A different way of looking at things: the role of social science film in organization studies.

Katharina Miko-Schefzig, Robert McMurray, Mark Learmonth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite growing interest in the use of moving images for representing management and organization research, films are still widely considered as an addendum to the ‘proper’ textual work of the social sciences. Drawing on our own experience in social science film production, we consider the unique epistemological opportunities afforded by the production of moving images as compared to other methods rooted in the primacy of text. We discuss the techniques of eliciting and editing (by presenting actual editing decisions in detail) as a visual method for organization studies and its theoretical and methodological implications. We demonstrate the ways in which the act of filming facilitates the production of contextually sensitive life accounts that place participantsand viewers in the picture. The main contribution of the paper lies in its explanation ofhe ways in which film represents epistemic knowledge in itself – a particular way ofseeing and relating – without recourse to written material. This includes the potential for film to elicit understanding that could not be accessed or represented in any other way. While not minimizing the challenges involved in the production and assessment of social science films, we argue that such films warrant a status similar to that of the journal article.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 17 Aug 2020

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