Visual and Multimodal Research in Organization and Management Studies: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Visual and Multimodal Research in Organization and Management Studies

1st Edition

By Markus A Höllerer, Theo van Leeuwen, Dennis Jancsary, Renate E Meyer, Thomas Hestbaek Andersen, Eero Vaara


228 pages

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Hardback: 9781138210578
pub: 2019-03-05
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This volume brings together two hitherto disparate domains of scholarly inquiry: organization and management studies on the one hand, and the study of visual and multimodal communication on the other. Within organization and management studies it has been recognized that organizational reality and communication are becoming increasingly visual, and, more generally, multimodal, whether in digital form or otherwise. Within multimodality studies it has been noted that many forms of contemporary communication are deeply influenced by organizational and managerial communication, as formerly formal and bureaucratic types of communication increasingly adopt promotional language and multimodal document presentation.

Visual and Multimodal Research in Organization and Management Studies integrates these two domains of research in a way that will benefit both. In particular, it conceptually and empirically connects recent insights from visual and multimodality studies to ongoing discussions in organization and management theory. Throughout, the book shows how a visual/multimodal lens enriches and extends what we already know about organization, organizations, and practices of organizing, but also how concepts from organization and management studies can be highly productive in further developing insights on visual and multimodal communication.

Due to its essentially interdisciplinary objectives, the book will prove inspiring for academics and scholars of management, the sociology of organizations as well as related disciplines such as applied linguistics and visual studies.

Table of Contents

Part I: Introduction

1 Purpose of this volume

1.1 Aims and objectives

1.2 Different fields, similar interests – exploring intersections between organization and multimodality research

1.2.1 Visual and multimodal turn in organization studies

1.2.2 Organizational turn in multimodality studies

1.2.3 Intersections and opportunities

1.3 Recent developments at the intersection of organization and multimodality research

1.3.1 Visuality: making organization ‘visible’

1.3.2 Materiality: making organization ‘tangible’

1.3.3 Further extensions of the communicative construction of organization and organizing

1.4 Roots and inspirations for multimodal organization research

1.5 Approaches to the study of multimodality in organizations

1.6 Case studies and applications

1.7 Conclusion

2 A social semiotic approach to multimodality

2.1 What is social semiotics?

2.2 The ‘social’ in social semiotics

2.3 The ‘semiotic’ in social semiotics

2.3.1 System and instantiation

2.3.2 Metafunctions

2.3.3 Stratification

2.4 Another look at mode and multimodality

2.4.1 Mode revisited

2.4.2 Multimodality revisited

2.5 Conclusion

Part II: Strategies for multimodal scholarly inquiry

3 Approaches, methods, and research agenda: An overview

4 The archaeological approach

4.1 Core ideas

4.2 Aspects of organization

4.3 Methods

4.4 Exemplary studies

4.5 Implications of different modes for archaeological research

4.6 Specific challenges and opportunities regarding multimodality

5 The practice approach

5.1 Core ideas

5.2 Aspects of organization

5.3 Methods

5.4 Exemplary studies

5.5 Implications of different modes for practice research

5.6 Specific challenges and opportunities regarding multimodality

6 The strategic approach

6.1 Core ideas

6.2 Aspects of organization

6.3 Methods

6.4 Exemplary studies

6.5 Implications of different modes for strategic research

6.6 Specific challenges and opportunities regarding multimodality

7 The dialogical approach

7.1 Core ideas

7.2 Aspects of organization

7.3 Methods

7.4 Exemplary studies

7.5 Implications of different modes for dialogical research

7.6 Specific challenges and opportunities regarding multimodality

8 The documenting approach

8.1 Core ideas

8.2 Aspects of research

8.3 Exemplary studies

8.4 Implications of different modes for documenting research

8.5 Specific challenges and opportunities regarding multimodality

9 Summary: Towards multi-approach studies in multimodal organization research

Part III: Application

10 Introduction to four case studies

10.1 Case selection

10.2 Case presentation

11 The power of diagrams

11.1 Some characteristics of diagrammatic communication

11.2 Aspects of the grammar of diagrams

11.3 Analysing diagrams

11.4 Resources for producing diagrams: Microsoft SmartArt

11.5 Conclusions

12 The use of logos in post-merger identity construction at Aalto University

12.1 Identity-building in mergers and acquisitions (M&As)

12.2 Logos in identity-building

12.3 The Aalto merger: Key events

12.4 Aalto University’s visual identity

12.5 Use of the logo in intentional identity construction in internal and external arenas

12.6 Reactions and use of the logo

12.7 Conclusions

13 Multimodal meaning-making in online shopping

13.1 Multimodal meaning-making in Zalando’s online shop

13.1.1 An overview of

13.1.2 Register variation at

13.1.3 The catalogue

13.1.4 The product sheet

13.1.5 Retail register

13.1.6 Advertising register

13.1.7 Fashion magazine register

13.1.8 Meaning-making at – in a nutshell

13.2 The practice of shopping on

13.3 Customer motivation

13.4 Conclusions

14 Multimodal legitimation and corporate social responsibility (CSR)

14.1 Multimodal legitimation

14.2 Corporate social responsibility as a response to issues of legitimacy

14.3 Corporate social responsibility in Austrian corporate reporting

14.3.1 Data and Sampling

14.3.2 Analytical procedures

14.3.3 Central findings

14.4 Implications of multimodality for legitimacy research

14.5 Other research approaches to multimodal legitimation

14.6 Conclusions

Part IV: Discussion

15 The way ahead: Discussion and conclusion

15.1 Taking stock: Ongoing progress in multimodal organization research

15.1.1 Growing realization about the multimodality of contemporary organization(s)

15.1.2 Engagement with a broad spectrum of topics and issues

15.1.3 Increasing sophistication in the conceptualization of modes

15.1.4 Doing research multimodally

15.2 Unrealized potentials and avenues for future research

15.2.1 More sophisticated understandings of modal orchestrations/amalgamations

15.2.2 Developing systematic methodologies to tackle multimodality

15.2.3 Systematizing the ‘omelette’ of concepts and theories

15.2.4 Acknowledging the cultural construction of modes

15.2.5 Avoiding ‘cherry-picking’ of modes under study

15.3 Towards a joint way forward

15.4 Implications for organizational practice

15.4.1 Increasing attention and literacy

15.4.2 Expanding the communicative toolbox

About the Authors

Markus A. Höllerer is Professor of Public Management and Governance at WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria, and Professor of Organization Theory at UNSW Business School, Australia.

Theo van Leeuwen is Professor at the Department of Language and Communication at the University of Southern Denmark.

Dennis Jancsary is Assistant Professor at the Institute for Organization Studies at WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria.

Renate E. Meyer is Professor of Organization Studies at WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria, and part-time Professor of Institutional Theory at Copenhagen Business School, Denmark.

Thomas Hestbæk Andersen is Associate Professor at the Department of Language and Communication at the University of Southern Denmark

Eero Vaara is Professor of Organization and Management in the Department of Management Studies at Aalto University School of Business, Finland. He is a permanent Visiting Professor at EMLYON Business School, France, and a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Lancaster University, UK.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Management, Organizations and Society

Management, Organizations and Society represents innovative work grounded in new realities; addressing issues crucial to an understanding of the contemporary world. This is the world of organized societies, where boundaries between formal and informal, public and private, local and global organizations have been displaced or vanished along with other nineteenth century dichotomies and oppositions. Management, apart from becoming a specialised profession for a growing number of people, is an everyday activity for most members of modern societies. Management, Organizations and Society will address these contemporary dynamics of transformation in a manner that transcends disciplinary boundaries, with work which will appeal to researchers, students and practitioners alike.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Management Science
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Organizational Behavior