Organizational Video-Ethnography Revisited - Sylvie Grosjean

Organizational Video-Ethnography Revisited

Making Visible Material, Embodied and Sensory Practices

Sylvie Grosjean (Redaktør) ; Frédérik Matte (Redaktør)

This book explores the undeveloped potential of video-ethnography to study the material, embodied and sensory dimensions of workplace practices. With the growing interest in sociomateriality and the development of research on the embodied and sensory dimensions of organizational practices, some methodological challenges of this type of research need to be addressed. Les mer
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This book explores the undeveloped potential of video-ethnography to study the material, embodied and sensory dimensions of workplace practices. With the growing interest in sociomateriality and the development of research on the embodied and sensory dimensions of organizational practices, some methodological challenges of this type of research need to be addressed. The main purpose of this book is to present various forms of video-ethnography that make organizational phenomena visible and help better appreciate the organizing properties of bodies, affects, senses and spaces in workplace practices. To do so, illustrative cases based on video-ethnography was discussed to understand how experiential and unspoken ways of knowing produced through a video-based approach can be made meaningful and relevant to study the material, embodied and sensory dimension of work practices. This book is addressed to researchers and students in social sciences and organizational studies and offers a methodological reflection on how to study the material, embodied, and sensory dimensions of organizational life.



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Forlag: Springer Nature Switzerland AG
Innbinding: Innbundet
Språk: Engelsk
Sider: 176
ISBN: 9783030655501
Format: 21 x 15 cm
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«“The book valorizes the potentialities of video-ethnography making visible material, spatial, emotional, and sensory dimensions of workplace practices through the integration of participants’ perspectives. Its reading can surely enrich the approach of STS scholars interested in these sensorial dimensions and in the situatedness of knowledge produced in and through intra- and inter-actions between human actors, heterogenous artifacts, visual technologies, and scientific practices.” (Barbara Pentimalli, Tecnoscienza, Vol. 12 (2), 2021)»

INTRODUCTION - Authors: Sylvie GROSJEAN, University of Ottawa, Canada & Frederik MATTE, University of Ottawa, Canada.







The introduction will present a review ("state-of-the-art") of existing form of video-ethnography for studying work practices (Christianson, 2018; LeBaron, 2018; Jarrett & Liu, 2018; Hassard et al., 2018). We will propose a methodological reflection about video-based studies in organizations, especially in regard to the material, embodied, and sensory dimensions of everyday work activities. The purpose of this review is to highlight how these researchers address the material, embodied and sensorial dimensions of the workplace with video-ethnography.







Based on this review, we will discuss the ongoing debates related to innovative methodologies such as "affective ethnography" (Gherardi, 2018), "sensory ethnography" (Pink, 2013); "mobile video-ethnography" (Vannini, 2017). For example, organizational video ethnography captures detailed interactions and provides opportunities for researchers to link these to broader organizational processes. However as mentioned by Jarret & Liu (2018) there is an apparent methodological gap: "Studies that focus on the detail of the interactions "zoom in." Others that focus on the interactions in context "zoom out." But few go further and "zoom with"--that is, incorporate participants' interpretations of their video-recorded interactions." (p. 366). Finally, this introduction will allow us to discuss how experiential and unspoken ways of knowing produced through a video-based approach can be made meaningful and relevant to study the material, embodied and sensory dimension of work practices.











PART 1- VIDEO-ETHNOGRAPHY AND REFLEXIVITY-IN-PRACTICE: MAKING VISIBLE BODIES, AFFECTS AND SENSES THROUGH PRACTICES







Part 1 will focus on the use of video-ethnography to support collective reflexivity and group dynamics in organizational contexts. Video recordings are used by researchers to stimulate a reflective process that explicitly solicits the participants' interpretations of their video-recorded interactions. The illustrative cases presented in Part 1 will contribute to underline the contribution of video reflexivity to study affects and senses in workplace practices (i.e. Caroll et al., 2008). Our objective is to show how such a methodological focus contributes to the understanding of the way bodies, senses and affects in organizations are constitutive of workplace practices (e.g. clinical decision-making, medical radiology, care processes).







Chapter 1 - Involving Healthcare Professionals, Service Users and Researchers in Learning about Care Using Video Feedback



Author: Rick IEDEMA, King's College London, UK







This chapter sets out the premises, practices and achievements of video-reflexive ethnography or VRE (Iedema et al., 2019; Iedema, Mesman & Carroll, 2013). VRE focuses on engendering an affective, deliberative and pragmatic dynamic among its participants by visually representing and negotiating both mundane and complex facets of the care processes in which participants are involved. This makes VRE a uniquely participative and appreciative endeavour: rather than researcher-analysts deciding what are the critical analytical categories and procedures, and what are the most significant findings and conclusions, VRE invites and encourages participants (professionals, patients, families, and so on) to articulate their responses to footage portraying their own and their colleagues' work practices and circumstances.







The reflexive meetings where these discussions take place enable participants to respond to each other's views, responses and suggestions (Iedema, 2011). The dynamic that results is one through which participants come to realise and contextualise what are their own, what are others', and what are not-yet-considered perspectives on the work and work contexts thus depicted (Iedema et al., 2018).







The chapter further explains that VRE's participative-appreciative approach has specific theoretical and philosophical underpinnings. Delving into the mundane aspects of everyday organisational events and practices using video feedback makes it possible for researchers and participants together to highlight and confront the complexity of the 'here and now' (Iedema, 2018). Complexity scientific endeavours define complexity as inherent in 'complex adaptive systems' (Braithwaite et al., 2017), and characterise complexity as all-encompassing yet rooted in phenomena at several removes from ordinary (epiphenomenal) healthcare practice (Braithwaite, 2018). In contrast, VRE's complexity theoretical position is that complexity may be observed, as William Blake noted, 'in a grain of sand' (Blake, 1863). Accordingly, VRE posits that complexity is neither objectively inherent in phenomena as such, nor an attribute of any specific phenomena, but is always already observer-dependent and observer-defined (Iedema & Bezemer, under review). This complexity-theoretical stance lends legitimacy and significance to VRE's practice of bringing professional and patient participants into a zone where footage of in situ care activities can act as a springboard for collectively elaborating and reframing experiences, knowledge and enactments of care.







The chapter presents case study examples to illustrate VRE's philosophy which aims not to reconstruct the real from knowledge about the past, but to construct futures from collaborative learning about the present. The chapter demonstrates that aside from data and analysis, reflexivity, interpretation and deliberation are the primary drivers for actors to gain awareness of and expand control over their in situ customs, structures and systems of care. Since learning about the present in this way puts identities, knowledge, practice and relationships at risk, the chapter concludes by suggesting that VRE is necessarily premised on an ethic of mutual care, flexibility and acceptance (Iedema et al., 2019).







Chapter 2 - Video Reflexivity-in-Practice: Making Visible the "Sensory Ordering" in Telemedicine



Authors: Sylvie GROSJEAN, Frederik MATTE, Isaac NAHON-SERFATY, University of Ottawa, Canada







In this chapter, we will describe how video reflexivity could be used to study the ways in which sensory information is redistributed by the use of telemedicine technologies (Lupton & Maslen, 2017). As Oudshoorn (2008) and others have found, sensory work is a key feature of the redistribution and delegation of work in telemedicine. Maslen (2016, 2017) explores the problems encountered by physicians when sensory experiences are constrained by technology. For example, it is impossible to touch a wound, a limb, or to smell and sometimes even hear a particular sound from a cluttered or difficult breathing. And as said Maslen: "The lack of access to tactile and olfactory information may compromise a physician's ability to make diagnose, while lowering confidence in the diagnose made" (Maslen, 2017). Few studies analyse the "sensory work" in telemedicine because it's an emergent theme. And, as mentioned by Maslen, making visible the sensory work in context of telemedicine is also a methodological challenge. We propose to address this challenge with a methodological approach based on video-ethnography.







More specifically, we will present a method based on observations of telemedicine consultations with video recordings (Heath et al., 2010; Iedema et al., 2006) and self-confrontational interviews (Clot et al., 2000; Mollo & Falzon, 2004). This methodological approach aims to produce an interpretative framework of clinical practice in telemedicine by the physicians themselves. Each doctor describes and explains what he did and did not do while watching the screen. The doctor is engaged in an analysis of his own work and to exercise a reflexive evaluation of his activity (Carrol et al., 2008). We will discuss the contribution of this method (based on video reflexivity-in-practice). Based on multimodal analysis of interactions (Mondada, 2008; Streeck et al., 2011) we will describe how video-ethnography contributes to reveal a form of "sensory ordering" enacted by physicians and patients in telemedicine.







Chapter 3 - The Epistemic Use of The Body in Medical Radiology: Insights from Interactional Video-ethnography



Author: Laurent FILLIETTAZ, University of Geneva, Switzerland







This chapter aims to contribute to the understanding of learning and instructional processes as they take place in the conditions of workplace participatory practices (Koschmann et al., 2007). Within the literature on workplace learning, it is now commonly recognized that workers do not only learn by conducting specific tasks individually; they learn when more experienced workers are able to guide them in their practice, and when adequate resources are made available to them (Billett, 2001; Tynjala, 2009; Mikkonen, 2017). Amongst the resources that are afforded to newcomers, material objects play a significant role in guided professional practices. Instructional practices may be directed explicitly to properties of the material environments; or elements of materiality may more generally mediate the conditions through which newcomers interact with other participants.



These premises seem to be particularly true in the empirical context of medical radiology. When learning to become technicians in radiology, students are faced with a wide scope of technical objects, including X-ray devices, scanners or MRI technology. They also have to learn how to position the patient's body so that adequate images are produced for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes. In this chapter, we will reflect on the specific instructional practices that emerge when newcomers in medical radiology gain access to such technical skills in the conditions of practice, under the guidance of experienced workers endorsing the role of mentors. We aim at understanding how participants to interactions - including students, mentors and patients - use material resources to accomplish complex and layered actions, oriented simultaneously or alternatively to the production of work and knowledge associated with work. More specifically, the chapter will aim at understanding how participants may use the patient's body as resources to navigate complex constraints associated with work procedures and epistemic practices.







To do so, we use a collection of audio-video data recorded in 2015 in a public hospital of the canton Geneva in Switzerland. Video recordings inform naturally occurring work and training practices as they take place during internships in a conventional radiology service. During internships, students in technical radiology learn to take images of patients' bodies, under the guidance of experienced technicians. At theoretical level, our approach is informed by conversation analysis (Schegloff, 2007), interactional sociolinguistics (Gumperz, 1982) and multimodal semiotics (Kress et al, 2001). Based on fine-grained multimodal transcripts of excerpts of interactions between students, mentors and patients, we will describe how materiality pertaining to the patient's body may be used as resources for epistemic practices. More generally, we will also propose to see such epistemic use of patients' bodies as a process of "instrumental genesis" (Rabardel, 1995), by which participants jointly elaborate the conditions of learning and professional development.















PART 2: VIDEO-ETHNOGRAPHY AND ORGANIZING SPACES: SENSING PLACES AND THE MULTIPLE NATURE OF WORKING SPACES







Part 2 will focus on the way different usages of video-ethnography inform our understanding of organizational spaces and places. There is a growing attention to spaces and places in organizational studies (Taylor & Spicer, 2007; Vasquez & Cooren, 2013), particularly in the context of more flexible, collaborative and mobile work arrangements as coworking spaces, or due to the recent material turn in organization studies (de Vaujany & Mitev, 2013; Orlikowski & Scott, 2011). Video-shadowing and participant viewpoint ethnography (PVE), are various ways of making sense of organization spaces or mobile working spaces (e.g. how organizing practices take place in mobile situations).



The main purpose of Part 2 is to understand organizational spaces as progressively constituted by the entanglement of the embodied, material and sensory dimensions of organizing. Organizations or mobile working spaces are not only spaces of work but places where people engage through their material, sensory and embodied practices in an "ongoing reordering" of these spaces (Mengis et al., 2018). The illustrative cases presented in Part 2 will explore how video recording practices play a central part in the ways an organizational space becomes available for analysis and understanding.







Chapter 4 - From Apparatus-centered Reflexivity to Diffraction in Visual and Video-ethnography



Authors: Davide NICOLINI, Warwick Business School, Coventry, United Kingdom & Jeanne MENGIS, Faculty of communication, Universita della Svizzera italiana (USI), Lugano, Switzerland.







The notion of apparatus was developed by Barad (2007) to argue for the "inseparability of what is observed from the practice of observation" (Orlikowski & Scott, 2014, pp. 868-891). In simple terms an apparatus is the set of "material-discursive practices (...) with which we engage with the world" and which are "productive of (and part of) the phenomena" we study (Barad, 2003, p. 819). Apparatuses are not passive observing instruments and measuring devices, rather they have a productive force and are consequential for how phenomena materialize --they are "performative" (Barad, 2007, p. 147). Barad's idea of apparatus is a powerful tool for the pursuit of methodological reflexivity in the conduction of visual and video-based social research. First, it underscores that the specific ways of conducting video-research, for example, choosing a static versus a roving camera, have a performative force and matter ontologically for how organizational space is produced (Mengis, Nicolini & Gorli, 2018). Second, Barad's recommendation to "inquire into the material specificities of the apparatuses" (Barad, 2011, p. 27) underscores the need to be attentive to the specific ways we materially and discursively practice video-based research.







In this chapter, we argue, however, that the concepts of apparatus and reflexivity takes us only so far: simply recognizing the situatedness of knowledge that we produce through the particular ways of seeing with a particular visual method is not enough (Hardy et al., 2001, p. 555). While the concept of apparatus helps us to become reflexive of the effects methodological practices have on the constitution of the object of inquiry, it also risks to perpetuate an "ontology of separateness" (Orlikowski, 2010): a fix a set of affordances is attributed to a specific apparatus. This allows us to assume in advance how this set of affordances produces a phenomenon in certain ways. We can then choose the right apparatus for the job while becoming reflexive of what is left out, what the apparatus does not makes us see and what its limitations are. Reflexivity is thus a way to deal with lack and incompleteness. According to authors like Barad (2007), however, there is more to the story. Apparatuses can also be mobilised generatively in a diffractive rather than reflexive practice. Diffraction is "the practice of reading insights through one another while paying attention to patterns of difference" (Barad, 2011: 3). It is thus an active practice of producing and interpreting one representation through another and being attentive to the "interference patterns" (Haraway, 1997: 14) of these entangled readings. By "turning [the soil] over and over again", iteratively "re-diffracting, diffracting anew" (Barad, 2014: 168), one learns not only about the performative effect of a single apparatus, but continuously enriches the tentative understandings of the phenomenon. Through this ongoing practice, the limitations of different visual methods become generative mechanisms when played together.







In the chapter, we illustrate three ways in which diffraction can support and enrich visual and video-research methods. Diffraction can be used, first, as an "interpretive" practice. The diffractive effect can thus be obtained by actively juxtaposing different forms of representations (e.g., visual vs. written) and reading different types of "data" and "texts" diffractively, one through the other (Sehgal, 2014; van der Tuin, 2014). Diffraction can also be used methodologically as a "data collection" and analytical practice. In this case, the juxtaposition is between research apparatuses (e.g., video recording practices) that are actively co-located and iteratively played through each other to provide patterns of difference. Finally, diffraction can also be used as an intervention method, for example, to help practitioners (and academics!) develop "polyvocal' interpretations of organizational situations that remain connected in their diversity (Hassard, Burns, Hyde, & Burns, 2018).







We argue that in all these situations diffractive practices and diffractive readings bring inventive provocations; they are good to work with. They are respectful, detailed, ethical engagements that "illuminate the complexity of the always/already entangled processes of dis/continuous becomings that make up what we are used to calling 'world'" (Thiele, 2014, p.207).







Chapter 5 - Using Videoshadowing to Uncover the Relational, International and Practical Constitution of Space



Author: Nicolas BENCHERKI, TELUQ, Montreal







Literature on space theorizes it as relational, interactionally constituted and as the outcome of practical engagement with materiality (e.g. Bansal & Knox-Hayes, 2013; Beyes & Steyaert, 2012; Cnossen & Bencherki, 2018; Knox, O'Doherty, Vurdubakis, & Westrup, 2008). Yet, current methods often do not match the studies' theoretical ambitions, and remain based on interviews or static observation. Taking seriously, for instance, Doreen Massey's (1999, 2003) notion of space as a meeting of trajectories requires that we embrace an equally relational, interactional and practical approach to the study of space.







In this chapter, we show that it is possible to observe concretely the constitution of space through recourse to videoshadowing, which traditionally consists in following a person through their daily activities, using a video camera to record their activities (McDonald, 2005). Following people or other things allows not only to learn from them in the conventional sense (as an intern would shadowing a professional), but also to uncover how they interact with other elements and change throughout these encounters. The "target", thus, is but an entry point among others into the mesh of relations that are interactionally woven. Videoshadowing has proven to be useful in observing work activities, in particular in contexts where work is not located in a delimited space such an office or workstation, as in the case of humanitarian relief operations (Cooren, Brummans, & Charrieras, 2008; Cooren & Matte, 2010). Videoshadowing has been extended by showing that it is also possible to follow an object, a project or an action as alternative entry points to the reality being studied, as videoshadowing allows documenting linkages between agencies (Meunier & Vasquez, 2008). When studying space, in particular, the analysis of videoshadowing data does not focus so much on the changes that occur to (or within) the person or thing being followed. What matters, instead, is movement itself, and how action taking place in one locale interlaces with action occurring elsewhere and at another time; how objects, texts and ideas are carried around; and how the relative positioning of things and people is made relevant to each situation (Vasquez, 2013, 2016). Analyzing space through videoshadowing also allows a multimodal analysis that does not only take into account discourse, but also embodied engagement with space, as well as the contribution of non-human elements to each interaction (Bencherki, 2014; Mondada, 2006, 2012; Wilhoit & Kisselburgh, 2015).







In this sense, videoshadowing allows taking seriously the relational nature of space, rather than to see it as the mere "context" for human action. To illustrate the usefulness of videoshadowing in the study of space, this chapter will analyze excerpts from data recorded while following a building manager. The "target" is supervising work conducted in various premises in a Manhattan skyscraper and going about others tasks as part of his daily work. For the sake of clarity, the example mobilizes a very conventional definition of space (i.e. rooms in a building), but the chapter will also discuss how to adapt videoshadowing to trickier understandings of space.







Chapter 6 - Participant Viewpoint Ethnography and Mobile Organizing



Author: Elizabeth WILHOIT LARSON, Auburn University, United States







As mobility becomes increasingly important for organizations (Kuhn, Ashcraft, & Cooren, 2017), research methods that can account for mobile organizing phenomena are important. This chapter details participant viewpoint ethnography (PVE), a method in which participants wear a camera to capture a mobile and spatial phenomena then watch their video with the researcher to narrate and elaborate on the experience (Wilhoit, 2017; Wilhoit & Kisselburgh, 2016). Because the video moves with the participant, it captures the participant's trajectory (Massey, 2005) and allows the traces of an ephemeral, mobile path to emerge (Spinney, 2011). In viewing this path, one can then see the other trajectories that come into contact with this mobile path, creating space and allowing the object of study to emerge through the method.







PVE also contains a reflexive component as participants narrate their experience and reflect on the path that was created through the video. This reflection is valuable because the experiential and socially constructed aspects of space can conflict with the objective aspects of space. These two understandings of space are often seen in conflict with each other (Wilhoit, 2015). However, through PVE, both the participant narrative and experience as well as the (still-constructed) reality of the video are both valuable for understanding how organizing practices take place in mobile situations and how constituting is organized through space.







To illustrate how PVE can be used to understand constructions of space and mobilized organizing, the chapter draws on examples from a study on bike commuters. In that research, participants wore a camera on their bicycle helmet while they biked to and from work on a single day. This example offers insight about the organization of transportation as well as transitions between work and home as the videos and narrations by participants construct a lived and mobile space.











PART 3: VIDEO-ETHNOGRAPHY AND WORK-IN-PRACTICE: FOLLOWING THE EMOTIONAL, EMBODIED AND SENSORY DIMENSIONS OF ORGANIZING







Part 3 will focus on emotional, embodied and sensory practices in organizations and show their crucial role in the constitution of knowledge, strategy and so on. We will analyse, via video-recordings of daily activities, how expertise and strategy are constituted through interactions in real-time. In numerous organizational contexts, workers use their bodies and their senses as guides, in the conduct of their everyday activity (Strati, 2007; Gherardi et al., 2007) and video-ethnography is a useful tool to grasp multi-situated interactions (e.g. during formal or informal meetings). In addition, and to conclude our reflection about video-ethnography, we will discuss how complementary data produced via social media could complement the analysis of work activities.







Chap 7. The Constitution of an Organizational "Way of Seeing": A Multi-Situed Video-Ethnography in a Land Surveyor Company



Author: Sylvie Grosjean, University of Ottawa, Canada







Many practices within organizations are centered on the visual capacities of the agents. For example, in the field of architecture (Ewenstein & White, 2007; Styrhe, 2011), construction (Nicolini, 2007), medicine (Mondada, 2003; Alac, 2008), scientific work (Daston, 2008; Vittereti, 2012; Vertesi, 2012), researchers have shown how the members share a "professional vision" (Goodwin, 1994). These studies investigated visual practices in professional communities and demonstrated their role in the production, creation of knowledge, expertise and so on. Following the work initiated by these studies, our objective in this chapter is to analyse and understand how an organizational "way of seeing" is interactionally constituted and shared as a means to sustain the production of expertise.







To do so, we conducted an organizational video-ethnography in a firm of land surveyors. For this research, we chose to observe the daily activities at the surveying company in real time. The video recording of the daily activities was privileged (Heath et al., 2010) in order to grasp the multimodal dimension of the interactions (Mondada, 2008). Our goal is to reveal how materiality, bodies and senses play a key role in the constitution of a collective "way of seeing" in organization.







Chapter 8. Doing Video Ethnography Research with Senior Teams: When the Emotional Bodies of Strategists are at Stake



Authors: Feng LIU, St-Mary's University, Canada, Michael JARRET, INSEAD, Singapore University) & Linda ROULEAU, HEC Montreal, Canada.







The application of video ethnography to management is increasingly adding new insights to our understanding of organisations (e.g. Christianson, 2017; Gylfe et al., 2016; Jarrett & Liu, 2018; Liu & Maitlis, 2014; LeBaron et al., 2018). This method has many benefits. First, it is highly suited to capturing and analyzing micro-behaviours and interactions (Johnson et al., 2007) and is especially powerful to identify the "infinitely rich detail of transient events" (Cohen, 2010, p. 34). Second, this method is also a "multimodal" method, that is, it pays attention to the combination of different modes, such as talk, gestures, gazes, tools, movements, and so on, that are used in concert to produce meaning (Streeck, Goodwin, & LeBaron, 2011). Therefore, it provides exceptional opportunities to examine how gestures, bodies, spaces, documents and artifacts are deployed in, for example, strategizing activities (e.g., Gylfe et al., 2016; Jarzabkowski et al., 2015) and enriches our understanding of strategy in ways that went beyond previous works that only focus on strategists' talk. Third, this method keeps a detailed and faithful record of the data long after the fieldwork is finished and allows repeated scrutiny of important episodes during the data analysis stage, since the data can be analyzed, reanalyzed, reviewed and shared by many researchers (Armstrong & Curran; 2006; LeBaron, 2008).







Due to these characteristics, more recently, video ethnography has been used to study emotion in senior team strategizing since the fleeting and multimodal nature of emotion requires a proper tool to capture and analyze it. It is far beyond the researcher's ability to take down the nuanced and rich emotional expression cues from facial/vocal/verbal/body movement channels when they occur; therefore, video-recording significantly enhanced the quality of data collection and analysis (e.g., Liu & Maitlis, 2014). While these studies further our knowledge, most of these studies examine the role of top team members' displayed emotions from the researchers' perspective, which represents an etic view of senior teams (Finlay, 2002). We acknowledge the value of these research, however, we argue that when look at embodied emotions this approach does not fully capture the entire picture as we only see displayed rather than experienced emotions, nor did we get a chance to tap into their motivations and intentions.







We therefore propose to incorporate an emic view with an etic view, that is, to examine senior team's emotions from the researchers and team members' perspectives, which offers a voice to the research participants (see Finlay, 2002; Jarrett & Liu, 2018). This approach has been used in education, medicine, and language research for decades (e.g., Anderson & Adamsen, 2001; Armstrong & Curran, 2006; Clarke, 2002). Integrating the etic and emic approaches may trigger deeper and richer analysis and provide new aspects of the social reality.







Drawing on extant literature and our own research, this chapter explores these two approaches and illustrates that while they serve different purposes they can complement each other in carefully crafted research design in examining senior teams, their emotions and organizational practices and outcomes.







Chapter 9. Complementing Video-ethnography: The Uses and Potential of Mundane Data Collected on Social Media



Authors: Viviane SERGI, ESG-UQAM, Montreal, Canada & Claudine BONNEAU, ESG-UQAM Montreal, Canada







In this chapter, we will explore how data collected on public social media, such as Twitter and Instagram, can offer valuable complements to video ethnography. While in the recent years, virtual and digital ethnography practices have been more widely discussed (e.g. Hine, 2015), just like visual methodologies in general (e.g. Pink, 2012), we contend that the potential of social media to deepen these methods still remain to be addressed in greater detail. In our chapter, we will discuss how posts voluntarily generated by users on social media constitute what can be labelled 'mundane data' - short snippets of data that are deeply anchored in the daily experience of users. Mundane data is not by definition digital data, but this kind of data abound on social media. Our chapter will first present this category of data, considering the forms it can take and its characteristics. Then, we will expose the ways in which mundane data allows researchers to 1) access and 2) document important dimensions of work practices, notably aesthetic, affective and embodied facets of work and other experiences, discussing how social media can reveal these dimensions (see for example Laestadius, 2017; Pink, Sumartojo, Lupton & Hayes, 2017; Sergi & Bonneau, 2016).







Based on our previous and ongoing work on social media (Sergi & Bonneau, 2016, 2017; Bonneau & Sergi, 2018), we will provide specific examples of how voluntarily produced posts on public social media like Twitter and Instagram carry not only textual data, but also sensory, embodied and/or emotional material that can speak deeply about the experience at work and work practices in a variety of occupations, while doing so in an economic format. By comparing the data collected by more traditional video-ethnographic approaches to these digital mundane data, we will discuss in which ways mundane data can provide complementary information to researchers, and how both kinds of data can be integrated with one another. For example, including mundane data can extend a data collection started as video-ethnography, as social media offer researchers the possibility to stay in touch with what might be happening in different work sites and with individuals, when they are not present in the field or even after fieldwork has been completed. We will build on what has been labelled a 'small/thick' approach to data (as opposed to big data; Latzko-Toth, Bonneau and Millette, 2017) to discuss what can be achieved with this data, and how, concretely, their collection can feed video-ethnographic inquiry. Our chapter will also touch upon some of the challenges associated with qualitative data collection on public social media.







In sum, our chapter will develop two main arguments. Directly influenced by the practice perspective (especially as defined by Nicolini, 2013; also Gherardi, 2017) and by workplace studies (Schmidt, 2016; Star and Strauss, 1999) we will first argue that what belongs to 'mundane life' is especially relevant and well-suited to gain an understanding into dimensions of work that tend to be less visible, such as affective, sensory and experiential dimensions of work practices; and second, that public social media are not only rich sites to access this kind of data, but that including what is shared on these sites prolongs what can be collected with video-ethnography.







CONCLUSION - Authors: Sylvie GROSJEAN, University of Ottawa, Canada & Frederik MATTE, University of Ottawa, Canada.
Sylvie Grosjean is Professor at University of Ottawa (Canada). Her research focuses on design and use of telehealth innovations. She uses qualitative methods and develops Participatory Design approaches in health care settings. She has published in Symbolic Interaction, Management Communication Quaterly, Journal for Communication Studies, Sciences du Design, Innovations, Knowledge-Based Systems.

Frederik Matte is Professor at University of Ottawa (Canada). He studies tensions in the extreme and emergency situations faced by international non-governmental organizations (INGOs). He has published in the International Journal of Communication, Journal of Communication, Communication Monographs, Discourse and Communication and Pragmatics & Society.