Leveraging very highly-skilled in order to overcomeLeveraging very highly-skilled in order to overcome

Leveraging Ethnography

Perform formal market research to probe and confirm the findings of ethnographic study:  market research provides key data on the market opportunities. When the ethnography is conducted early, before the market research, there is an important prospect for the survey to focus on emergent dimensions that otherwise would have been overlooked.
Engage in formal innovation activities where ethnographic findings are presented and where their meanings for product innovation are discussed: top management will need exposure to what the field research team found.
Challenge original assumptions: Special care must be taken to confront initial assumptions about the study.
Apply insights for innovative product concept development: The cost and time invested in planning, executing, and debriefing the ethnography will only be recovered to the extent that the results of the study is more competitive.
Be attentive to both the costs and the potential benefits from ethnographic inquiry

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Risks Relating to Ethnography

Ethnographic studies consist of the researcher observing the subjects within the environment which the (prospect) blueprint is intended to support. The two key possible risks associated with ethnographic studies are:

1.      ResearcherEthnographic researchers need to be very highly-skilled in order to overcome all the potential pitfalls of an ethnographic study. Some of these include the detail & completeness of observations, as well as potential bias (and mistakes) in data collection or analysis.

2.      SubjectsIt is important that in any studies’ subjects are as true a representation of the population as possible. It is also important that the participants are honest with the researcher. Of course, both of these issues are related to the quality of the researcher themselves and their role in the study’s design.

Most of the risks related with ethnographic studies relate to the researcher, either directly or indirectly. This, of course, means that the choice of ethnographic researcher is critical to a study’s success. Hence it is recommended that when short listing a researcher his background of previous association in successful projects across varying domains should be investigated.


The illustration is based on Garrison’s (1985) ethnographic research. The subsequent sections review this paper in detail:


Ethnographies are subsets of anthropological research. According to Erickson (1973) they comprise of thick depiction and elucidation of culture of any societal system forming a corporate entity in which social relations are synchronized by custom. Anthropologists constantly study the behavior of human beings in terms of cultural context. The method of examining practices and human behaviors of a group implies that ethnography is naturalistic and field-oriented. The researcher stays in the field for a considerable amount of time, participating, observing, and interviewing the cultural events so that they get engrossed in the culture and stabilise the perceptive of both the insider and outsider. According to Erickson (1973) the researcher should begin by examining even very commonplace processes or groups in a fresh and different way, as if they were exceptional and unique. The close examination will allow the researcher to discern the detail and the generality that are necessary for realistic descriptions (Goetz & LeCompte, 1984). The obligation to preserve an outside perspective implies that ethnographers generally study cultures other than their own culture.

Ethnomusicological research is possibly the closest to an established body of musically centered research compared to the range of other qualitative research methods. Ethnomusicology is a field in music that extracts its logical roots and methods from anthropology as well as from musicology. The aim of Ethnomusicology is to comprehend music in the context of human behavior. According to Nettl (1983) the researcher is broadly concerned with questions of the function and usage of music, the concepts which lie behind music behavior, the musician role and status, and other related issues. The importance is on music in total, the researchers attempt to surface from their study with extensive and in general complete information both of the music and the culture, and the applicability of music.