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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 the Approach

Participants in the Dialogue will be introduced to fundamentals in practice and process studies and will have opportunity to consider the relevance of the approach to the expansion of management scholarship through studies in the African empirical setting. Attendees will have the opportunity to share their work with peers, interact with scholars who have used the method and learn from faculty including:

  • Davide Nicolini, Warwick Business School
  • Mira Slavova, Warwick Business School
  • Eivor Oborn, Warwick Business School
  • Rebecca Namatovu, Copenhagen Business School
  • Michael Barrett, Cambridge Judge Business School

Promoting Collaboration

The Dialogue will allow participants from the global North and the global South to introduce themselves and look for research partners and collaborators. In particular, participants will be encouraged to develop ideas for small grants proposals; to work towards AJoM Special Issue on practice-based studies and to consider the development of a network for practice-based studies in Africa.


The North-South Dialogue will take place immediately after AFAM 2024, on 11 Jan 2024 in Stellenbosch Business School. Participants at AFAM 2024 are encouraged to apply. The event is free to attend but requires interested parties to apply and register in advance.


Please apply using the link: 

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.