography (VRE) to understand and promote brilliant organisational experiences. VRE invites participants to: feature in and/or have gather visual data (V); interpret the data pensively (R); and suspend and understand practices and experiences in situ (E). Within the highly complex context of a health service, the use of VRE in this study was creative for two reasons. First, it was grounded in positive organisation scholarship – as such, while cognisant of the challenges that pervade many health services, the study commenced with, and maintained a purposeful focus on that which brought joy, delight, amusement, and enhancement to the practitioners and their clients. Second, the context – marred by political tensions, strong professional identities, rigid accountability mechanisms, and limited resources – required a delicate balance between the use of video, reflexivity, and ethnography. By focusing on brilliance and balancing this three-way seesaw, two novel research findings emerged. First, brilliant organisational experiences appear to require a paradox, or contradictions that impel creative tensions. Second (and relatedly), despite the seeming value of collaboration and teamwork, brilliance also requires independence – that is, opportunities to reclaim a sense of autonomy and agency, so as to comfortably experiment with new practices that have the potential to be brilliant. Methodologically, by melding positive organisational scholarship with video reflexive ethnography, our study unveils how organisational actors negotiate their interdependencies to promote brilliant experiences in a context that might otherwise be difficult.

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