‘Grounded Visual Pattern Analysis: Photographs in organizational field studies’ – or, ‘what to do with a load of photographs after your fieldwork!’

 sam and harrietI am really pleased and very proud to say that Prof. Samantha Warren and I have finally published our work on visual analysis! Hoorah! This is a picture of us working on the first ideas for the paper, in a café in Spain…no, neither of us look like this anymore and yes, that’s how long it has taken us to get our heads down to write it! But great news – at last – after a very thorough and very supportive review process with Organizational Research Methods, we have had the paper, ‘Grounded Visual Pattern Analysis: Photographs in organizational field studies’ accepted for publication. It is in publication now and will soon be ‘online first’.

I have included the abstract for the paper below but do get in touch if you would like a full copy. I hope this paper will be of use to any visual researchers returning from the field with a load of photographs…and then wonder how to include them all in their analysis! I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Sam for her support and genius lid-popping moments during the writing process. Sorry it’s taken so long…I did have a baby in the middle of it all…but thanks for the final push – I couldn’t have finished this without you!

Abstract:

Visual methodologies for researching organizational life have grown in popularity over the past decade, with conceptual and methodological foundations now well documented. However, analytical critique has not kept pace and so in this paper, we offer grounded visual pattern analysis (GVPA) as a rigorous means of analysis that mines the discursive meanings of individual photographs and the visual patterns apparent across multiple still images. We illustrate GVPA’s value through an ethnographic field study investigating the relationship between workplace environments and identity formation among hair salon workers in the UK. Specifically, we explain how to combine the strengths of both ‘dialogical’ and ‘archaeological’ approaches to visual research (Meyer et al. 2013), which have hitherto been seen as distinct endeavours. We argue this is particularly valuable in field studies addressing material turns in organization studies, such as studies of space, strategy-as-practice, embodied cognition and servicescape aesthetics. The paper concludes by putting forward a series of potential directions for the future of visual organizational research based on the bridging of Meyer et al.’s (2013) five different methodological approaches.

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