Empirical Challenges in Organizational Aesthetics Research: Towards a Sensual Methodology

Warren, Samantha
Organization Studies

Despite growing scholarly interest in aesthetic dimensions of organizational life, there is a lack of literature expressly engaging with the methodological mechanics of 'doing aesthetics research'. This article addresses that gap. It begins with an overview of the conceptual idiosyncrasies of 'aesthetics' as a facet of human existence and maps out the challenges these pose for empirical research methodology. A review of methodological approaches adopted to date in empirical studies of organizational aesthetics is then presented. The remainder of the article draws on the author's experiences and suggests methods and techniques to address both conceptual and practical challenges encountered during the execution of an organizational aesthetics research project. The article calls for a firmer focus on the aesthetic experiences of organizational members in addition to those of researchers and concludes with some suggestions as to the future of such 'sensual methodologies'