Data for the Study

Charlotte Linde

in Working the Past

Published in print January 2009 | ISBN: 9780195140286
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199871247 | DOI:
Data for the Study

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This chapter describes the process of gathering data for the study, which is the outcome of a three-year, team ethnographic study of a large American insurance company. It then describes the insurance industry, and this company in a period of major change in the economy. It offers a detailed description of the insurance products offered, the work of commission sales agents, their relation to management, and the culture of sales. It also describes changes in the management structure, the training process for agents, and the contractual arrangement between the company and its agents. This description provides the background for why the company used stories as it did, and what those stories mean within the context of the company. Finally, this chapter discuss the ethical and practical issues involved in doing ethnographic fieldwork within a corporation using financial sponsorship by that corporation.

Keywords: ethnography of work; insurance sales; sales culture; fieldwork ethics

Chapter.  16525 words. 

Subjects: Sociolinguistics

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