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What makes a social practice? Being, knowing, doing and leading

Geilinger, N., Haefliger, S., Von Krogh, G. & Rechsteiner, L. (2016). What makes a social practice? Being, knowing, doing and leading. European Management Journal, 34(4), pp. 319-327. doi: 10.1016/j.emj.2016.04.006


Despite several decades of work on social practice, many open intriguing questions remain about their existence and functions within an organizational context. In this article, we discuss the “inherent logics” of social practice—being, knowing, and doing—to depict the meaning and mainspring of its conservation within an organizational context. We argue that the understanding of social practice in organization and management studies has predominantly focused on the internal workings of social practice, and we propose that a contextualization of the inherent logics of social practice may be a next step in advancing theory and empirical research. We propose a contested coexistence of social practices in organizations and thereby argue that the conservation of social practice protrudes another element belonging to its inherent logics, i.e., leading. We suggest that leadership in distributed and adaptive organizations responds to innovation and competitive challenges with wisdom, care, and fluidity.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2016, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Publisher Keywords: Social practice; Leadership; Formal organization; Informal organization; Collective action; Organization theory
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
Text - Accepted Version
Available under License : See the attached licence file.

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