Better together: Examining the role of collaborative ethnographic documentary in organizational research

Natasha Slutskaya, Annilee M. Game, Ruth C. Simpson

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23 Citations (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)


Despite growing interest in video-based methods in organizational research, the use of collaborative ethnographic documentaries is rare. Organizational research could benefit from the inclusion of collaborative ethnographic documentaries to: 1) enable the participation of ‘difficult to research’ groups, 2) better access the material, embodied or sensitive dimensions of work and organizing, and 3) enhance the dissemination and practical benefits of findings. To increase understanding of this under-explored method, the authors first review the available literature and consider strengths, limitations and ethical concerns in comparison with traditional ethnography and other video-based methods. Using recent data collected on working class men doing ‘dirty work’, the authors then illustrate the use of collaborative ethnographic documentary as an investigative tool - capturing often concealed, embodied and material dimensions of work; and a reflective tool - elaborating and particularizing participants’ narrative accounts. It is concluded that collaborative ethnographic documentary facilitates greater trust and communication between researchers and participants, triggering richer exploration of participants’ experiences, in turn strengthening theoretical insights and practical impact of the research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-365
Number of pages25
JournalOrganizational Research Methods
Issue number2
Early online date1 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • ethnography
  • collaborative documentary
  • dirty work
  • video methods

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