Beyond words: Aesthetic knowledge and knowing in design
Ewenstein, B. and Whyte, J. (2007) Beyond words: Aesthetic knowledge and knowing in design. Organization Studies, 28 (5). pp. 689-708. ISSN 0170-8406
To link to this article DOI: 10.1177/0170840607078080
Aesthetic knowledge comes from practitioners understanding the look, feel, smell, taste and sound of things. It is vital to work in many organizational contexts. In this paper, we explore aesthetic knowledge and knowing in organizations through detailed observation of design work in the architectural practice Edward Cullinan Architects. Through our research, we explore aesthetic knowledge in the context of architectural work, we unpack what it is, how it is generated, and how it is applied in design projects, shared between practitioners and developed at the level of the organization. Our analysis suggests that aesthetic knowledge plays an important part in organizational practice, not only as the symbolic context for work, but as an integral part of the work that people do. It suggests that aesthetic reflexivity, which involves an opening up and questioning of what is known, is experienced as part of practice as well as a `time out' from practice.