Sub-theme 68: Responsible Management-as-Practice: A Path for Building a Good Life?
Call for Papers
Facing social, economic, and environmental challenges (such as climate change, ocean acidification or rising inequalities),
it is largely accepted that we must reconsider the ways we organize ourselves, our organizations, and more broadly our society.
To address these Grand Challenges, researchers in the domains of ethics, responsibility, and sustainability have recently
turned their attention towards mundane day-to-day activities in organizations: practices (Shin et al., 2022), tools and materiality
(Gond & Brès, 2020) or practitioners’ perspectives and dilemmas (Carollo & Guerci, 2018) and the micro-dynamics of
corporate social responsibility in organization (Girschik et al., 2022).
Turning to practice theories may indeed hold great promise of conceptual and methodological development. In this subtheme, we are interested in research that seeks to explore how the day-to-day practices in organizations can contribute to tackling grand challenges (ideally safeguarding the “good life”!). As the idea of Responsible Management (RM) invites us to focus on the integration of sustainability, responsibility, and ethics in managerial practice (Gherardi & Laasch, 2021), we use it as an umbrella concept to foster fruitful debates between all research perspectives that can advance the discussion on “Responsible management as practice”.
Practice theories have become well-established in management and organization studies (Nicolini, 2012). They may be defined as a broad family of conceptual tools and methodologies for researching and understanding everyday practices (Schatzki et al., 2001). These theories develop the idea that phenomena such as knowledge, meaning, science, power, language, organized activity, and social institutions are rooted in the everyday practices organizational members engage in (Nicolini, 2012). Furthermore, practice theory also joins a variety of ‘materialist’ approaches in highlighting how practice is interwoven intimately with nonhuman entities (Schatzki et al., 2001). As Nicolini (2012, p. 171) contends, “the nature and identity of objects cannot be apprehended independently of the practice in which they are involved—just as we cannot make sense of our practices without taking into account the materials that enter it. Objects, materials, and technology need thus to be studied ‘in practice’ and with reference to the practices in which they are involved.” As such, this framework thus proposes a processual and dynamic lens that has also been highlighted under the notion of ‘in-use’ (Jarzabkowski & Kaplan, 2015).
Therefore, for this EGOS sub-theme, we would like to stimulate the debate and explore and discuss RM-as-practice. We build our call on recent contributions such as Jarzabkowksi and Kaplan (2015) or Gond and Brès’ (2020) approaches to ‘tools-in-use’, as well as a humanist and post-humanist approaches (Gond & Nyberg, 2017) that offer exciting avenues to study empirically RM-as-practice. We welcome empirical and theoretical contributions that addresses RM-as-practice from a variety of theoretical and empirical contexts. Submissions may address (but not limited to) the following questions:
The link between responsible practices and their context:
How do social, cultural, political and historical contexts influence which managerial practices are considered as ‘responsible’?
How and when do responsible management practices emerge, change, dissolve, are combined, or contested?
How can responsible managerial practices contribute to a good life?
The link between responsible management practices, global organizational performance and social change, and grand challenge, and vice versa.
The practice of responsible practices:
We often observe a difficult balance between the triple bottom line (economic, social and environmental dimensions). How may responsible managerial practices help managers to reconcile these dimensions and deal with dilemmas of grand challenges?
How does our understanding of these practices highlight silenced dimensions or forgotten paradoxes?
How are human bodies, the materiality of managerial instruments and discourses entangled in RM practices?
The design of better practice:
Do certain organizational forms (e.g., social enterprises, social businesses, cooperatives, B-Corps, non-governmental organizations, etc.) lend themselves more to implementing responsible management practices?
What are the effects on the adoption of certain devices of monitoring activities on organizing for responsibility?
How is responsible managing accomplished in a situated practice, which assembles humans, nonhumans, tools, technologies, rules, and discourses?
Which activities are performed within the situated RM practice that we describe, and with which consequences in terms of sustainability, responsibility and ethics?
The research of RM-as practice:
How to observe and study responsible managerial practices? What are the promising tools and methodology?
What are the new approaches to study and disseminate responsible practice such as action research, engaged scholarship or critical performativity?
How can we further theorize the ontological and epistemological underpinnings of RM?
- Carollo, L., & Guerci, M. (2018): “‘Activists in a suit’: Paradoxes and metaphors in sustainability managers’ identity work.” Journal of Business Ethics, 148 (2), 249–268.
- Gherardi, S., & Laasch, O. (2021): “Responsible management-as-practice: Mobilizing a posthumanist approach.” Journal of Business Ethics, first published online on September 22, 2021, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-021-04945-7.
- Girschik, V., Svystunova, L., & Lysova, E. I. (2022): “Transforming corporate social responsibilities: Toward an intellectual activist research agenda for micro-CSR research.” Human Relations, 75 (1), 3–32.
- Gond, J.-P., & Brès, L. (2020): “Designing the tools of the trade: How corporate social responsibility consultants and their tool-based practices created market shifts.” Organization Studies, 41 (5), 703–726.
- Gond, J.-P., & Nyberg, D. (2017): “Materializing power to recover corporate social responsibility.” Organization Studies, 38 (8), 1127–1148.
- Jarzabkowski, P., & Kaplan, S. (2015): “Strategy tools-in-use: A framework for understanding ‘technologies of rationality’ in practice.” Strategic Management Journal, 36 (4), 537–558.
- Nicolini, D. (2012): Practice Theory, Work, and Organization: An Introduction. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
- Schatzki, T.R., Knorr Cetina, K., & von Savigny, E. (eds.) (2001): The Practice Turn in Contemporary Theory. London: Routledge.
- Shin, H., Cho, C.H., Brivot, M., & Gond, J.-P. (2022): “The Moral Relationality of Professionalism Discourses: The Case of Corporate Social Responsibility Practitioners in South Korea.” Business & Society, 61 (4), 886–923.