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North-South Dialogue on Practice-Based Approaches to Management Studies in Africa


Thursday 11 January 2024, Stellenbosch Business School

The practice turn in contemporary organizations theory (Cetina et al., 2000) has challenged traditional approaches and offered ways for understanding “deeply embedded processes of acting and doing, shedding light on the everyday actions and activities performed by various actors” (Geiger, 2009: 187) within the organizations. Scholars have drawn on practice-based methods and on the liveliness or practice encountered in African organizations in order to expand academic knowledge within the management discipline. A range of recent practice-based contributions developed within the African empirical settings have generated insights into notions of time (Kim et al., 2019), temporal brokerage (Reinecke & Ansari, 2015), symbolic actions during knowledge transfer (Slavova & Metiu, 2022) and African innovation trajectories (Oborn et al., 2019). Thus, the use of practice-based methods shows a lot of promise in the African context.

The “North-South Dialogue on Practice-Based Approaches to Management Studies in Africa” aims to: (1) introduce practice and process approaches to African scholars and to showcase how African themes can be explored through practice and process methods; and (2) to foster North-South empirical collaborations for practice-based studies.

Introducing Practice-Based Approaches

The Dialogue is a participative opportunity to learn from leading practice and process scholars, and from academics studying African phenomena through the practice lens. Participants will be introduced to the fundamentals of practice-based methods, including ontological commitment to relationality and reliance on ‘thick’ ethnographic data. We will consider the relevance of practice-based approaches to the African empirical setting. Specifically, we will outline the role of temporality and its potential for coping with the impact of colonial histories in African organizational settings. We will explore the entanglement of the material and the social within African practice phenomena. Suggested speakers:

  • Michael Barrett, Cambridge Judge Business School
  • Laurent Béduneau-Wang, Africa Business School

  • Nobulali Dangazele, Gordon Institute of Business Science
  • Stephanie Ewuzie, Warwick Business School
  • Ralph Hamann, UCT Graduate School of Business
  • Rebecca Namatovu, Copenhagen Business School
  • Eivor Oborn, Warwick Business School
  • Kosheek Sewchurran, UCT Graduate School of Business
  • Mira Slavova, Warwick Business School
  • April Wright, Warwick Business School

Promoting Collaboration

Attendees will have the opportunity to share their work with peers and interact with scholars who have used practice-based methods. The Dialogue will allow participants to introduce their research interests and to look for research partners and collaborators. In particular, participants will be encouraged to consider the following opportunities for taking their practice-based ideas forward:

  • Five small grants of £2000 for seeding collaborations with Warwick faculty
  • AJoM Special Issue on practice-based studies
  • JME Special Issue on teaching practices in Africa
  • Network for practice-based scholarship in Africa

Key Benefits:

(1) Opportunity to learn from and interact with leading practice-based scholars; (2) Opportunity to source future collaborations and shape the emerging community of practice-based scholarship in Africa; (3) The event aligns with travel to the AFAM 2024 conference and AFAM 2024 attendees are encouraged to apply. The North-South Dialogue session will take place immediately after AFAM 2024, on 11 Jan 2024 in Stellenbosch Business School.

Do I Need to Be a Practice-Based Researcher to Participate?

No! The North-South Dialogue is open to all researchers who are interested in the method and wish to strengthen their skills.

How Much Does It Cost?

The event is free to attend but requires interested parties to apply and register in advance.

If you have any questions about the consortium, please contact Mira Slavova ( ).

Who Should Attend?

Anyone interested in using practice-based method in African settings can participate, especially: (1) Academics with practice-based expertise seeking to deepen their exposure to African phenomena and to build research networks in Africa; and (2) Doctoral students, early career researchers and senior faculty seeking familiarity with practice-based studies, collaboration opportunities and professional development.

How to Apply?

Applications are now closed

Make sure to include in your application a statement about your research and your reasons for attending the North-South Dialogue on Practice-Based Approaches to Management Studies in Africa.


08.30- 9.00 Registration

09.00- 10.20 Introducing practice theory

10.30- 11.50 Introducing process studies

11.50- 13.00 Lunch

13.00- 13.50 What does practice and process research from Africa look like? Highlighting some existing studies and themes.

14.00- 15.30 Workshop: Participants will share their work and look for ways to take forward practice-based studies in the African empirical context.

15.30- 16.00 Coffee Break

16.00- 16.30 Closing of the Day: What are your pledges?


Cetina, K. K., Schatzki, T. R., & Savigny, E. von (Eds.). (2000). The Practice Turn in Contemporary Theory. Routledge.

Constantinides, P., & Slavova, M. (2020). From a monopoly to an entrepreneurial field: The constitution of possibilities in South African energy. Journal of Business Venturing, 35(6), 106061.

Geiger, D. (2009). The Practice-Turn in Organization Studies: Some Conceptual and Methodological Clarifications. In A. G. Scherer, I. M. Kaufmann, & M. Patzer (Eds.), Methoden in der Betriebswirtschaftslehre (pp. 187–205). Gabler.

Kim, A., Bansal, P., & Haugh, H. (2019). No Time Like the Present: How a Present Time Perspective Can Foster Sustainable Development. Academy of Management Journal, 62(2), 607–634.

Langley, A., Smallman, C., Tsoukas, H., & Van de Ven, A. H. (2013). Process Studies of Change in Organization and Management: Unveiling Temporality, Activity, and Flow. Academy of Management Journal, 56(1), 1–13.

Langley, A., & Tsoukas, H. (2016). The SAGE handbook of process organization studies. Sage.

Nicolini, D., & Gherardi, S. (Eds.). (2003). Knowing in organizations: A Practice-Based Approach. Routledge.

Oborn, E., Barrett, M., Orlikowski, W., & Kim, A. (2019). Trajectory Dynamics in Innovation: Developing and Transforming a Mobile Money Service Across Time and Place. Organization Science, 30(5), 1097–1123.

Reinecke, J., & Ansari, S. (2015). When Times Collide: Temporal Brokerage at the Intersection of Markets and Developments. Academy of Management Journal, 58(2), 618–648.

Slavova, M., & Karanasios, S. (2018). When Institutional Logics Meet Information and Communication Technologies: Examining Hybrid Information Practices in Ghana’s Agriculture. Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 19, 775–812.

Slavova, M., & Metiu, A. (2022). Relational Work and the Knowledge Transfer Process: Rituals in Rural Ghana. Organization Science, 33(1), 332–352.