Sub-theme 17: Accounts of Organizing in Space and Time from Practice-Based Perspectives: Connecting the Threads

Ignas Bruder
Hertie School, Germany
Olivier Berthod
ICN Business School & Université de Lorraine, France
Deborah Giustini
KU Leuven, Belgium

Call for Papers

Theories of practice have provided rich accounts of time (Giddens, 1984; Shove, 2009; Pantzar & Shove, 2010), space (Schatzki, 2005; Reckwitz, 2012; Everts, 2016) and timespace (Blue, 2019; Schatzki, 2010; Kemmis, 2021) in social processes. Practice-based studies of organizing have taken up these accounts and contributed to our understanding of the spatio-temporal dimensions of organization (Nicolini, 2007; Jarzabkowski, Bednarek, & Spee, 2015; Hydle, 2015; Beyes & Holt, 2020; Davis, 2022).
However, since practice-based approaches are so dispersed across organization studies (from strategy over projects, entrepreneurship, networks, public administration, leadership and beyond), there is a lack of integration and conversation across distinct research streams. The aim of this sub-theme is to bring together researchers from different subject-areas working with theories of practice and spark discussions that advance our conceptualizations of time and space in practice-based accounts of organizing.
The basic idea that organizational phenomena result from, and transpire through, a nexus of practices (Hui et al., 2017) provides promising ways to engage with the roles of time and space in organizing, especially during periods of transition, both societal and organizational, that can be characterized as ‘crossroads’. The sub-theme will build on this practice-theoretical understanding and explore the methodological and conceptual implications of a dedicated focus on time and space in practice-based theorizing of organizations.
To capture the spirit of this year’s theme, we encourage prospective participants to explore diverse and less than conventional empirical sites and topics. For example, the struggles around delayed sustainability transitions and responses to climate change might be one area of interest (Shove & Walker, 2010). The transition to new digital technologies within and across organizations, and how these impact temporal and spatial trajectories thereof might be another (Glaser, Pollock, & D’Adderio 2021). The need for creative solutions and cross-sector collaboration in the pursuit of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals offers many sites for important research as well (Kaufmann & Danner-Schroeder, 2022). We encourage studies that theorize the normativity inherent in practices (Bruder, 2021; Gehman, 2020) in relation to time and space, along with research that provides new ways of thinking about the interactions between processes, contexts and outcomes (Feldman, 2010). We look forward to studies that connect temporal and spatial dimensions to questions of breakdown and crises in practices (Giustini, 2021; Seidl & Whittington, 2021; Berthod, Grothe-Hammer, Hagen, & Sydow, 2021) and to issues of conflict, learning and cooperation emerging in organizational practices and strategies (Jarzabkowski & Bednarek, 2016; Berthod, Grothe-Hammer & Sydow, 2017).
We explicitly welcome scholars who approach the study of social practices from different traditions, from “as-practice” approaches to Bourdieu’s praxeology, sociomateriality, structuration theory, phenomenology, routine studies and beyond. We especially encourage submissions that go beyond ontological and epistemological reflexivity and also reflect the ethical underpinnings of their studies (Ezzamel & Willmott, 2014). Empirical and conceptual papers are equally welcome. Possible questions may include, but are not limited to:

  • How do organizations adapt their practices over time in light of large-scale spatial transitions occurring during periods of crisis and conflict?

  • How do the connections between practices support or impede transition processes across space and time?

  • In what ways do time and space relate to cooperation (or lack thereof) in and among organizations?

  • How do organizations aiming at positive social change (e.g., social enterprises) scale their practices across time and space?

  • How does materiality (e.g., in the form of digital technologies) intertwine with and affect spatio-temporal landscapes in organizations?

  • How do nexuses of practices change the spatial dimension of organizations over time?

  • How do organizational members import practices into organizations, and how do they translate these into other spatial and temporal contexts?

  • How to integrate various methods to better capture spatial and temporal concerns in practice-based research?

  • How do organizations attend to and repair breaches of practice continuity in spatially and temporally distributed groups?

  • How do organizations cope with unintended changes (e.g., in practices carried in from the outside) over time?


  • Berthod, O., Grothe-Hammer, M., Sydow, J. (2017): “Network Ethnography: A Mixed-Method Approach for the Study of Practices in Interorganizational Settings.” Organizational Research Methods, 20 (2), 299–323.
  • Berthod, O., Grothe-Hammer, M., Hagen, R., & Sydow, J. (2021): “Managing Resource Transposition in the Face of Extreme Events: Fieldwork at Two Public Networks in Germany and the U.S.” Public Administration, 99 (1), 171–188.
  • Beyes, T., & Holt, R. (2020): “The Topographical Imagination: Space and organization theory.” Organization Theory, 1 (2),
  • Blue, S. (2019): “Institutional rhythms: Combining practice theory and rhythmanalysis to conceptualise processes of institutionalisation.” Time & Society, 28 (3), 922–950.
  • Bruder, I. (2021): “Reflections on Social Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Organizing. An Ethically Focused Practice-Based Perspective.“ Zeitschrift Für Wirtschafts- Und Unternehmensethik, 22 (1), 111–122.
  • Davis, T. (2022): “Entrepreneurship, practice theory and space: methodological principles and processes for spatial inquiry.” In: N.A. Thompson, O. Byrne, A. Jenkins, & B.T. Teague (eds.): Research Handbook on Entrepreneurship as Practice. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, 235–249.
  • Everts, J. (2016): “Connecting Sites: Practice Theory and Large Phenomena.” Geographische Zeitschrift, 104 (1), 50–67.
  • Ezzamel, M., & Willmott, H. (2014): “Registering ‘the Ethical’ in Organization Theory Formation: Towards the Disclosure of an ‘Invisible Force’.” Organization Studies, 35 (7), 1013–1039.
  • Feldman, M.S. (2010): “Managing the Organization of the Future.” Public Administration Review, 70 (1), 159–163.
  • Gehman, J. (2020): “Searching for Values in Practice-Driven Institutionalism: Practice Theory, Institutional Logics, and Values Work.” Research in the Sociology of Organizations, 70, 109–129.
  • Giddens, A. (1984): The Constitution of Society. Outline of the Theory of Structuration. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.
  • Giustini, D. (2021): “‘The whole thing is really managing crisis’: Practice theory insights into interpreters' work experiences of success and failure.” The British Journal of Sociology, 72 (4), 1077–1091.
  • Glaser, V.L., Pollock, N., & D’Adderio, L. (2021): “The Biography of an Algorithm: Performing algorithmic technologies in organizations.” Organization Theory, 2 (2),
  • Hydle, K.M. (2015): “Temporal and Spatial Dimensions of Strategizing.” Organization Studies, 36 (5), 643–663.
  • Jarzabkowski, P., Bednarek, R., & Spee, P. (2015): Making a Market for Acts of God: The Practice of Risk-trading in the Global Reinsurance Industry. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Jarzabkowski, P., & Bednarek, R. (2018): “Toward a social practice theory of relational competing.” Strategic Management Journal, 39 (3), 794–829.
  • Kaufmann, L.J., & Danner-Schröder, A. (2022): “Addressing Grand Challenges Through Different Forms of Organizing: A Literature Review.” Research in the Sociology of Organizations, 79, 163–186.
  • Kemmis, S. (2021): “A practice theory perspective on learning: Beyond a ‘standard’ view.” Studies in Continuing Education, 43 (3), 280–295.
  • Nicolini, D. (2007): “Stretching out and expanding work practices in time and space: The case of telemedicine.” Human Relations, 60 (6), 889–920.
  • Pantzar, M., & Shove, E. (2010): “Temporal Rhythms as Outcomes of Social Practices. A Speculative Discussion.” Ethnologia Europaea, 40 (1), 19–29.
  • Reckwitz, A. (2012): “Affective spaces: A praxeological outlook.” Rethinking History, 16 (2), 241–258.
  • Schatzki, T.R. (2005): “The Sites of Organizations.” Organization Studies, 26 (3), 465–484.
  • Schatzki, T.R. (2010): The Timespace of Human Activity: On Performance, Society, and History as Indeterminate Teleological Events. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
  • Seidl, D., & Whittington, R. (2021): “How Crisis Reveals the Structures of Practices.” Journal of Management Studies, 58 (1), 240–244.
  • Shove, E., & Walker, G. (2010): “Governing transitions in the sustainability of everyday life.” Research Policy, 39 (4), 471–476.
  • Shove, E. (2009): “Everyday Practice and the Production and Consumption of Time.” In: E. Shove, F. Trentmann & R. Wilk (eds.): Time, Consumption and Everyday Life: Practice, Materiality and Culture. Oxford: Berg, 17–34.
Ignas Bruder is a post-doctoral researcher at Hertie School in Berlin, Germany. In his research, he uses theories of practice to study the implicit normativity within organizations as well as drift processes in organizations. His research phenomena of interest are currently social entrepreneurship, democracy, organizational sustainability and alternative food systems. Ignas is a crew member of the Practice Theory Consortium ( that regularly organizes online events for early career scholars interested in theories of practice.
Olivier Berthod is an Associate Professor at ICN Business School and the CEREFIGE, Université de Lorraine, Nancy, France. His research inspects ways to improve organizational reliability and institutional decision-making in businesses, public sector and nonprofit organizations. Olivier is currently using practice-based approaches, among others, to study the dynamics of cooperation between organizations in preparing for climate change in a variety of fields, ranging from ski resorts to cultural institutions.
Deborah Giustini is an Assistant Professor at HBKU and a research fellow at KU Leuven, Belgium. Her research uses practice theory & ethnography to study expertise, power, and tech-induced tensions in knowledge-intensive workplaces such as the language industry. Deborah is an editorial board member of ‘Sociology’, the ‘British Journal of Sociology’, ‘Sociological Research Online’, and ‘Interpreting & Society’. She is also a crew member of the Practice Theory Consortium of Lancaster University.