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A theological approach to organizational visual representations

Aziza Laguecir () and Bernard Leca ()
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Bernard Leca: ESSEC Research Center, ESSEC Business School, Postal: ESSEC Research Center, BP 105, 95021 Cergy, France

No WP1704, ESSEC Working Papers from ESSEC Research Center, ESSEC Business School

Abstract: We argue that analytical and critical aspects of theology can contribute to organizational research, and potentially assist in elaborating new concepts. To lay this out, we use Christian orthodox theology of icons as an analytical framework to study organizational visual representations. We generate three important insights. First, we point to the need, so far neglected, to question and theorize the relation between the representation and what is represented. Second, we highlight the prominence of symbolism over aesthetic aspects. Third, we underline that images are both embedded within meaningful relationships with other images, and used in social and power relationships. Building on these insights, we elaborate the notion of epistemic power to account for the capacity of visual representations to provide knowledge of an object of inquiry which cannot be immediately conscripted nor clearly perceived in its entirety. We contribute to the integration of theological analysis in organizational research by showing how it can further extend our understanding of secular organizational settings.

Keywords: Epistemic Power; Religion; Theological approach; Organizational Visual Representations (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: L00 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 38 pages
Date: 2017-02
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