Re-engineering unwritten rules: an ethnographic study of an intra-organizational ecology

SHARPE, Jason, SUCKLEY, Louise and PRICE, Ilfryn (2011). Re-engineering unwritten rules: an ethnographic study of an intra-organizational ecology. Working Paper. Not specified. (Submitted)


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We discuss a behavioural study into the departmental barriers uncovered by qualitative research in ‘Medico’, the UK subsidiary of a market-leading, global supplier of products and services for medical devices for whom sophisticated operations and supply chain management is paramount. An ethnographic investigation of Medico’s production operations, informed by an ontologically realist, narrative ecology, perspective, revealed, and appeared to explain, socially constructed, and emergent rather than intended, inter-departmental barriers. The research revealed latent drivers for production improvement that Medico’s vice-president was able to act on significantly increasing the company’s key measure of operational effectiveness. The example demonstrates that ‘qualitative’ research can have real world impact in an advanced operational context. It also contributes to an ecological or complex adaptive systems, view of organizations and, inter alia, their supply chains. Keywords: unwritten rules, memes, applied ethnography, organizational ecology, silos, throughput improvement.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sheffield Business School Research Institute > Service Sector Management
Departments: Sheffield Business School > Management
Sheffield Business School > Service Sector Management
Depositing User: Ilfryn Price
Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2011 17:07
Last Modified: 12 May 2018 22:01

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