Challenges, Dilemmas and Pitfalls of Organizational Ethnography

cover-Anthropology-as-a-Driver-for-Tourism-Researchuit: Anthropology as a Driver for Tourism Research, Munster, W. (chapter 9). Garant uitgevers.

The book was inspired by the strongly increasing cross-fertilization between anthropological research and tourism studies. It provides a rich and comprehensive overview of key topics within contemporary international research related to the anthropology of tourism, including theoretical and methodological issues, field studies, ethnographic museum policy and the anthropological contributions to tourism policy research and cultural tourism studies.

Chapter summary (chapter 9)
Since the year 2000 Amsterdam’s competitive position as a tourist destination is under pressure and its former top ranking among the world capitals is in decline. Dales, the alderman of Economic Affairs had to take action to improve Amsterdam’s position. This type of problem is not just a local government issue. It is widely recognised that both public and private partners have to take their responsibility in improving a city’s position on the tourism market and have to contribute to the process, which is known as city marketing. Thus in 2004 the public-private partnership Amsterdam Partners, Amsterdam’s city marketing organization, was created. Various partners had to cooperate in order to develop and implement a city marketing policy with a view of strengthening the declining image of the city and achieving a strong and transparent collaboration between stakeholders. However, the opposite happened, and eight difficult years followed during which the troublesome collaboration between the different marketing & promotion organizations impeded to have successful city marketing. This chapter provides an anthropological analysis of this city marketing process based on organizational ethnography as a research methodology. It shows in particular the advantages for a researcher that knows the field and the involved actors, but it also displays the challenges, dilemmas and difficulties for a researcher that plays multiple roles in the research field. The chapter concludes with a reflection on the researcher’s role and the consequences of a close involvement in the research field.

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