Int. J. of Work Organisation and Emotion   »   2013 Vol.5, No.4



Title: The sense of smell in researching a bakery


Authors: Lynne F. Baxter; James M. Ritchie


The York Management School, Freboys Lane, University of York, Heslington, York, YO10 5GD, UK
School and Engineering and Physical Sciences, Mechanical, Process and Energy Engineering, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, Scotland, UK


Abstract: The paper argues that reflexive methodology in organisation-based research can be further developed by a detailed engagement with the senses, in this case 'smell'. We discuss how smell as a noun, verb and metaphor perceived through the body helped us generate alternative and evolving interpretations of our research on a bakery. As embodied researchers, we engaged in the context of the bakery with its overarching and localised smells and at the same time reflected together on our experience. We argue that extending Alvesson and Sköldberg (2009) and Alvesson's (2011) concept of 'reflexive pragmatics' to include the senses adds an important way of promoting reflection. We also suggest that considering the senses, especially smell, might overcome some of the problems of interviewing identified by Alvesson (2011), such as sustaining the social interaction and delving beneath a surface interpretation.


Keywords: food; reflexive methodology; senses; Merleau-Ponty; reflexivity; reflection; sense of smell; bakeries; reflexive pragmatics; social interaction; interviewing.


DOI: 10.1504/IJWOE.2013.057402


Int. J. of Work Organisation and Emotion, 2013 Vol.5, No.4, pp.369 - 383


Available online: 29 Oct 2013



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