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Eliza, Anita and me: An art investigation into using portraiture as a research method in organisation studies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-322
Number of pages17
JournalCulture and Organization
Issue number4
Early online date24 Sep 2012
DateE-pub ahead of print - 24 Sep 2012
DatePublished (current) - 24 Sep 2012


This article explores the use of portraiture as a research method in organisation studies using the case example of Anita Roddick and the Body Shop International. The author makes a series of portraits in order to explore what this art practice can contribute to our understanding of both the identity of the contemporary organisational leader and the practice of organisational research itself. It explores the nature and purpose of portraiture and then goes on to work with two original sets of portraits. For the purposes of the article, Anita Roddick is compared and contrasted with Elizabeth I of England in order to give a full account of the former's personality by juxtaposing it with the latter. The article argues that portraiture allows us to give a fuller and rounder and more nuanced account of identity than conventional written accounts, and that it allows for a tactful criticism of public figures which is necessary for any attempt at complete and truthful biography.

    Research areas

  • visual methods, Anita Roddick, Body Shop International, portraiture, arts-based methods


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