Research for this project involves intensive archival-based investigation in four counties and four languages. Drawing on archival material from archives in Venice (Archivio di Stato di Venezia; Bibliotecca Nazionale Marciana; Museo Civico Correr; Fondazione Giorgio Cini), Rome (Archivio Segreto Vaticano), London (National Archives; the National Maritime Museum), Valladoid (Archivio General di Simancas), and Washington DC (Library of Congress), the project provides a balanced, intelligible and situated analysis of pre-industrial organisational life
Methodologically, this study aims to retain the epistemological status of historical events by interpreting primary material through sociological and organisational theories. For this reason, it employs a fresh transdisciplinary approach which combines the narrative construction of established theoretical constructs stemming from organisation theory, such as organisational image, organisational identity, and organisational secrecy, with the rich description of historical context, as it emerges from the critical examination of an exhaustive body of archival sources, supplemented by relevant secondary literature.
Employing this transdisciplinary perspective, the study moves beyond the conventional, overly-empiricist narrative approaches to organisational history, while discarding the overly-technicist and abstract discussions of organisational theories that favour methodological rigour at the expense of narrative richness.