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Toward an ethnographic imperative in public relations research

Everett, James L. & Johnston, Kim A. (2012) Toward an ethnographic imperative in public relations research. Public Relations Review, 38(4), pp. 522-528.

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Abstract

A central goal in social science research is developing descriptive and causal inferences from observable data (King, Keohane, & Verba, 1994). Following this perspective, we propose ethnography as a methodological imperative in public relations research that seeks to develop descriptive inferences about the influence of an organization’s culture on its social ecology. The ethnographic imperative in research design is derived from two interlocked, epistemological commitments in research design. First, a view that the culture of an organization is constituted as a system of shared knowledge that is socially transmitted over time among organizational members. Second, as a consequence, the cognitive setting for actorbased models of organizational social relationships and imperatives is cultural in nature. Based on these commitments, ethnography as a methodological imperative is specifically enjoined when research derived from cocreational public relations theories is explicitly set in sociocultural analysis of those organizations. The strength of this ethnographic imperative in research design is reflected by the degree of congruency between the descriptive inferences drawn from ethnographic data and the theoretical context within which such inferences are situated.

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ID Code: 51031
Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Public relations, Ethnography , Methodology , Organizational culture , Social ecology
DOI: 10.1016/j.pubrev.2012.05.006
ISSN: 0363-8111
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 Elsevier
Copyright Statement: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in <Public Relations Review>. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Public Relations Review, 38(4), (2012). DOI: 10.1016/j.pubrev.2012.05.006
Deposited On: 25 Jun 2012 08:49
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2013 16:56

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