Organizational Ethnography and the State of Oregon



  • A single individual oversees environmental training and compliance with 28 policy objectives for over 4,000 personnel at 49 facilities spread across the State of Oregon.
  • Insight into the values, habits, and comprehension of compliance requirements were needed to enhance training tools, save training dollars, and integrate compliance activities into the daily duties and routines of personnel.


  • Applied ethnographic methods (participant observation, shadowing, behavioral observation, structured and informal interviews, and surveys) to generate qualitative data on how personnel perform their duties.
  • Gathered quantitative data (infractions, fines, findings, training rates, training types) on training and compliance performance over a 10 year time period.  
  • Conducted training program user testing (UX) research to learn how and when personnel use or don’t use existing training and compliance tools.
  • Performed qualitative data analysis (Atlas.ti) to understand complex relationships between federal, state, and local regulations and the daily job duties of personnel.
  • Generated a technical report that summarized the effectiveness of existing compliance tools and recommended a series of new tools (environmental compliance simulators) that increase compliance rate and reduce costs for the State of Oregon


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