Keeping a Dream Alive: Multimodal Study of the Construction Sector’s industrialization 1945-1970

Thibault Daudigeos, Eva Boxenbaum, Sylvain Colombero, Jean-Charles Pillet

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


Rational myths provide idealized cultural accounts that specify the appropriate means that organizations should adopt to rationally pursue socially valuable ends. Being taken for granted, rational myths eschew demonstrations that they actually hold true. Our empirical study uses visual and verbal data to examine how proponents of the rational myth of industrialization introduced and sustained this myth within the French construction industry after WWII. We identify three consecutive steps through which proponents introduced and sustained this rational myth, and specify the powerful suggestive role of visual representations. At the beginning of the process, the equivocal interpretation of visuals allows early associations between means and ends that precede verbal couplings. In the last phase, visual representation reinforces the couplings between means and substantive ends, enabling the myth of industrialization to draw on both formal rationality and substantive rationality, and transcending any potential incompatibility between them. We theorize the complementarities of the verbal mode and the visual mode in the process of introducing and sustaining a rational myth within a field.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2017
Number of pages38
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event77th Annual meeting of the Academy of Management: At the Interface - Georgia, Atlanta, United States
Duration: 4 Aug 20178 Aug 2017
Conference number: 77


Conference77th Annual meeting of the Academy of Management
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


  • Rational myth
  • Industrialization
  • Multimodality

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