Video methods in strategy research: Focusing on embodied cognition


Authors: Gylfe, P., Franck, H., LeBaron, C., Mantere, S.

Publication: Strategic Management Journal 


Research summary: Video-based methods can help researchers explore the significance of the human body in the practice of organizational strategy. We present a toolkit for the analysis of video data. The toolkit consists of three techniques: the detailing of significant forms in visual data, the sequencing of movement around such forms, and the patterning of movements across episodes. We employ these techniques on video recordings of middle managers engaged in a large-scale strategic change effort. By revealing and analyzing the practices of "top-down" and "bottom-up bridging," we show how the embodied cognition of middle managers supports strategy implementation by influencing nascent behavioral and cognitive changes among their subordinates. We conclude our account by suggesting a research agenda for video-based work in strategy research. Managerial summary: We explore video-based methods as a means to understand how middle managers incorporate strategic change in their practice. During strategic change efforts, a lot of what is taken to be the buildup of "shared understanding" is more appropriately viewed as emotional contagion. The success of middle management change agency is thus measured, not only by their successful elaboration of strategy content to others, but also whether or not organizational members invest themselves emotionally to the change endeavor. Such contagion is founded on the interaction of human bodies as well as their verbal discourse. 

Read full article: Strategic Management Journal, December 22, 2015