Using videoethnography to study entrepreneurship

Authored by: Jean Clarke

The Routledge Companion to Visual Organization

Print publication date:  August  2013
Online publication date:  January  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415783675
eBook ISBN: 9780203725610
Adobe ISBN: 9781135005474


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Organizational research has historically privileged text-based forms of communication over visual forms with most qualitative research in organizations focused on textual data-gathering techniques and representations, such as transcribed interviews and verbal observations of visual events published in text-based journals (Clarke 2011). This has led to a paradoxical situation where the majority of qualitative organizational research is based on text-based descriptions of situations, interactions and events, which originally took place in ‘visual’ and ‘embodied’ contexts (Hassard et al. 2000). While little attention has been given to visual methodologies in organizational research, in contrast, visual sociologists and anthropologists have a longstanding tradition stretching back over a hundred years of using photography, film and video as part of data collection and representation (Becker 1998; Harper 1989; McDougall 1997; Mead 1995; Prins 2002). More recently, there has been a reinvigorated ‘visual turn’ across the social sciences with the growing recognition that the visual is ‘a pervasive feature not only of social life but of many aspects of social enquiry as well’ (Emmison and Smith 2000: 2). As Secrist et al. (2002) highlight, despite all the thick description and linguistic detail researchers provide, words alone are often simply not enough to communicate the complex interactions that they encounter.

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