Dr. Alice Comi 

Job title: Research Fellow

Areas of Interest:


Alice's research interests lie at the intersection of inter-organizational collaboration and communication sciences, with a focus on the visual practices of groups working across organizational boundaries. From a theoretical perspective, she is interested in the concept of boundary object, and its application to the study of visual practices. As part of her doctoral research, she has conducted an experimental study to evaluate the impact of visual facilitation on knowledge sharing and development in inter-organizational teams.


As a Research Fellow at the Design Innovation Research Centre, Alice Comi's main responsibilities are to analyse and publish from data on visual object and practices, to give inputs on related research within the Centre, and to articulate and to communicate the value of this area of research. 

She has recently completed a research project on "Visual objects and practices in inter-organizational teamwork", funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (April 2012-2014). The project - carried out under the supervision of Professor Jennifer Whyte - involved field research on a major building project, with a focus on the visual practices emerging at the interfaces between the collaborating organizations (e.g., architecture, engineering, and construction firms).

Background Information:

Alice has received her PhD in Communication Sciences - awarded with the mention summa cum laude - from the University of Lugano (USI), Switzerland (2012), where she has also completed her MSc in Communication and Economics (2008). During her doctoral studies, she has been a Visiting Researcher at the Institute for Manufacturing, University of Cambridge (2008) and at the Institute for Media and Communications Management, University of St. Gallen (2010). Her professional background includes a Teaching Assistantship at the Institute of Marketing and Communication Management (USI), a PR internship at the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (RSI), and consulting projects for pharmaceutical companies such as Pharmaton (Boehringer Ingelheim).

Email Dr. Alice Comi at: a.comi@reading.ac.uk 

Publication list:

Journal Articles

Comi A., Lurati F., Zamparini A. (2014) Green Alliances: How Does Ecophilosophy Shape the Strategies of Environmental Organizations? Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations [pdf of submitted version 431KB].

Comi, A. Bischof, N. & Eppler, M.J. (2014). Beyond Projection. Using Collaborative Visualizations to Conduct Qualitative Interviews. Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management 9(2), 110-133 [pdf of submitted version 436KB].

Comi, A. Eppler, M.J. (2014). Diagnosing Capabilities in Family Firms: An Overview of Visual Research Methods and Suggestions for Future Applications. Journal of Family Business Strategy 5(1), 41-51 [pdf of submitted version 478KB].

Comi, A., Eppler, M.J. (2011). Assessing the Impact of Visual Facilitation on Inter-Organizational Collaboration: an Experimental Study. Journal of Universal Computer Science 17(10), 1430-1454. 

Book Chapter

Comi A., Eppler M.J. (forthcoming) Building Strategic Alliances in New and Small Ventures: A Review of Literature and Integrative Framework. in T.K. Das (Ed.) "Strategic Alliances for SME Development", Book Series "Research in Strategic Alliances". IAP: Charlotte, NC.

Comi A., Jaradat S., Whyte J. (forthcoming). Constructing Shared Vision in Design Practice: Material Mediation in Professional Work between Architects and Engineers. in: S. Ammon and I. Hinterwaldner (Eds). Imagery in the Age of Modelling: Operative Artifacts in the Design Process in Architecture and Engineering. Springer.

Book Review:

Comi, A. Review of "Advances in Visual Methodology" (edited by Sarah Pink, 2012, SAGE, 271 pp. ISBN: 978-0-85702-848-8). Visual Methodologies, 2 (1), I-III.

Conference Proceedings

Comi, A., Eppler, M., Herrmann, A., Schlager, T. (2013). Cognitive Biases in New Technology Appropriation: An experiment on the impact of judgmental and presentational priming. Proceedings of ICIS 2013, Milan.

Comi, A., Eppler, M.J. (2011) Visual Representations as Carriers and Symbols of Organizational Knowledge. Proceedings of I-KNOW '11, Graz (Austria).

Bischof N., Comi A., Eppler M.J. (2011). Knowledge Visualization in Qualitative Methods - or how can I see what I say? Proceedings of IV2011, 12-15 July 2011, London.

Comi A., Eppler M. (2010). Challenges and Solutions for Knowledge Sharing in Inter-Organizational Teams: First Experimental Results on the Positive Impact of Visualization. In: Proceedings of I-Know '10, 10th International Conference on Knowledge Management and Knowledge Technologies, Graz, Austria.

La Rocca A., Comi A., Corsaro D., Snehota I. (2010). Brand Images in Business to Business. In: Proceedings of the 6th Thought Leaders International Conference in Brand Management.

Comi, A., and Eppler, M. (2009). Visualizing Organizational Competences. Problems, Practices, Perspectives. In Proceedings of I-Know '09, 9th International Conference on Knowledge Management and Knowledge Technologies, Graz, Austria.


Whyte J., Comi A. Studying Strategy Practices with Visual Tools: From Every-day Strategizing to Organizational Consequences. Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, 1-5 August 2014, Philadelphia, PA.

Comi, A. and Whyte, J. (2014) Developing the building object: The role of cascades of visual representations, Giving visual and material form to ideas, identity and imagination: Architecture, urbanism and sustainable construction (organizers: Meyer, R.; Jones, C.; Boxenbaum, E.; Velikova, S.S.), May 12-13, WU Vienna, Austria.

Comi, A., Eppler M.J. (2014). The Visual Focus Group: Mapping participants' contribution through visualization software. International Conference "Visual Methodologies: A Post-discipline of Inclusions?" 19-21 June, MetLab, University of Neuch√Ętel, Neuch√Ętel.

Comi, A. (2014). Beyond the "Here and Now": Tracing the Performative Effects of Visual Objects and Practices. Methods Workshop on "Shadowing as Practice", 27 March, Warwick Business School, Coventry.

Whyte J., Comi A. (2013). Studying Strategy Practices with Visual Tools: From Every-day Strategizing to Organizational Consequences. Clibyg Research Workshop on "Building the Bounds of Academic research on Construction Management: What is Worth Knowing? What is Possible to Know?" 20-22 November, Copenhagen Business School, Copenhagen.

Comi A., Jaradat S., Whyte J. (2013). Interacting with Representations: Imagining and Designing in Architectural Practice. International Workshop on "Imagery in the Age of Modelling", 15-17 May 2013, eikones (National Center of Competence in Research on Iconic Criticism), Basel.

Comi, A., Lurati, F. and Zamparini, A. (2013) Green Alliances: How Does Ecophilosophy Shape theStrategies of Environmental Organizations? Academy of Management 2013, 9-13 August, Lake Buena Vista (Orlando), Florida.

Comi, A. Eppler M.J. (2013). Epistemic Actions in Visual Strategy Ideation: Exploring the (re-) appropriation of visual artefacts for strategy making, 3rd Organizations, Artifacts and Practices (OAP) Workshop on "Time, History and Materiality in Management and Organization Studies", 13-14 June 2013, London School of Economics, London, UK.

Comi A., Whyte J. (2012). Mobilizing Actors around the Building Project: The role of cascades of visual objects. Research Workshop on "The Building as Object and as Project", 21-23 November 2012, Copenhagen.

Comi A. (2012). Grounding Visual Objects into Organizational Practices: A Conceptual Framework. Symposium on Advancing Visual Research in Organization Studies. 28-29 November 2012, University of Essex, Colchester, UK.

Bischof N., Comi A., Eppler M. (2012). How Can We See What They Say? On the Use of Visual Representations in Qualitative Interviewing. Academy of Management Annual Meeting, August 3-7th, Boston, Massachusetts.

Comi A., Eppler M. (2012). Visual Artefacts in Inter-Organizational Teamwork: Exploring the Duality between Designed and Emergent Use. EGOS sub-theme 56: Practices of Inter-Organizational Collaboration: Designed or Emerging?, July 5-7th, Helsinki, Finland.

Comi, A., Eppler, M.J. (2011). Inter-Organizational Teams as a Mode of Coordination across Organizations: A Critical Review of Literature. ASQ-HEC-OMT Conference on Coordination within and among Organizations, 13-14 June 2011, Paris.

Working Papers

Comi, A., Eppler, M.J. Herrmann, A. (2012). The impact of priming on new technology appropriation : An extension of adaptive structuration theory. IMCA Working Paper 1/2012.

Comi, A., Eppler, M.J. (2009). Building and managing strategic alliances in technology-driven start-ups : a critical review of literature. IMCA Working Paper 1/2009..

Case Studies

Comi A., Eppler M., Pietroforte R. (2009). Building Innovation Alliances on Complementary Competences: The Beacon and Dioguardi Case Study. Case study with Teaching Note. ECCH case collection (Ref. no. 309-153-1, 309-154-1, 309-153-8).

Other Publications

Bischof N., Comi A., Eppler M.J. (2011). Knowledge Visualization in Qualitative Methods - or how can I see what I say? Short paper presented at EpiDay 2011, 3rd Young Scholars Research Day, USI University of Lugano.

Comi A., Eppler M.J. (2009). Alleanze strategiche: da fenomeno visibile a fenomeno visuale? LUISS Business School Executive MBA Newsletter No 33.

PhD dissertation

Comi A. (2012) Understanding the impact of visual facilitation on inter-organizational teamwork: An experimental study with follow-up focus group interviews. PhD Dissertation, USI University of Lugano.

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