Analyzing Visual Rhetoric in Organizational Research

Forthcoming in Handbook of Innovative Qualitative Research Methods: Pathways to Cool Ideas and Interesting Papers edited by Kimberly D. Elsbach and Roderick M. Kramer

25 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2016

See all articles by Lianne Lefsrud

Lianne Lefsrud

University of Alberta - Faculty of Engineering

Heather Graves

University of Alberta

Nelson Phillips

Imperial College Business School

Date Written: September 24, 2015

Abstract

In this chapter, we argue for the importance of including images in organizational research and discuss visual rhetoric as one approach to the analysis of images combined with words. We argue that this approach is especially useful to understand how emotion is generated through the strategic construction of complex texts combining images and words. We use rhetoric and social semiotics to develop a framework for researching how actors manage meanings in ways that are advantageous to their goals and interests and that undermine and disadvantage opponents through processes of communication that are dialogical, embedded within symbolic systems that operate on several levels of cultural meaning-making simultaneously. When successful, we argue, these actors’ attempts to manage meaning go on to subsequently shape organizational action. We provide an example of this form of analysis using an image from a larger study of the complex symbolic struggle that is currently occurring around heavy oil produced from the Canadian oil sands in northern Alberta.

Keywords: visual rhetoric, social semiotics, emotion, imagery

Suggested Citation

Lefsrud, Lianne and Graves, Heather and Phillips, Nelson, Analyzing Visual Rhetoric in Organizational Research (September 24, 2015). Forthcoming in Handbook of Innovative Qualitative Research Methods: Pathways to Cool Ideas and Interesting Papers edited by Kimberly D. Elsbach and Roderick M. Kramer, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2729496

Lianne Lefsrud (Contact Author)

University of Alberta - Faculty of Engineering ( email )

Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2R3
Canada

Heather Graves

University of Alberta ( email )

Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2R3
Canada

Nelson Phillips

Imperial College Business School ( email )

South Kensington Campus
Exhibition Road
London SW7 2AZ, SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom

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