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Book part
Publication date: 30 November 2017

Markus A. Höllerer, Thibault Daudigeos and Dennis Jancsary

In this editorial for a double volume on “Multimodality, Meaning, and Institutions” in Research in the Sociology of Organizations, we aim to achieve three objectives…

Abstract

In this editorial for a double volume on “Multimodality, Meaning, and Institutions” in Research in the Sociology of Organizations, we aim to achieve three objectives: first, we provide a set of guiding ideas about what a multimodal prism entails for the study of meaning and institutions; second, we give an overview of the topics, concepts, and methods covered in this volume and briefly introduce the central contributions and insights of each article; third, we outline a number of open questions and fruitful avenues for a future research agenda at the intersection of organization studies, institutional theory, and multimodality research.

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Multimodality, Meaning, and Institutions
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-330-4

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Book part
Publication date: 30 November 2017

Dennis Jancsary, Renate E. Meyer, Markus A. Höllerer and Eva Boxenbaum

In this article, we develop and advance an understanding of institutions as multimodal accomplishments. We draw on social semiotics and the linguistic concept of…

Abstract

In this article, we develop and advance an understanding of institutions as multimodal accomplishments. We draw on social semiotics and the linguistic concept of metafunctions to establish the visual as a specific mode of meaning construction. In addition, we make semiotic modes conducive to institutional inquiry by introducing the notion of distinct “modal registers” – specialized configurations of linguistic signs within a particular mode that are adapted and applied in the reproduction of institutions or institutional domains. At the core of our article, we operationalize metafunctions to develop methodology for the analysis of visual registers. We illustrate our approach with data from Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reporting in Austria.

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Book part
Publication date: 30 November 2017

Eva Boxenbaum, Thibault Daudigeos, Jean-Charles Pillet and Sylvain Colombero

This chapter examines how proponents of industrialization used multiple modes of communication to socially construct the rational myth of industrialization in the French…

Abstract

This chapter examines how proponents of industrialization used multiple modes of communication to socially construct the rational myth of industrialization in the French construction sector after World War II. We illuminate the respective roles of visual and verbal communication in this process. Our findings suggest that actors construct rational myths according to the following step-by-step method: first, they use visuals to suggest associations between new practices and valuable purposes; then they use verbal text to establish the technical rationality of certain practices; and lastly, they employ both verbal and visual communications to convey their mythical features.

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Multimodality, Meaning, and Institutions
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-332-8

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Book part
Publication date: 30 November 2017

Bernadette Bullinger

In job advertisements, companies present claims about their organizational identity. My study explores how employers use multimodality in visuals and verbal text to…

Abstract

In job advertisements, companies present claims about their organizational identity. My study explores how employers use multimodality in visuals and verbal text to construct organizational identity claims and address potential future employees. Drawing on a multimodal analysis of job advertisements used by German fashion companies between 1968 and 2013, I identify three types of job advertisements and analyze their content and latent meanings. I find three specific relationships between identity claims’ verbal and visual dimensions that also influence viewers’ attraction to, perception of the legitimacy of, and identification with organizations. My study contributes to research on multimodality and on organizational identity claims.

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Multimodality, Meaning, and Institutions
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-332-8

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Book part
Publication date: 30 November 2017

Melodie Cartel, Sylvain Colombero and Eva Boxenbaum

This chapter examines the role of multimodal rhetoric in processes of theorization. Empirically, we investigated the theorization process of a highly disruptive innovation…

Abstract

This chapter examines the role of multimodal rhetoric in processes of theorization. Empirically, we investigated the theorization process of a highly disruptive innovation in the history of architecture: reinforced concrete. Relying on archival data from a prominent French architectural journal in the period from 1885 to 1939, we studied the rhetorical modes at play in the theorization of reinforced concrete. First, we found that theorization entailed two recursive activities: dramatization and evaluation. While dramatization relies on both verbal and visual (i.e., multimodal) means, evaluation relies on verbal means. We integrated these components into a dynamic model of theorization that explains how visual discourse contributes to theorization beyond the effects of verbal discourse.

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Multimodality, Meaning, and Institutions
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-330-4

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Book part
Publication date: 12 January 2021

Renate E. Meyer, Dennis Jancsary and Markus A. Höllerer

We review and discuss theoretical approaches from both within and outside of institutional organization theory with regard to their specific insights on what we call…

Abstract

We review and discuss theoretical approaches from both within and outside of institutional organization theory with regard to their specific insights on what we call “regionalized zones of meaning” – that is, clusters of social meaning that can be distinguished from one another, but at the same time interact and, in specific configurations, form distinct societies. We suggest that bringing meaning structures back into focus is important and may counter-balance the increasing preoccupation of institutional scholars with micro-foundations and the related emphasis on micro-level activities. We bring together central ideas from research on institutional logics with some foundational insights by Max Weber, Alfred Schütz, and German sociologists Rainer Lepsius and Karl-Siegbert Rehberg. In doing so, we also take a cautious look at “practices” by discussing their potential place and role in an institutional framework as well as by exploring generative conversations with proponents of practice theory. We wish to provide inspiration for institutional research interested in shared meaning structures, their relationships to one another, and how they translate into institutional orders.

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On Practice and Institution: Theorizing the Interface
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80043-413-4

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Book part
Publication date: 30 November 2017

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Multimodality, Meaning, and Institutions
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-330-4

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Book part
Publication date: 30 November 2017

Bernard Forgues and Tristan May

A multimodal perspective highlights the importance of attending to the different modes, mostly verbal and visual, which organizations use when conveying messages. We…

Abstract

A multimodal perspective highlights the importance of attending to the different modes, mostly verbal and visual, which organizations use when conveying messages. We complement this perspective by adding an additional layer, namely the medium through which messages appear. We suggest that organizations can fine-tune messages not only by playing with possible interactions across modes, but also across media. We build our reasoning around the communication of identity claims. Specifically, we are interested in how identity elements are referenced in verbal and visual modes of meaning making, and how these modes interrelate both with one another and with the respective channels of communication on which they appear. We propose that organizations differentially select identity elements across diverse media and draw on specific identity elements modally in their quest for legitimate distinctiveness. We propose three ways in which multimodal identity claims interact: intensifying, in which messages draw from the same theme to reinforce claims; complementing, in which messages complement each other to enhance meaning; and transposing, in which a dominant theme in one message is transposed into another theme elsewhere. We provide an illustration with identity claims made by single-malt Scotch whisky distilleries.

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Multimodality, Meaning, and Institutions
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-332-8

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Book part
Publication date: 30 November 2017

Wenyao (Will) Zhao

This research explores two interconnected questions: (1) How do we approach stylistic features of multimodal rhetorical artifacts such as protest posters? (2) Do said…

Abstract

This research explores two interconnected questions: (1) How do we approach stylistic features of multimodal rhetorical artifacts such as protest posters? (2) Do said artifacts designed for different purposes exhibit systematic stylistic differences? Drawing on Charles Sanders Peirce’s semiotic categorization, this study develops a framework for examining concision, one of the primary stylistic considerations for multimodal rhetorical artifacts such as protest posters. This paper illustrates the use of this framework by exploring the correlation between rhetorical purpose and concision in posters created and disseminated before and during the 2011–2012 Québécois student movement. This study fine-tunes our existing knowledge on multimodality with style sensitivity, and demonstrates how an economy-of-sign based semiotic approach could enrich the empirical examination of multimodal rhetorical artifacts by generating more controlled interpretations.

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Multimodality, Meaning, and Institutions
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-330-4

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Book part
Publication date: 30 November 2017

Candace Jones and Silviya Svejenova

City identity is a distinct form of collective identity based on the perceived uniqueness and meanings of place, rather than group category and membership. A city’s…

Abstract

City identity is a distinct form of collective identity based on the perceived uniqueness and meanings of place, rather than group category and membership. A city’s identity is constructed over time through architecture, which involves three sign systems – material, visual, and rhetorical – and multiple institutional actors to communicate the city’s distinctiveness and identity. We compare Barcelona and Boston to examine the identity and meaning created and communicated by different groups of professionals, such as architects, city planners, international guide book writers, and local cultural critics, who perform the semiotic work of ­constructing city identity.

Details

Multimodality, Meaning, and Institutions
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-332-8

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