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Doing research in extreme environments

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This workshop in the Organizing in Extreme Contexts series will focus on the methodological and ethical considerations associated with doing  research in extreme contexts. 

Extreme contexts include ”risks of severe physical, psychological or material consequences…to organizational members or their constituents »  (Hannah  et  al.,  2009)”. The Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa, the resurgence of ideological extremism, and the accidental death of climbers in Nepal are recent examples. Because of the risk of the researchee and the researcher, the inability to predict significant events, and the not so uncommon inaccessibility, extreme environments pose significant methodological and ethical challenges – but also opportunities – for the one pursuing such an avenue. This workshop therefore includes but is not limited to questions such as: 

  • How to access an extreme environment?
  • When does the danger justify the benefit?
  • How to study the extreme in practice?
  • How to ensure relevance to other organizations?
  • The consequences of isolation on the researchee, and researcher?
  • Is there a need for new tools for research, or is the old ones good enough?

Reflecting, and providing an answer to these, and other questions associated to the topic is pertinent in advancing the knowledge not only about extreme environments per se, but also, and more importantly, about larger questions within organization theory. By reflecting upon these larger questions we as a community of scholars may be able to provide a counter-point towards other forms of theorizing can be mirrored and compared. From this vantage point, the workshop is hence dedicated to researchers that wishes to share  their experiences, and better understand the considerations related to research in extreme environments.

The workshop is arranged around two master classes – focusing on qualitative research methods in extreme environments, and three roundtable discussion sessions – focusing on individual papers and reflections from those.

Mats Alvesson, Ann Cunliffe and Ann Langley will be our distinguished speakers.

If you wish to participate, please email projectorganizing@gmail.com, before October 15th. 

For the purpose of organizing the roundtables we need a title and a brief summary of your presentation (or the work-in-progress paper) as soon as possible but at the latest on December 1st.

WHEN: 28–29th of January, 2016

WHERE: Umeå School of Business and Administration, Umeå university, Umeå, Sweden

COST: None 

The workshop is arranged by TripleED at Umeå School of Business and Economics, GePS, HEC Montreal and the Chair for Organization Studies, University of Hamburg. 

1 januari