The Visual Dimension in Organizing, Organization, and Organization Research: Core Ideas, Current Developments, and Promising Avenues

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Academy of Management Annals, 2013, 7 (1), pp. 487 - 553
Issue Date:
2013-01-01
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With the unprecedented rise in the use of visuals, and its undeniable omnipresence in organizational contexts, as well as in the individual's everyday life, organization and management science has recently started to pay closer attention to the to date under-theorized "visual mode" of discourse and meaning construction. Building primarily on insights from the phenomenological tradition in organization theory and from social semiotics, this article sets out to consolidate previous scholarly efforts and to sketch a fertile future research agenda. After briefly exploring the workings of visuals, we introduce the methodological and theoretical "roots" of visual studies in a number of disciplines that have a long-standing tradition of incorporating the visual. We then continue by extensively reviewing work in the field of organization and management studies: More specifically, we present five distinct approaches to feature visuals in research designs and to include the visual dimension in scholarly inquiry. Subsequently, we outline, in some detail, promising avenues for future research, and close with a reflection on the impact of visualization on scientific practice itself. © 2013 Copyright Academy of Management.
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