One of the key concepts of the neo-institutional studies of organizations has been routine-an established, rule-governed pattern of action. The concept of routine creates difficulties when used for making sense of the emergence of new practices or change in organizations and institutions. There are two reasons for this. First, routine was introduced originally to account for the continuity of organizational life. Second, it is based on theories of action and behaviour that focus exclusively on the pre-reflective and embodied aspects of human practice. This paper seeks an alternative approach by using the concepts of epistemic object and artefact mediation of human activity. It argues that representational artefacts, such as concepts and models, are instrumental in inducing change in human practices. Using the work of occupational health and safety inspectors as an example, it is shown how a practice or set of routines is made into an object of enquiry in order to generate a working hypothesis for an alternative practice. The hypothesis is further objectified by designing a set of informational tools and procedures that carry on the new practice.
Fields of Science
- 516 Educational sciences