Interconnecting the practice turn and communicative approach to organizing

A new challenge for collective action ?

Call for Papers – Special Issue of M@n@gement

Special Issue Guest editors

Nicolas ARNAUD (Audencia School of Management, France)

François COOREN (Université de Montréal, Canada)

Bertrand FAURE (Université de Toulouse, France)

Jeanne MENGIS (Università della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland)

Deadline: 30th September 2016

In this special issue, we want to advance knowledge on collective action – one of the most challenging issues for contemporary business and organizations – by inviting theoretical and empirical contributions at the intersection between the practice turn (Schatzki, Knorr-Cetina and Von Savigny, 2001; Rouleau, 2013) and communicative approaches to organizing (Putnam and Nicotera, 2008; Cooren, 2010).
Scholars from various disciplines (e.g., sociology, management, psychology, communication, economics and ergonomic studies) have long been interested in the ongoing transformation and enactment of collective action at work in relation to wider organizational transformations. Interpretive (Putnam and Pacanowsky, 1983) or process theories (Tsoukas and Chia, 2002) have proposed to see collective (or co-oriented) action as relying upon heedful care for mutual interdependencies (Weick and Roberts, 1993) rather than on the establishment of shared organizational knowledge or culture. Current trends of thought put forward that collective action is nowadays more than ever a distributed and hybrid performance, a polyphonic dance of human and non-human agency (Latour, 1996; Cooren, 2010). How can this diversity of practices across time and space achieve unity of discourse? How can multiple voices become the one voice of the organization (Taylor and Cooren, 1997), thus doing the same thing while remaining different? This is what collective action is about in modern organizing: something in between situated communities of practice (Brown and Duguid, 2002) and dislocated communicational processes (Taylor and Van Every, 1993; Fauré and Arnaud, 2014).
This call for papers suggests exploring further the hypothesis according to which collective action is about how people work within a social and organizational setting to construct and mobilize interests and resources as well as about how people create the conditions under which social action occurs (Quinn and Worline, 2008). As such, collective action can be seen as the capacity of a collective to generate a performance by constantly producing and reproducing the meaning of its action, in a singular situation that mobilizes cultural and historical experience leading to a collective competence (Arnaud and Mills, 2012).
The special issue aims at extending our knowledge about production, support and transformation of collective action by studying it from the dual perspective of practice theory and
1organizational communication. We thus encourage authors to develop further our understanding of collective action by relying both on the concepts of practice and communication. We are especially interested in contributions that solicit empirically grounded reflections on collective action and that document the concrete and practical conditions for the existence of collective action across time and space.


Contributions to this special issue might cover some of the following indicative, but not exhaustive, issues:

- What practices support conversational dynamics (Mengis and Eppler, 2008)? Which HR practices and systems (evaluation policies, pay, even career management) support collective action (Detchessahar, 2003; Llewellyn and Spence, 2009)?
- How can we understand collective action at the interface of teams and organizations (Arnaud and Mills, 2012)?
- How are discursive struggles realized? How can coherence between different levels of an organization be built (Vaara, 2010)?
- How does the identity of practitioners affect their practices and/or conversations? How does the legitimacy of practices develop (Johnson, Balogun and Beech, 2010; Vaara and Whittington, 2012)?
- How can we analyze the continuous spatiotemporal dislocation-restructuring that characterizes organizations today (Le Moënne, 2004; Taylor and Van Every, 1993; Boje, 2001)? Which conversation-text dynamics make these dislocated organizations (Cooren and Fairhurst, 2004) coherent?
- Today, everything is digitized and communicated faster and farther than ever, but can we truly say that management practices are breaking new ground? What is the role of
human arbitrage in an increasingly artifactual world (Cooren, 2010; V aara and Whittington, 2012)?
- Which communicative practices are developed and enacted during accounting, budgeting, costing processes and what is constituted, organizationally speaking, through these practices (Michaud, 2014; Whittington, 2011; Fauré and Rouleau, 2011)?

Process and Deadline

Deadline: Papers must be received by September 30th, 2016
Papers for the special issue should be prepared according to M@n@gement’s guidelines for authors ( and must be submitted to the online submission system of M@n@gement, before September 30th, 2016
When submitting your full paper, please include a cover letter that explicitly states that you would like your paper to be considered for this special issue.


Biography of the Editors

Nicolas ARNAUD, PhD, is Associate Professor in the Department of Management and Deputy Director of Audencia Grande Ecole at Audencia, School of Management in France. His research interests include (inter-)organizational collective competence and middle managers practices from a communication perspective.
Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser.

François COOREN, PhD, is a professor at the Université de Montréal, Canada, where he is chair of the Department of Communication. His research focuses on organizational communication, language and social interaction, and communication theory. He is past president of the International Communication Association (ICA, 2010-2011), president of the International Association for Dialogue Analysis (IADA, 2012-2014) and former editor-in-chief of Communication Theory (2005- 2008). He is also a fellow of the International Communication Association (ICA).
Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser.

Bertrand FAURÉ, PhD, is a professor at the Université de Toulouse, Technological Institute of Tarbes, where he is chair of the Department of Management. His research focuses on organizational communication and the performativity of the language of numbers.
Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser.

Jeanne MENGIS, PhD, is Associate Professor of Organizational Communication at the Faculty of Communication Sciences, Università della Svizzera italiana (USI), Switzerland. She also is an Associate Fellow at Warwick Business School, UK. Jeanne is interested in how material actors mediate organizational and communication practices, in particular knowledge work and coordination.
Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser.


About M@n@gement

M@n@gement is an open-access (free) academic journal that publishes quality articles derived from rigorous research which can improve our knowledge of organizational phenomena. Authors are encouraged to submit papers that promote innovative topics, approaches and methods in management, organization theory and strategy. Because it is an electronic review, M@n@gement welcomes manuscripts featuring non-traditional features (e.g., video files, audio material, or photos). All papers undergo a double-blind reviewing process.

A Special Issue has been published in 2013 to celebrate M@n@gement’s 15th anniversary featuring papers from (among others): S. Clegg, P. Jarzabkowski, T. Pinch, A. Langley, L. Rouleau, A. Spicer, E. Vaara, H. Willmott. (cf. vol. 16, n.5:

Recent Special Issues of M@n@gement have focused on Institutional Theory (Guest editors: B. Forgues, R. Greenwood, I. Martí, P. Monin and P. Walgenbach, 2012, vol. 15, n. 5); Critical Management Studies and Management Education (Guest editors: S. Clegg, F. Dany and Ch. Grey, 2011, vol. 14, n. 5); and Business Models (Guest editors: X. Lecoq, B. Demil, J. Ventura, 2010, vol. 13, n. 4).
For more information:



Arnaud, N. and C. E. Mills (2012). 'Understanding the inter-organizational agency: A communication perspective', Group & Organization Management, 37, pp. 452-485.
Boje, D. M. (2001). 'introduction to deconstructing Las Vegas', M@n@gement, 4, pp. 79-82.
Cooren, F. (2010). Action and Agency in Dialogue: Passion, incarnation and ventriloquism, John
Benjamins Publishing Company.
Cooren, F. and G. T. Fairhurst (2004). 'Speech Timing and Spacing: The Phenomenon of
Organizational Closure', Organization, 11, pp. 793-824.
Detchessahar, M. (2003). 'L'avènement de l'entreprise communicationnelle ? Outils, problèmes et politique d'accompagnement', Revue française de gestion, 29, pp. 65-84.
Fauré, B. and N. Arnaud (2014). La communication des organisations, Repères, La Découverte, Paris. Fauré, B. and L. Rouleau (2011). 'The strategic competence of accountants and middle managers in
budget making', Accounting, Organizations & Society, 36, pp. 167-182.
Johnson, P., J. Balogun and N. Beech (2010). 'Researching strategists and their identity in practice: building „close-with‟ relationships'. In: D. Golsorkhi, L. Rouleau, D. Seidl and E. Vaara (eds.), Cambridge handbook of strategy as practice. pp. 243-257. Cambridge Cambridge University Press.
Latour, B. (1996). 'On interobjectivity', Mind, culture, and activity, 3, pp. 228-245.
Le Moënne, C. (2004). 'La communication organisationnelle à l'heure de la dislocation spatio-
temporelle des entreprises ', Sciences de la société, pp. 209-224.
Llewellyn, N. and L. Spence (2009). 'Practice as a members’ phenomenon', Organization Studies, 30,
pp. 1419-1439.
Mengis, J. and M. J. Eppler (2008). 'Understanding and managing conversations from a knowledge perspective: an analysis of the roles and rules of face-to-face conversations in organizations', Organization Studies, 29, pp. 1287-1313.
Michaud, V. (2014). 'Mediating the Paradoxes of Organizational Governance through Numbers', Organization Studies, 35, pp. 75-101.
Putnam, L. L. and A. M. Nicotera (2008). 'Building theories of organizing: The constitutive role of communication'. New York: Roultedge.
Putnam, L. L. and M. E. Pacanowsky (1983). Communication and Organizations. An Interpretive Approach, Sage, Newbury Park, CA.
Quinn, R. W. and M. C. Worline (2008). 'Enabling Courageous Collective Action: Conversations from United Airlines Flight 93', Organization Science, 19, p. 497.
Rouleau, L. (2013). 'Strategy-as-practice research at a crossroads', M@n@gement, 16, pp. 574-592. Schatzki, T. R., K. Knorr-Cetina and E. Von Savigny (2001). The practice turn in contemporary
theory, Routledge, New York.
Taylor, J. R. and F. Cooren (1997). 'What makes communication "organizational" ? : How the many voices of a collectivity become the one voice of an organization', Journal of Pragmatics, 27, pp. 409- 438.
Taylor, J. R. and E. J. Van Every (1993). The vulnerable fortress: Bureaucratic organization and management in the information age, University of Toronto Press.
Tsoukas, H. and R. Chia (2002). 'On Organizational Becoming: Rethinking Organizational Change', Organization Science, 13, pp. 567-582.
Vaara, E. and R. Whittington (2012). 'Strategy-as-practice: taking social practices seriously', Academy of Management Annals, 6, pp. 285-336.
Weick, K. E. and K. H. Roberts (1993). 'Collective mind in organizations: Heedful interrelating on flight decks', Administrative science quarterly, 38, pp. 357-381.
Whittington, R. (2011). 'The practice turn in organization research: Towards a disciplined transdisciplinarity', Accounting, Organizations and Society, 36, pp. 183-186.