Performing theories, transforming organizations

D'Adderio, Luciana and Glaser, Vern and Pollock, Neil (2018) Performing theories, transforming organizations. Academy of Management Review. pp. 1-9. ISSN 0363-7425 (In Press)

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Marti and Gond (2018) have recently attempted to extend our understanding of how theories shape social reality by developing a process model of performativity and by articulating the boundary conditions that delimit that process. While we laud Marti and Gond's attempt to develop an analytical template to study the effectiveness and influence of theories, and fully share their overarching sentiment about the substantial potential for this kind of theorizing effort, we believe there are two fundamental flaws in their framework. First, Marti and Gond conceptualize a theory as an objectified, standalone entity. Second, they characterize the effects of a theory in terms of a linear, sequential process. In contrast to this view, we conceptualize a theory as inherently relational (i.e., they must be considered in conjunction with actors, artifacts, practices, and other theories) and characterize the effects of a theory in terms of dynamic, non-linear processes. We believe that conceptualizing theories relationally and characterizing the effects of theories dynamically enhances the generative potential of performativity for management research.