Cloak-and-dagger organization research: Benefits, costs & ethics of covert participant observation

Thomas J. Roulet, Michael J. Gill, Sebastien Stenger

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter in a published conference proceeding

1 Citation (SciVal)


Covert participant observation has often been discarded as a research method in the social sciences on the grounds that deceiving research subjects is unethical. We review the benefits and costs of the method to argue that the ethicality of covert observation is more ambiguous. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the study of socially important topics is often only possible through substantially covert participant observation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication76th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, AOM 2016
PublisherAcademy of Management
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventAcademy of Management, Annual Meeting: Making Organizations Meaningful - Los Angeles, Anaheim, CA, USA United States
Duration: 5 Aug 201610 Aug 2016


ConferenceAcademy of Management, Annual Meeting
Abbreviated titleAoM
Country/TerritoryUSA United States
CityAnaheim, CA
Internet address

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Management of Technology and Innovation
  • Industrial relations


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