Picture Perfect? Exploring the use of smartphone photography in a distributed work practice

Pritchard, Katrina and Symon, Gillian (2014). Picture Perfect? Exploring the use of smartphone photography in a distributed work practice. Management Learning, 45(5) pp. 561–576.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1350507613486424


Our research extends debates regarding technology use for knowledge sharing through examining how smartphone photography mediates a complex, unpredictable distributed work practice: responding to operational problems within a transport system. We offer a narrative analysis examining how smartphone photography may (partially) bridge physical distance between managers and engineers, and how sharing images establishes ‘truths’ and provides ‘evidence’. We further explore the challenges engineers’ face as the demand for images impacts the acceptance of their verbal accounts. We conclude that smartphone photography prompts the negotiation of new narratives of knowledge sharing, narratives which highlight tensions around the role and status of the digital image. With the increasing availability of smartphones at work, and an emerging interest in the visual in organizational studies, this research offers both practical and theoretical insights.

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  • Item ORO ID
  • 40802
  • Item Type
  • Journal Item
  • ISSN
  • 1461-7307
  • Project Funding Details
  • Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
    Implications of Blackberries for communication and information sharing in an engineering firmSG-54143British Academy
  • Keywords
  • communication; distributed work; organisational knowledge; smartphone
  • Academic Unit or School
  • Faculty of Business and Law (FBL) > Business
    Faculty of Business and Law (FBL)
  • Copyright Holders
  • © 2013 The Authors
  • Depositing User
  • Katrina Pritchard