Online from: 1988
Subject Area: Organization Studies
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|Title:||A theory of organizing informed by activity theory: The |
|Author(s):||Frans Prenkert, (Norwegian School of Management, Oslo, Norway)|
|Citation:||Frans Prenkert, (2006) "A theory of organizing informed by activity theory: The |
|Keywords:||Activity based management, Organizational change|
|Article type:||Research paper|
|DOI:||10.1108/09534810610676671 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
Purpose – The aim of this paper is to provide a solid theoretical base to the study of paradox in organized activity. It draws upon activity theory to show the managerial and analytical potential of the activity systems model (ASM) as a systematic tool to analyze paradox in organizational practice.
Design/methodology/approach – The methodology employed in the study can be described as a longitudinal multiple case study approach. The focal organization was followed over a period of three years. About 25 interviews and 50 participatory observations were made. Text documents were analysed using an analytical tool developed from theory – the “Analysis Readiness Review (ARR)” – to structure and categorize data.
Findings – This study shows that the
Research limitations/implications – This research is limited in that it models only two principal types of contradictions in activity systems, both of which are inner contradictions intrinsic to the activity system in question. The case study is merely indicative and more empirical research is needed to further extend our knowledge of paradox in various types of organized activity.
Originality/value – Managers can utilize the ARR-tool as a systematic checklist to identify the elements of the organizational practice and to locate paradoxes. In doing so, they can actively take part in shaping the dialectical processes of change that the paradoxes create, by paying attention to the contradictions present in the activity system. This is the challenge to management that paradoxical organizational practice poses, and this paper provides one tool to help managers and researchers to better face this challenge.
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