automotive industry

No One Reason for It: Workforce Diversity, Cultural Complexity, and Staff Retention at BMW MINI

FIONA MOORE Royal Holloway University of London This case study is based on an ethnographic investigation conducted in 2003 at the BMW Plant Oxford automobile factory focusing on issues of staff retention. The study found that the workforce, as well as being diverse in conventional terms, was also divided in less immediately identifiable ways, and different groups within the workplace had quite different expectations from the experience or working there, and a programme to overcome these problems was developed....

Developing Socially Acceptable Autonomous Vehicles

ERIK VINKHUYZEN Nissan Research Center – Silicon Valley MELISSA CEFKIN Nissan Research Center – Silicon Valley Case Study—Recognizing that the movement of cars on the road involves inherently social action, Nissan hired a team of social scientists to lead research for the development of autonomous vehicles (AVs) that engage with pedestrians, bicyclists, and other cars in a socially acceptable manner. We are expected to provide results that can be implemented into algorithms, resulting in a challenge to our social science perspective: How do we translate what are observably social practices into implementable algorithms when road use practices are so often contingent on the particulars of a situation, and these situations defy easy categorization and generalization? This case study explores how our cross-disciplinary engagements have proceeded. A particular challenge for our efforts is the limitations of the technology in making observational distinctions that socially acceptable driving necessitates. We also illustrate...

Engineering Ethnographic Encounters to Lead to Better Project Results

JOSHUA DRESNER Claro Partners Case Study—This case study highlights the value of taking clients through their own ethnographic encounters during a customer experience project. It demonstrates how taking key project stakeholders on fieldwork builds their empathy with their sales and service channels and end-customers, and creates a space for reflection and an imperative for action. The case study includes examples from ethnographic encounters and how they led clients to have a new understanding about the customer experience, and take action. It underlines the value of ethnography in business as not just uncovering insights, but as a process stakeholders should be involved in to lead to effective human-centered strategy and direction for a client organisation....