Revisiting Ethnography and Reflexivity for Language-Sensitive Workplace Research

Kristina Humonen & Jo Angouri

In book: Understanding the Dynamics of Language and Multilingualism in Professional Contexts: Advances in Language‐Sensitive Management Research, Publisher: Edward Elgar


Reflexivity is often described as one of the core components of qualitative research, yet language-sensitive management research has paid surprisingly little attention to the role of a researcher in the knowledge (re)production process. In this chapter, we suggest that the relationship between knowledge claims and a researcher’s various positions should be made more explicit through greater engagement with reflexivity. Drawing on our own ethnographic work, we put forward three main ideas about reflexive practice. First, reflexivity should be treated as part of epistemological considerations throughout the research process, and not merely limited to a methodological approach. Second, epistemic reflexivity enhances the critical reading of assumptions. Third, a reflexive approach can provide access to a multilevel analysis of language use in the workplace. By reflecting on different datasets from two workplace contexts, we seek to address the ways in which a researcher’s subjectivities are part of the research outcomes.