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Handbook of Organizational Learning and Knowledge Management, Second Edition by MARJORIE A. LYLES, MARK EASTERBY-SMITH

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Conclusions

The highly symbolic transition from the term ‘knowledge’ to that of ‘knowing’ has opened the way for a view of knowledge as first a process and, subsequently, as a practical activity. In this way, the community of organizational learning and knowing scholars has appropriated the concept of practice to develop a practice theory of organization.

In the foregoing brief description of the developments brought and promises offered by the ‘practice turn,’ I have shown how ‘practice’ is a polysemous term with a long pedigree in sociology which ideally continues the sociological contribution to the study of organizational learning. The polysemy of the term may be an obstacle, but it is also a source of interpretative richness.

The richness of the term is evidenced by the proliferation of labels intended to unify and synthesize the approach, which by so doing have set the bandwagon of studies on practice in motion. We may therefore assume the expression ‘practice-based studies’ (PBS) as an umbrella-term which covers a host of practice-based studies. Within these studies two orientations are apparent: one which considers practices to be the object of empirical analysis (the site of learning and knowing) and one which assumes practice as epistemology.

In privileging the second of these meanings, I have highlighted that it subtends a relational vision and an ecological model of inquiry within which practice is regarded as a phenomenon emerging from the entanglement of knowing and ...

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