Markers, Metaphors, and Meaning

Drawings as a Visual and Creative Qualitative Research Methodology in Organizations

Authored by: Sarah J. Tracy , Shawna Malvini Redden

Handbook of Qualitative Organizational Research

Print publication date:  December  2015
Online publication date:  November  2015

Print ISBN: 9781848725096
eBook ISBN: 9781315849072
Adobe ISBN: 9781317908784


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Visual methods including drawing have historically been neglected in organizational and management research, often dismissed as “trivial, constituting decoration, insubstantial rhetoric, illusion, or at best, partially reliable information” (Davison, McClean, & Warren, 2012, p. 6). However, the use of drawing is quite common in arts-based approaches (Leavy, 2009) and research with children (Backett-Milburn & McKie, 1999; Davis, 2013; Myers, Saunders, & Garret, 2003; Sewell, 2011; Tay-Lim & Lim, 2013). Visual methods are burgeoning across disciplines (Barnhurst, Vari, & Rodriquez, 2004; Guillemin, 2004; Pain, 2012; Singhal & Rattine-Flaherty, 2006), with increasing momentum in management and organizational studies (Meyer, 1991), and with arguments that the arts are critically important for developing complex aspects of the mind (Eisner, 2002). Specifically, visual methods prove to be particularly powerful tools for examining implicit assumptions (Schyns, Tymon, Kiefer, & Kerschreiter, 2013), exploring emotionally turbulent topics (Kearney & Siegman, 2004), and understanding organizational change (Barner, 2008; Vince & Broussine, 1996).

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