Data Analysis

We have undertaken several modes of analysis of the action-experiment sessions in the studio since conducting them in 2009. The first mode was simultaneous with the process—we discussed each experience intensely together and with the cameraman, exchanging thoughts and feelings about what was surprising, disappointing, or delighting us. The second was a preliminary review of the results based on transcripts we made of the recorded material, which we presented at a conference a month later (Berthoin Antal & Friedman, 2009). As interesting as that material was, however, we soon realized that we, like other colleagues, had “fallen prey to the dominant approach to studying organization, by relying on discursive material” (Edenius & Yakhlef, 2007, p. 209). We had in our hands the pictorial material those colleagues yearned for after the fact, but we had focused on the written words we had typed up! We therefore decided to write this chapter based entirely on what we could see happening in the film material. After considering different methods of analyzing these data, we decided to apply a grounded-theory approach (Glaser & Strauss, 1967) rather than use a formal coding system derived from existing theories on group dynamics or collective creativity processes that would restrict our vision to existing categories. More than a year after the experiences in the studio, we revisited the films and turned off the audio track, noting down separately what we saw people doing in the physical space—when and for how long they engaged with each other and with the fixed or semifixed physical aspects of the studio. We then compared our individual observations, jointly checking the film material again when we found we had noticed things differently. It is from this iterative process that we gained fresh insights into the integrated process of constructing social and physical space.

In the account that follows we rely as much as possible on these observations and provide visual illustrations from the video recording. Although we disciplined ourselves to base our analysis on the film material, it is difficult to exclude additional knowledge from our analysis completely, for we had jointly designed and experienced all the sessions. We include some details that are not based on the visible evidence when we feel it would be essential for the reader’s understanding.

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