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Abstract

The use of the visual, let alone video, is surprisingly rare within social scientific studies of work and organisations. Nevertheless there is an emerging corpus of research that use video recordings, augmented by field work, as their principal data; recordings that provide access to the fine details of work as it is accomplished within everyday organisational settings. They include studies of work in a broad range of domains, including call centres, mobile offices, operating theatres, construction sites and control centres. This paper outlines the nature of these video-based studies of work and organisation and highlights some of their major contributions to our understanding of issues such as the nature of skill and expertise, the use of technology and the organisation of teamwork. It also reflects on the impact that these studies, and this approach, are having within the practical fields of industrial and market research.