Saying the unsayable: An Autoethnography of Working in a For-Profit University

  • Katie Best


This paper draws on my experiences as Director of Management Programmes at the UK’s first ‘for-profit’ university college and uses documents, ethnographic notes, interviews, and autobiographical extracts made and gathered during my time in this role to explore tensions between commercial and academic aims. The chapter discusses the opportunities and challenges of being an ethnographer and qualitative management researcher in an educational organisation with both commercial and academic aims. Here I examine my role as organisational ethnographer, and then as writer of organisational ethnography in an ethical and practical fix. This chapter is an outline of my experiences of trying to cope with having written something quite sensitive about an organisation of which I’m no longer a part, and how to reconcile that with my career and myself.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katie Best
    • 1
  1. 1.Independent Lecturer and ConsultantLondonUK

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