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The visual dimension in organizing, organization, and organization research

In contemporary society, the increasing availability of visual material that goes hand in hand with new information technologies has revolutionized the usage of ‘visual language’ quantitatively as well as qualitatively. However, this phenomenon has only marginally been addressed in organization and management theory and research so far. In this project, we aim at a better understanding of the role of visual material in the construction and framing of organizational reality, as well as in the constitution of the broader social, cultural, and institutional environment.

Current foci are the institutionalization of novel ideas and visual framing of globally diffusing management concepts, particularly corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability. Methodologically, we aim at developing approaches to better study the impact of visual material on a larger scale, enabling us to transcend the individual image as an analytic unit and generate insights on higher levels of analysis. More generally, the project also aims at establishing and furthering a research agenda in the field of visual organization and management studies. This will be achieved through extensive research collaborations and various community-building activities.

The project is ongoing. Several manuscripts have been published in major academic journals and established textbooks, and an additional number of manuscripts are currently under review. Several platforms for academic exchange on the topic have been co-organized by members of the project team.

Team: Renate Meyer, Markus Höllerer, Dennis Jancsary

Partner: The project is coordinated with complementary projects on the impact of material artifacts and visual representations on the institutionalization of innovations (DFF-1327-00030) at Copenhagen Business School (Eva Boxenbaum, Silviya Svejenova), and Boston College (Candace Jones). Individual collaborations further comprise researchers from the University of Southern Denmark (Theo van Leeuwen), SCORE/Stockholm School of Economics (Maria Grafström), and the University of Alberta (Lianne Lefsrud).