- List of Contributors
- Introduction: The Need for Meta-theoretical Reflection in Organization Theory
- Organization Theory as a Positive Science
- Organization Theory as an Interpretive Science
- Organization Theory as a Critical Science? Forms of Analysis and ‘New Organizational Forms’
- Organization Theory as a Postmodern Science
- The Origins of Organization Theory
- The Historical and Epistemological Foundations of Organization Theory: Fusing Sociological Theory with Engineering Discourse
- Feminist Theory and Organization Theory: A Dialogue on New Bases
- The Styles and the Stylists of Organization Theory
- Pluralism, Scientific Progress, and the Structure of Organization Theory
- The Agency/Structure Dilemma in Organization Theory: Open Doors and Brick Walls
- Modes of Explanation in Organization Theory
- Micro and Macro Perspectives in Organization Theory: A Tale of Incommensurability
- Economic versus Sociological Approaches to Organization Theory
- Meta-theoretical Controversies in Studying Organizational Culture
- Actionable Knowledge
- Theory and Practice in the Real World
- Organization Theory and Ethics: Varieties and Dynamics of Constrained Optimization
- Character and Virtue in an Era of Turbulent Capitalism
- The Future of Organization Theory: Prospects and Limitations
- Managing Organization Futures in a Changing World of Power/Knowledge
- The Future of Organization Studies: Beyond the Selection–Adaptation Debate
- At Home from Mars to Somalia: Recounting Organization Studies
- New Times, Fresh Challenges: Reflections on the Past and the Future of Organization Theory
Abstract and Keywords
Theory and practice are qualitatively different. This article first examines the terminology used in discussions of theory-practice and discovers that the word ‘understanding’ is a major source of trouble. It then reviews eight different ways in which people have tried to reconcile theory and practice. It is then argued that theory and practice can be partly reconciled if living forward is differentiated into ready-to-hand living and unready-to-hand living, a distinction first proposed by Heidegger. If theorists and practitioners alike focus on the interruptions of unready-to-hand, then the theorist is forced to sense more of the world as it is experienced by the practitioner and the practitioner is forced to detach from the flow of events, objectify portions of what normally is a flow, and adopt a mindset toward barriers similar to that of the theorist. Finally, this article concludes with an example of unready-to-hand theorizing.
Karl E. Weick is the Rensis Likert Distinguished University Professor of Organizational Behavior and Psychology at the University of Michigan. He joined the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan in 1988 after previous faculty positions at the University of Texas, Cornell University, the University of Minnesota, and Purdue University. He received his PhD from Ohio State University in social and organizational psychology. He is a former editor of the journal, Administrative Science Quarterly (1977–85). Weick's books include The Social Psychology of Organizing and Sensemaking in Organizations (Sage, 1995). Karl Weick's research interests include collective sensemaking under pressure, handoffs and transitions in dynamic events, organizing for resilient performance, and continuous change.
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