Taking an autoethnographic perspective: On becoming a member of a tertiary community

Year: 2005

Author: Stephenson, Lauren

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Within the field of qualitative research, autoethnography is becoming more widely known as a useful and appropriate approach. This form of self-narrative places the self within a social context and as a result a person learns how they are defined by the world, and how to redefine themselves and their relationships with others through on going reflection.

This paper discusses a project that aimed to investigate individual learning at different organizational levels within a developing university in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over a three year period. I will define autoethnography, outline the aims of the project and explore the nature of individual learning within the social context of a UAE university setting. Informal and implicit learning at different organisational levels and the impact of organisational cultural agents on that learning are discussed. The development of identities of self as an individual negotiates an organisation are addressed. I will also discuss the strengths and challenges when studying informal and implicit teacher learning and suggest future directions for research. Finally, the paper will identify ways in which methodology used in this specific context has applicability for offering fresh ideas and creative solutions within a broader international context.