PDW 03: Doing Process Research: Writing-up Empirical Research Based on Communicative Constitution of Organization Perspective (CCO) and Narrative Approach

Anthony Hussenot
Université Côte d’Azur, France
Timothy R. Kuhn
University of Colorado Boulder, USA
Mie Plotnikof
University College Copenhagen, Denmark
Anniina Rantakari
University of Oulu, Finland

Call for Applications

Viviane Sergi, ESG UQAM, Montréal, Canada
Barbara Simpson, University of Strathclyde, United Kingdom
Jenni Myllykoski, University of Oulu, Finland
Keynote by Daniel Hjorth, Editor-in-Chief of Organization Studies


The general purpose of this PDW 03 – in part of the EGOS Standing Working Group (SWG) 10 on “Doing Process Research” – is to help process organization studies scholars, especially at PhD level and in the early stage of their career, to improve their writing skills and get their articles ready before sending them to an academic journal.
In 2018, we would like to invite scholars from other communities (CCO and narrative) to discuss common issues when writing academic articles. By crossing CCO approach, narrative approach and process studies, we aim to generate debate about how to transcribe narrative and how to deal with language and communication as empirical sources in our academic writing. By combining scholars from different fields but sharing the same concerns about writing academic articles, we want to create a unique opportunity to push forward participants’ writing skills.



Process views encourage scholars to make the flow of activities from which emerge organization phenomena explicit in academic articles (Langley & Tsoukas, 2010; 2017; Helin et al., 2014). A major consequence for scholars is that any description of organizational phenomenon has to transcribe the ongoing progression of the ideas, people, projects, etc., by showing the immanence and the relationality (Chia, 1999; Cooper, 2005). For this PDW, we suggest combining CCO (Ashcraft et al., 2009) and the narrative (Rantaka & Vaara, 2017) approaches to see how these perspectives could help us understand how processes are enabled/constituted through narratives, counter-narratives, ante-narratives (Boje, 2001), multi-story (Buchanan& Dawson, 2007) and/or other communication practices (Cooren et al., 2011), and additionally, we aim to examine how to follow and put into written those narratives and communications.
This broader question will also include more practical ones related to writing, i.e. the nature of the writing (description, performance) provided by scholars (Sergi & Hallin, 2011). More precisely, a current challenge for process scholars is to transcribe, depict and analyze the temporal discursive construction emerging through narratives and communication. The writing thus involves describing the constant becoming of the activities and their temporality through narratives. This is a challenging exercise for scholars as we have to shift from a segmented way of writing – based on isolated events - to a new one, which would privilege a transcription of this ongoing discursive construction in which past, present and future are not isolated but constantly re/defined and negotiated by actors (Hernes et al., 2013; Hussenot & Missonier, 2016).
The narrative approach (Boje, 2001, 2014) thus seems to be a privileged one for the process community as it brings a way to transcribe the experiences lived by actors. More precisely, narratives provide description of sequences of events and help scholars to understand how past, present and future are defined and structured by actors (Feldman & Almquist, 2012). Narratives hence play a key role in the way actors constantly re/defined their temporality. Moreover, narratives mirror this process by creating meaning through continuous defining and ordering of events (Rantakari &Vaara, 2017, p. 272). The narrative approach can therefore provide scholars with richness and details of the immanent flux and continuous change constituting and constituted by organizational phenomena.
The CCO approach can be very useful and fruitful too in such the challenge of writing process research. Although the CCO approach is undeniably heterogeneous (Brummans et al., 2014), one of its central tenets is that disparate practices coalesce into what we recognize as formal organizations when narratives emerge to guide the process of composition. CCO scholarship is centrally concerned with portraying organizations not as taken-for-granted entities, but as ongoing processes and products of communication – a conceptual move that forces analysts to understand (a) why organizations are often treated by social actors as stable and enduring entities, (b) how to trace organizing activities over time, and (c) what makes organizing processes appear more or less organized (i.e., coordinated and controlled). Across these three manifestations, narrative has been recognized in a variety of CCO theorizing as a central explanatory resource (Fairhurst & Cooren, 2009; Golant & Sillince, 2007; Kuhn, 2008; Taylor & Van Every, 2014; Plotnikof, 2015; 2016). Nevertheless, because CCO scholars treat narratives in potentially conflicting ways – in process terms, as elements of communication processes, and as object-like guideposts for organizational constitution – the methodological challenges involved in tracing narratives and their impact on organizing is a longstanding CCO concern (Frandsen et al. 2017).
Consequently, this PDW aims at experimenting with techniques and methods from the narrative approach and CCO perspective that enable scholars to deal with the ongoing movement in their writings, without resorting to fixed events or outcomes. Young PhD scholars, as well as doctoral students, scholars in the early stages of their career as and more senior scholars, are thus warmly welcomed to join this PDW.



Based on their empirical data, the participants will be invited to do some exercises relying on the narrative and CCO approaches to transcribe their empirical data in a process focused way. We will work in small groups with a facilitator. The last part of the PDW will be dedicated to an open discussion between participants and specialists in CCO, narrative approach and process studies.



Please submit – via the EGOS website – by April 30, 2018 a single document of application (.doc, .docx or .pdf file) that includes the following information:

  • A short letter of application containing full details of name, address (postal address, phone and email) and affiliation;
  • An introduction to your empirical data (it can be an already completed paper or simply a draft), and stating why you are interested in learning about writing empirical research based on process studies, communicative constitution of organization perspective (CCO) and/or narrative approach.



  • Ashcraft, K.L., Kuhn, T., & Cooren, F. (2009): “Constitutional amendments: ‘Materializing’ organizational communication.” The Academy of Management Annals, 3, 1–64.
  • Boje, D.M. (2001): Narrative Methods for Organizational & Communication Research. London: SAGE Publications.
  • Boje, D.M. (2014): Storytelling Organizational Practices: Managing in the Quantum Age. London: Routledge.
  • Brummans, B.H.J.M., Cooren, F., Robichaud, D., & Taylor, J.R. (2014): “Approaches to the communicative constitution of organizations.” In: L.L. Putnam & D.K. Mumby (eds.): The SAGE Handbook of Organizational Communication. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications, 173–194.
  • Buchanan, D., & Dawson, P. (2007): “Discourse and Audience: Organizational Change as Multi-Story Process.” Journal of Management Studies, 44: 669–686.
  • Chia, R. (1999): “A ‘Rhizomic’ Model of Organizational Change and Transformation : Perspective from a Metaphysics of Change.” British Journal of Management, 10, 209–227.
  • Cooper, R. (2005): “Relationality.” Organization Studies, 26 (11), 1689–1710.
  • Cooren, K., & Cornelissen, C. (2011): “Communication, Organizing and Organization: An Overview and Introduction to the Special Issue.” Organization Studies, 32 (9), 1149–1170.
  • Fairhurst, G.T., & Cooren, F. (2009): “Leadership as the Hybrid Production of Presence(s).” Leadership, 5 (4), 469–490.
  • Frandsen, S., Kuhn, T., & Lundholt, M. (eds.) (2017): Counter-Narratives and Organization. New York: Routledge.
  • Golant, B.D., & Sillince, J.A.A. (2007): “The Constitution of Organizational Legitimacy: A Narrative Perspective.” Organization Studies, 28 (8), 1149–1167.
  • Helin, J., Hernes, T., Hjorth, D., & Holt, R. (eds.) (2014): Process Philosophy and Organization Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Hernes, T., Simpson, B., & Soderlund, J. (2013): “Introduction: Managing and Temporality.” Scandinavian Journal of Management, 29, 1–6.
  • Hussenot, A., & Missonier, S. (2016): “Encompassing Stability and Novelty in Organization Studies: An Events-based Approach.” Organization Studies, 37 (4), 523–546.
  • Kuhn, T. (2008): “A Communicative Theory of the Firm: Developing an Alternative Perspective on Intra-organizational Power and Stakeholder Relationships.” Organization Studies, 29 (8-9), 1227–1254.
  • Langley, A., Tsoukas, H. (2010): “Introducing ‘Perspectives on process organization studies’.” In T. Hernes & S. Maitlis (eds.): Process, Sensemaking, and Organizing. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1–26.
  • Langley, A., & Tsoukas, H. (eds.) (2017): The SAGE Handbook of Process Organization Studies. London: SAGE Publications.
  • Plotnikof, M. (2015): “Negotiating Collaborative Governance Designs: A Discursive Approach.” The Public Sector Innovation Journal, 20 (3), 1–22.
  • Plotnikof, M. (2016): “Meaning Negotiations of Collaborative Governance – A Discourse-based Ethnography.” In: A. Reff Pedersen & D.M. Humle (eds.): Doing Organizational Ethnography. London: Routledge, 137–158.
  • Rantakari, A., & Vaara, E. (2017): “Narratives and Processuality.” In: A. Langley & H. Tsoukas (eds.): The SAGE Handbook of Process Organization Studies. London: SAGE Publications, 271–285.
  • Taylor, J.R., & Van Every, E. (2014): When Organization Fails: Why Authority Matters. New York: Routledge.
  • Sergi, V., & Hallin, A. (2011): “Thick performances, not just thick descriptions. The processual nature of qualitative research.” Qualitative Research in Organization and Management, 6 (2), 191–208.


Anthony Hussenot is Professor in Organization Studies at the Université Côte d'Azur, France. Anchored in a process perspective, his research concerns the emergence of organizational phenomena from the study of innovative work practices. He has conducted qualitative studies in various fields such as secondary school, private banking, the maker movement and the surfing industry. His work has been published in such journals as ‘Organization Studies’, ‘International Journal of Organizational Analysis’, ‘Journal of Organizational Change Management’, and ‘Système d’Information et Management’. He has recently co-edited a book about recent trends in organization theories (in French).
Timothy R. Kuhn is Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Colorado at Boulder, USA. His work has been published in the ‘Academy of Management Annals’, ‘Academy of Management Review’, ‘Organization’, and ‘Organization Studies’, among other locations. He is an associate editor of ‘Human Relations' and serves on the editorial boards of the ‘Annals of the International Communication Association’, ‘Communication Monographs’, ‘Communication Theory’, ‘Journal of Applied Communication Research’, and ‘Management Communication Quarterly’. His current research examines how knowledge, identities, ethics, and organizations themselves are constituted in communicative practices.
Mie Plotnikof is Assistant Professor at University College Copenhagen and external lecturer at Copenhagen Business School, Denmark. She studies the role of communication in managing and organizing cross-sector collaboration and public governance of various policy areas, but particularly the education area. Her main research interests are communication and discourse, identity and power/resistance, and public policy and reform processes. Her work has been published in e.g. ‘International Journal of Public Sector Management’, ‘The Innovation Journal’, ‘Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies’, and’ Management Learning’. She has also contributed to edited volumes such as “Doing Organizational Ethnography” (Routledge Publications).
Anniina Rantakari is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Oulu Business School, Finland. Her key areas of interest are the process and practice perspectives on organizing, the questions of narratives and temporality, and the dynamics of power and resistance in organizational research in general and strategy research in particular. Rantakari has contributed to edited volumes such as “The SAGE Handbook of Process Organization Studies” (2017), “The SAGE Handbook of Resistance “(2016), and Oxford book series “Perspectives on Process Organization Studies” (forthcoming 2018).