Making a Case for Visual Analysis in Management Research: The Example of Identity Tensions in Family Business

16 gennaio 2019 12:30 - 13:30
Aula 3.02, Edificio C, via Pasubio 7b
Attilia Ruzzene, Università degli studi di Bergamo
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Dipartimento di Ingegneria e Scienze Applicate

Nell'ambito del ciclo invernale 2018/2019 dei Lunch Seminars "Research Issues in Economics and Management Engineering" organizzati dal Dipartimento di Ingegneria Gestionale, dell'Informazione e della Produzione:

16 January 2019: Attilia Ruzzene (University of Bergamo)
“Exploring identity dynamics in entrepreneurship and family firms”


After the linguistic turn, we are witnessing nowadays what has been described alternatively as a pictorial, iconic, or visual turn in the sciences. To use Kuhnian vocabulary, this can probably be regarded already as a paradigmatic change, which has recently invested previously untouched areas such as the organization and management studies. Family business research is instead still an uncharted territory insofar as visuals and visual analysis are concerned. Although the need for new methodologies and sources of data has been amply emphasized by scholars in the field, very few contributions have addressed such a challenge. In this paper our aim is to uncover the potential of visuals as manifestation of organizational beliefs and values, and of visual analysis as a novel and promising methodological approach to explore how the tensions among beliefs and values are managed by firms. The idiosyncratic features of family firms and, in particular, the complexity associated with the intersection of family and business systems which characterize them, make family firms a fertile ground for such an investigation. We offer a comprehensive description of the methodological paradigm of visual analysis and its dimensions. We conclude by illustrating how visual analysis unfolds when applied to a few websites of Italian family businesses, so to describe the method and its potential for contributions to the family business research field.