Handbook of Qualitative Research Methods on Human Resource Management
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Handbook of Qualitative Research Methods on Human Resource Management

Innovative Techniques

Edited by Keith Townsend, Rebecca Loudoun and David Lewin

This Handbook explores the opportunities and challenges of new technologies for innovating data collection and data analysis in the context of human resource management. Written by some of the world’s leading researchers in their field, it comprehensively explores modern qualitative research methods from good project design, to innovations in data sources and data collection methods and, finally, to best-practice in data analysis.
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Chapter 15: Autoethnographic vignettes in HRM

Mark Learmonth and Michael Humphreys


Many members of faculty in business schools have had relatively lengthy industrial experience prior to joining academia. Mark, for instance, the first author of this chapter, worked for 17 years in the UK National Health Service (NHS) before his PhD. Similarly, Mike worked in technical and further education colleges for 25 years before his PhD. Indeed, according to Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) data (employee statistics for UK universities), the average business PhD student graduates at 31 years of age – implying that many business PhDs have had careers prior to academia – while there is also a large cohort of DBA and executive MBA students who continue working as managers in the course of pursuing practice-orientated degrees. What this chapter will do, therefore, is to discuss the idea of “autoethnographic vignettes” – theoretically informed stories (vignettes) drawn from our own lives (auto) about our observations of working life (ethnography). Indeed, a potentially rich well of data exists among business academics and students concerning their own personal, insider accounts – vignettes of working life. However, this well of experience remains relatively untapped, in part because there are few outlets to publish work based on one’s own personal accounts.

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