Practice Theory, Work, and Organization: An Introduction

ISBN : 9780199231591

Davide Nicolini
288 Pages
182 x 233 mm
Pub date
Mar 2013
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What are practice theories? Where do they come from? What do they say? Do they offer something new to the study of work and organization? Practice theories are a set of conceptual tools and methodologies for investigating, analysing, and representing everyday practice. They develop the idea that phenomena such as knowledge, meaning, science, power, organized activity, sociality, and institutions are rooted in practice. The volume provides a rigorous yet accessible introduction to this emerging area of study. Recognizing that a unified theory of practice does not exist, the book surveys the main scholarly traditions that have, collectively, contributed to the practice turn in social and organization studies. Each chapter examines the main assumptions and concepts of these traditions, discussing their distinctive contribution to work and organization studies. The chapters are accompanied by a fully worked example of how the theory can be applied to empirical research, making the text suitable for teaching purposes. The book will constitute a valuable resource for researchers and graduate students in organization studies and management, and scholars across disciplines who are interested to know more about the topic.


1. Introduction
2. Praxis and Practice Theory: A Brief Historical Overview
3. Praxeology and the Work of Giddens and Bourdieu
4. Practice as Tradition and Community
5. Practice as Activity
6. Practice as Accomplishment
7. Practice as the House of the Social: Contemporary Developments of the Heideggerian and Wittgensteinian Traditions
8. Discourse and Practice
9. Bringing it All Together: a Toolkit to Study and Represent Practice at Work

About the author: 

Davide Nicolini is Professor of Organization Studies at Warwick Business School. He co-directs the IKON Research Centre at Warwick Business School and the Warwick Institute of Health. Prior to joining the University of Warwick he held positions at The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations in London and the University of Trento and Bergamo in Italy. His work has appeared in journals such as Organization Science, Organization Studies, Journal of Management Studies, Human Relations, Management Learning, and Social Science and Medicine. From 2009 he has been Editor of Management Learning.

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