Original Research

Applying duoethnography to position researcher identity in management research

Lisa C. Kinnear, Shaun Ruggunan
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 17 | a1056 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v17i0.1056 | © 2019 Lisa C. Kinnear, Shaun Ruggunan | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 March 2018 | Published: 10 July 2019

About the author(s)

Lisa C. Kinnear, School of Management, Information Technology and Governance, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Shaun Ruggunan, School of Management, Information Technology and Governance, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

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Orientation: South African management studies do not have a strong tradition of qualitative, critical and reflexive research. We explore how this may occur through a reflection on researcher identity.

Research purpose: To critically reflect on the focussed dialogue and reflection between the authors and to demonstrate how duoethnography can challenge management scholars to become more reflective of their scholarship.

Motivation for the study: To show how duoethnography can be applied in management studies scholarship as a methodological approach.

Research approach/design and method: A duoethnographic approach is used. This is a collaborative form of autoethnography between two researchers. The researchers themselves become the participants of the study. The dialogue between the researchers is reflective of shared, sometimes conflictual experiences on a focussed topic or research question. We reflect on the ways our dialogues influence Lisa’s reflection of her own identity when conducting qualitative doctoral research with a feminist lens. Her identity is also influenced through some of the narrative texts of the women she interviewed during her fieldwork.

Main findings: The account concludes that duoethnography challenges the positivist position that researcher identity is objective from the participants we research. We show that gender, race and epistemic assumptions are not simply quantitative variables.

Practical/managerial implications: The practical implication of the study is to encourage management scholars to engage in duoethnographic collaborations as a means to facilitate critical reflection on current and past work.

Contribution/value-add: The study provides an original duoethnographic account that is an uncommon reflective practice in a management research context.


autoethnography; critical management studies; critical reflexivity; duoethnography; feminist epistemology; feminist management scholarship; intersectionality; qualitative research; researcher positioning; whiteness


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