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A visual inquiry into ethics and change

Davison, Jane; McLean, Christine; Warren, Samantha; Page, Margaret L.; Gaggiotti, Hugo


Jane Davison

Christine McLean

Samantha Warren

Margaret L. Page

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Hugo Gaggiotti
Professor in Human Resource Management


The purpose of this paper is to introduce the practices and findings of a visual inquiry developed by the co-authors with students in a Business School in the south west of England. The authors are interested in how students engaged with the visual as a practice of inquiry and how this contributed to their development of a critical approach to the concept of ethics in business organisations. Students visited an exhibition shown as part of the 100 days countdown to the COP15 UN climate change conference, and constructed visual representation of questions and dilemmas related to ethical business practice. The analysis focuses on student presentations, and the discussions that these provoked on the relationship between “business” and “ethical practice”. Doing co-inquiry with visual images enabled many students to engage more proactively with ethical dilemmas; to attend to deeply felt values that they were not accustomed to bring into the rule bound environment of the classroom; to develop critical readings of the visual as a discourse about business organisations and their claims to ethical practice; and to create their own visual representations of ethical dilemmas within business practice. The research methodology brings together inquiry-based learning and visual inquiry in the context of undergraduate learning in a business school. The paper considers the significance of the methodology and findings as a contribution to visual inquiry methodology and practice, and as a medium for enabling students in a business school to develop their ethical sensibility. © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Page, M. L., Warren, S., McLean, C., Davison, J., & Gaggiotti, H. (2012). A visual inquiry into ethics and change. Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management, 7(1), 72-85.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date May 4, 2012
Journal Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal
Print ISSN 1746-5648
Electronic ISSN 1746-5656
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Volume 7
Issue 1
Pages 72-85
Keywords business schools, business studies, change, ethical practice, ethics, management education, students, United Kingdom, visual inquiry
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