Online first via EMR: Examining Web Images: A Combined Visual Analysis (CVA) Approach

I am delighted that my new paper in European Management Review is now available online:


n this methodological paper I set out a framework for Combined Visual Analysis (CVA), bringing together compositional, reflexive and semiotic analysis. I explain how CVA was applied in a research project exploring the visual repertoire of human resource management (HRM). I describe each stage in detail, consider how research practice is instrumental in shaping research outcomes and reflexively explore the challenges encountered. The CVA framework provides a research protocol for those working with (in visual analytic terms) large numbers of pre‐existing images. It offers an approach that enables breadth and depth, while maintaining a qualitative focus on the images themselves.

February 12, 2020 at 9:42 am Leave a comment

Health at Work: Critical Perspectives. Out now

Leah and I are delighted that our book is now in print.  We first met in the 1980’s when we worked in the same large consulting firm, and it was a lovely surprise to end up briefly at the same institution just a few short years later (in 2015).  Sadly we are now working about 250 miles apart (at the Open University and Swansea) but this book gave us the opportunity to reflect back over both our professional and academic careers to date.

Here’s what we say this book is about:

Engaging with some of the most debated topics in contemporary organizations, Health at Work: Critical Perspectives presents a critical, contingent view of the healthy employee and the very notion of organizational health. Drawing on expressions such as ‘blowing a fuse’, ‘cracking under pressure’ or ‘health MOT’, this book suggests that meanings of workplace health vary depending on how we frame the underlying purpose and function of organization.

Health at Work takes some of the most powerful and taken-for-granted discourses of organization and explores what each might mean for the construction of the healthy employee. Not only does it offer a fresh and challenging approach to the topic of health at work, it also examines several core topics at the heart of contemporary research and practice, including technology, innovation, ageing and emotions.

This bookmakes a timely contribution to debates about well-being at work, relevant to practitioners, policy-makers and designers of workplace health interventions, as well as academics and students. This book will be illuminating reading for students and scholars across management studies, occupational health and organizational psychology.

And you can order a copy if you feel so inclined!

September 26, 2019 at 10:01 am Leave a comment

Reflection on our recent paper via Sage

You can read our blog about our recent JMI paper here

February 20, 2019 at 8:56 am Leave a comment

SoM Seminar 13/2/19 3pm: Dr Harriet Shortt and Prof Sam Warren


The architecture of identity: Sensory innovations in the post-occupancy evaluation of a university’s ‘new building’ #myUWEBBSview

13th February, 3pm, School of Management room 106

Professor Sam Warren, University of Portsmouth and Dr Harriet Shortt, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England

We report on preliminary findings from an innovative post-occupancy evaluation of the Bristol Business and Law School’s new building at the Frenchay Campus, University of West of England (UWE), UK. This project is an academic-industry collaboration between UWE, Stride Treglown (the building architects), ISG (the construction firm), and Godfrey Syrett (the furniture designer/ manufacturer) to explore the user experience of the new building following occupation by staff and students in April 2017 ( The aim of the project is to generate data on the operation of the building in ways that better represent lived, sensory dimensions to using the space, particularly as they intersect with socio-cultural understandings of a contemporary university’s mission and purpose (Lefebvre 1974/1991, Merleau-Ponty 1962/2002). Somewhat surprisingly, architects are not routinely involved in the post-occupancy evaluations of new buildings which are more usually carried out by construction firms with surveys overly focused on technical attributes, such as energy efficiency and air quality etc. (Hay et al., 2017). This project arose, in part, as a response to ISG and Stride Treglown’s desire to employ a creative methodology that would go beyond the technical-function ‘building performance’ metrics (e.g., see RIBA 2016) and provide them with more qualitative, emotionally rich data based on user experiences of the space over a period of 12 months.

Conceptually, we hope the project will generate insights into the ways in which the senses are imbricated with identity, and how identity-theories might be ‘fleshed out’ through attention to how the social meshes with the sensory in an organizational context. In doing so we put forward a materially grounded perspective on identity at work in line with recent developments in this area (e.g., Aslan 2017).




February 7, 2019 at 2:42 pm Leave a comment

Aesthetic labouring and the female entrepreneur: ‘Entrepreneurship that wouldn’t chip your nails’ Paper accepted in ISBJ

A few years ago I spotted a media article about Entrepreneur Barbie and was immediately hooked.  I somehow convinced (actually they didn’t take that much convincing) Kate Mackenzie Davey and Helen Cooper to become equally obsessed.  We’ve presented on this research along the way at different research seminars and the Gender Work and Organization conference, receiving lots of fantastic feedback along the way for which we are very grateful.  And we also won a ‘Research as Art’ prize, which was great fun!

Finally some of our research has made it into print via the following article to be published in International Small Business Journal.  Perhaps Mattel was right after all: ‘If you can dream it you can be it – anything is possible’.

Pritchard, K, Mackenzie Davey, K and Cooper, H (In press) Aesthetic labouring and the female entrepreneur: ‘Entrepreneurship that wouldn’t chip your nails’


Recognising significant interrelations between neoliberal and postfeminist discourses, we advance understandings of constructions of female entrepreneurs by unpacking their visual representation and exploring the role of aesthetic labour.  Given the impact of contemporary media, we focus on key images integral to the marketing of Mattel’s Entrepreneur Barbie as a postfeminist ‘cultural motif’ (Duffy et al., 2017: 262) and investigate how these representations of female entrepreneurship are consumed. First, we highlight the practical demands and emotional risks of the aesthetic labour required to achieve such postfeminist glamour.  Second, links between conventional femininity and entrepreneurial success are both celebrated and challenged, highlighting perceived limits to achievement.  Finally, we unpack understandings of the relations between entrepreneurialism and aesthetic labour to move beyond assumptions of the instrumental power of the makeover. Our findings thus, enrich understandings of the consumption of postfeminist images of entrepreneurs.

December 10, 2018 at 2:23 pm Leave a comment

Transitions to retirement: opportunities for qualitative research


Working with colleagues at Swansea University and beyond, I have been involved in work with the Centre for Ageing Better to conduct a review on research into the experience of transitions to retirement.

Dr Martin Hyde has outlined the main findings of our work, which was conducted multinational team comprising researchers from Swansea University (in addition to Martin and myself, Dr Cara Reed and Ms Maria Cheshire-Allen), the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (Prof Kene Henkens and Dr Marleen Damman) and the Stress Research Institute in Stockholm (Dr Loretta Platts).

Here I want to focus on the methodological issues and opportunities related to qualitative research in this field, which is summarised in an appendix to the report.

We found that not only that there fewer qualitative than quantitative studies, but we also found that these were more variable.  While there were examples of excellence, we also found cases where the methodological explanation in papers made it difficult to report with confidence on findings.  We found that while data collection methods were often described in some detail, there was much less information provided on analytic approaches.  Broad labels, such as template and thematic analysis, can indicate the overall style of approach but do not offer enough detail on the actual analytic process applied.  Lack of space for such detail in published papers is often raised as a concern by qualitative researchers and is likely to be a factor in this regard.

In the context of our review while small studies, particularly those that looked at specific occupational groups, raised interesting issues it was not always possible to position these clearly in relation to evidence from the the wider set of research publications.  What they did show however is that there are many interesting aspects of transitions to retirement that can (and even should) be explored via qualitative means.  It was clear that while research in this area has started to use interviews and focus group, there is a huge potential to build on this with studies deploying more diverse and contemporary approaches (for example, those utilising visual or multi-modal data).  It was also interesting to see some of the mixed methods studies reviewed using qualitative research more advanced ways than simply ‘backing up’ a survey study.  Overall then the report could be used as a useful springboard for qualitative researchers looking to identify research questions and approaches to further our understanding of this complex area.

As the report outlines, we used a specific set of search terms to generate the literature considered in our review.  As with any search strategy this means that some studies that may have considered aspects of relevance may not have been included.  We suspect this may have been more likely to be the case for qualitative research studies, since these often have more diverse titles and key words as they are less ‘variable’ driven in this regard.

After posting this blog, via Twitter, I was also reminded of the importance of funding in this debate.  As Debora Price rightly pointed out the difficulty of obtaining sufficient funding for in-depth qualitative research is without a doubt a critical issue for advancing research in this field.




December 6, 2018 at 3:53 pm Leave a comment

Outdoor Leadership Working Paper 1: Descriptive Statistics Report

In April and May 2018 myself and William Fear conducted a leadership survey with Mountain Leaders and related organizations and, through Facebook, with members of groups that walk in the mountains. We received 459 completed questionnaires. The purpose of the survey was to: 1) get an understanding of the ‘mountain/hill-walking’ community; and 2) to explore perceptions of leadership among both professional and lay groups in relation to ‘Mountain Leadership’.  Our questionnaire drew on concepts from both authentic and behavioural leadership theories.

We have now produced our first working paper which sets out our preliminary findings based on descriptive statistics.  Further detailed findings will be reported at a later date once our analysis is complete and subsequent qualitative research is planned.

Working Paper 1

September 14, 2018 at 2:54 pm Leave a comment

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Katrina Pritchard

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