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What is practice theory? Where do practice theories come from? What do they say? Do they really offer something new to the study of work and organization? In setting out to answer these questions, this book provides a rigorous yet accessible introduction to contemporary theories of practice, discussing their distinctive contribution to work and organization studies. Practice theories are a set of conceptual tools and methodologies for investigating, analysing, and representing everyday practice through written text, language, images, and behaviour. Drawing on a variety of theoretical traditions, they have explored the idea that phenomena such as knowledge, meaning, science, power, organized activity, sociality, and institutions are rooted in practice. The book first examines the origins of the idea of practice. Recognizing that a unified theory of practice does not exist, the central chapters of the book then discuss the theory and concepts of the main scholarly traditions that have, collectively, contributed to the 'practice turn' in social and organization studies. Each of the central chapters concludes with a fully worked example of the theory in application. Practice theories have become of increasing interest for management and organizational scholars in recent years, and this book is an advanced introduction to the complexities of the area for academics, researchers, and graduate students in organization studies, management, and across the social sciences.
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.