JOHN CURRAN

Contributed Articles

Ethnography for Organizational Change

An EPIC Talk with DANIEL BEUNZA, Bayes Business School & JOHN CURRAN, JC & Associates Organizations are realizing that successful change requires the ability to understand work practices as cultural practices. They need to go beyond the ubiquitous employee survey to develop a more holistic view of meaning and behavior as they unfold on the ground. Join management professor Daniel Beunza and business anthropologist John Curran in an informative and illuminating discussion of ethnography’s role in organizational change. Drawing on a wide range of scholarship as well as their own work in multiple sectors and industries, they will address: Theories and models of organizational change How technologies and material work systems underpin moral systems Why ethnography is essential for decoding organizational culture and facilitating change Ethnography as a management tool Beunza will also share key insights from his award-winning book Taking the Floor: Models, Morals and Management in a Wall Street...

Your Client Relationship Is an Ethnographic Field

Use ethnographic concepts and techniques for more successful relationships with stakeholders, clients, and teams. by JOHN CURRAN, JC Associates John Curran teaches the EPIC Course Leveraging Organizational Culture for Impact—details here! —ed. Some years ago a renowned UK-based charity invited me to help them understand why their legacy donations had flat lined for two years. The conventional wisdom had been that charitable donations had decreased as a result of the financial crisis in 2008. But when a statistical analysis showed that donations to other, similar sized charities were in fact increasing, they realized the problem was not just macroeconomics. The charity wanted new insights to explain their stagnation. Organizations generally hire ethnographers to help them understand the world “out there,” and that was the brief my contract client produced. But delivering insights is not the same as creating value. I quickly discovered that for insights to matter, the scope of my project—from kick-off to signoff—would...

Decoding Organizational Culture: An Anthropological Mindset

An EPIC Talk with JOHN CURRAN (JC & Associates) Overview What is organisational culture and how does it shape how we work? Why does the business world and organisations tend to misunderstand organisational culture? How can an 'anthropological mindset’ give value to organisations? This webinar will set out to answer these three questions by blending a mixture of theoretical and practical approaches to understanding organisational culture; place and space, ritual, symbolism, impression management and conflict. I will show techniques on how to feedback ethnographic insights back to organizations through facilitation and how to empower organizations to understand the culture through multiple lenses through the SLAM cultural audit tool. John Curran specializes in making organizations highly productive and people centric in order to achieve growth. He combines his expertise in anthropology, executive coaching, facilitation and service design to work with CEO’s, senior leaders and their teams to develop dynamic and collaborative...

Big Data or ‘Big Ethnographic Data’? Positioning Big Data within the Ethnographic Space

JOHN CURRAN This paper offers a cultural analysis of the different narratives that currently frame the concept of Big Data. With specific attention to how the ethnographic community has approached Big Data, I will make the point that the ethnographic community needs to rethink what its offer is within the business world. Instead of trying to position ethnography as a discipline that provides deep insights to human behaviour (which we often call ‘the why’), while Big Data offers broad accounts based on large data collection, I make the case that both approaches should be seen as being positioned within an ethnographic space. This is because both ethnography and Big Data are interested in human behaviour and the cultural field and both are interested in generating insights. We should therefore situate Big Data and ethnography as a relationship that exists in a new epistemological field, a field that is both interpretative and data driven. This field I call 'Big Ethnographic Data'....