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June 01 , 2008

Visual Culture in Organizations

Theory and Cases


Vision and visuality are two concepts widely discussed and debated in philosophy and social science literature. Some authors even suggest that the entire Western intellectual tradition is strongly shaped by the paradigm of vision; the inspection and analysis of specimens collected from social reality are regarded as the only legitimate source of truth. However, in organizations, a variety of visual practices are employed in for instance science-based innovation in for instance the pharmaceutical industry and in architect work. Such visual practices include the use of various technoscientific machinery and tools to more mundane uses of full-scale models and photos in architect work. In comparison to the various linguistic perspectives on organizations, vision and visuality remain surprisingly little theorized and examined in the organization literature.

Visual Culture in Organizations offers an introduction to the literature on vision and visuality that is relevant to organizational theory (comparing and contrasting it to the well-documented area of linguistic theory in organizations), proposes a theoretical framework for visual culture in organizations, and provides empirical illustrations to the theoretical framework. The book shows that visual practices are a central procedure in the day-to-day routines of organizations and are long overdue for close examination.

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