The sense of smell in researching a bakery

Lynne F. Baxter*, James M. Ritchie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-383
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Work Organisation and Emotion
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Food
  • Merleau-Ponty
  • Methodology
  • Reflection
  • Reflexivity
  • Smell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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