Photography and voice in critical qualitative management research

Samantha Warren (University of Portsmouth Business School, Portsmouth, UK)

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal

ISSN: 0951-3574

Publication date: 1 December 2005



The main objective of this paper is to discuss how photography might help give research participants a louder voice in (qualitative) critical accounting and management research, enabling their multiple voices to be better represented/performed through the technique of “native image making”. A secondary aim is to familiarise the reader with key developments and debates in the field of “visual research” more generally.


A brief overview of the field is offered, and, drawing on examples from the author's visual research practice, how the concept of “photo‐voice” might increase participants' involvement in research in two ways is discussed.


First, it is argued that accessibility of the method, control of the research agenda and ownership of the images give a louder voice in the process of research. Second, and following Barthes, it is contended that through their iconic and quasi‐representational nature, photographic images can communicate participants' views of their worlds with more primacy than language alone, raising their voices in the dissemination of research.

Practical implications

The paper has especial implications for researchers engaged in critical studies of accounting and management seeking to give voice to marginal groups of people traditionally disregarded by mainstream organization/management studies.


The paper contributes to the development of a novel qualitative methodology for accounting and management research.



Warren, S. (2005), "Photography and voice in critical qualitative management research", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 18 No. 6, pp. 861-882.

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Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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