Narratives of enterprise revisited: methodological appendices in ethnographic books

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Purpose: This paper is the first in a series that reprints methodological appendices or methods chapters found in workplace and organisational ethnographic books, and provides an opportunity for reflection by the author through an introductory commentary. Simon Down, the author of Narratives of Enterprise (Down, 2006) reflects on the writing and the research underpinning his ethnography. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach: The reprinting of such chapters will enhance access to key ethnographic texts, and facilitate reflection on methodological choices authors made. In so doing this paper will provide insights into methodological ethnographic writing, and show how sensibilities and fashions change over time.

Findings: Narratives of Enterprise (Down, 2006) examined how two small business managers in a single firm construct an entrepreneurial self-identity, and what this process of self-creation means for the individuals and how the firm is managed. The key topics explored in the book, self-identity as a conceptual tool and enterprise as a social and economic reality, have both grown in relevance and importance since the research was conducted. Down also reflects on that nature and dynamism of friendship in research practice.

Originality/value: Reflection on choices made at some distance can provide particular and valuable insights into the development of research practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-43
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Organizational Ethnography
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Narratives
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Ethnographic books
  • Friendship and research practice
  • Methodological appendices/chapters
  • Self-identity


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