My good friend Penny Plowman has undertaken qualitative research on the use of a diary methodology as one aspect of an integrated approach to organisational analysis and change. One of the beautiful things about this method is that it enables organisational participants to articulate truths about their organisation - truths that often otherwise remain hidden!
Interesting themes that have arisen for Penny in the course of her research include how diarists address issues of 'silencing' that happens in organisations, as well as how to address issues of inclusion and exclusion from centres of power (the 'boys' club'), and issues of emotion and feelings at work. An important question that arises with this type of organisational research is whether an organisation is ready to address issues that arise from the research. One of the exciting opportunities that arises from this type of research is the participative nature of the research - in that the diarists become 'co-researchers' into the life and culture of the organisation. You can listen to Penny's full University of Johannesburg presentation on the link here.