How to Conduct a Practice-based Study

How to Conduct a Practice-based Study

Problems and Methods

Silvia Gherardi

The practice-based approach to the study of work and organizing has been widely adopted in recent years, yet its theoretical and methodological systematization has only just begun. Silvia Gherardi expertly provides an overview on the topics and issues addressed by practice-based studies. By means of a series of examples drawn from the best-known analyses using this approach, the book provides methodological guidance on how to conduct empirical research on practices, and how to interpret them from three perspectives: practices ‘from outside’ practices ‘from inside’, and the social effects produced by practices.

Introduction

Silvia Gherardi

Subjects: business and management, organisation studies, research methods in business and management, research methods, research methods in business and management

Extract

This book springs from my experience during the past twelve years of teaching undergraduates and doctoral students at the University of Trento and other universities, and from the innumerable international doctoral seminars which I have organized in Trento, together with my colleagues of the Research Unit on Communication, Organizational Learning and Aesthetics. The purpose of the book is to present the methodology developed by scholars using the practice-based approach in organizational studies. Nevertheless, this is not a book on research methodology in the conventional sense. It is not intended to be a handbook of the ‘how to do it’ type, because I believe that it is not through a prescriptive and routinized methodology that one can learn how to conduct research. Instead, the book intends to solicit a methodological sensibility that the reader may possess and/or have developed from contact with research by others, gaining understanding of the types of questions that other authors have posed, how they have sought answers to those questions, what further questions remain and how to set up future search. The book’s aim is therefore to engage in dialogue with those who share common interests in the study of working practices and to construct an ideal community of intellectual inquiry.