PDW 2017

Representing Process in Process Research

Friday, August 4, 2017
8am– 11pm

The Process Research Methods PDW targets researchers interested in studying how dynamic processes unfold over time, as individuals, groups, organizations and environments act and interact. This year’s PDW will focus on how scholars connect process-in-the-moment with wider processes. The core challenge to representing these processes is capturing inherently dynamic organizational phenomenon (Tsoukas & Chia, 2002) by zooming in and zooming out (Nicolini, 2009). Zooming in and out constitutes a promising way to study and theorize the connection between process-in-the-moment and wider processes because “[t]ypically, studies have either been strong at explaining processes as they change over time … or at drilling down into microinstances of process …, but less able to explain the association between the two” (Jarzabkowski et al. 2017). To create these associations it is necessary to abandon traditional ways of framing organizational phenomena in terms of Euclidean space (large vs. small) or levels or reality and switch instead to a view that conceives of social phenomena as emerging from connections in action.

Creating connections in actions is challenging for reasons that extend beyond the challenges associated with portraying persuasive insights from rich datasets (e.g., Pentland & Feldman, 2007). For example, representing connections between actions demands attention to the temporal ordering of data (Langley, 1999) but researchers also need to be aware that it is often necessary to disrupt order to generate novel insights. As well, while some process research insights are captured only by observing long periods of time, single moments of situated interaction can, in other cases, encapsulate and reveal more ubiquitous organizational processes. Finally, visual displays are frequently important elements of process research publications – and sometimes even to the collection of process data – but the drawing and redrawing of figures that effectively convey the ‘doings’ that connect process-in-the-moment with wider processes is difficult.

Part 1


Part 1 is open to all without pre-registration.

Will include presentations on connecting process-in-the-moment with wider processes by Davide Nicolini, Brian Pentland, Rebecca Bednarek, Daniel Geigner and Anja Danner-Schröder. Davide Nicolini and Brian Pentland will reflect on the presenter’s remarks and moderate a discussion between the panel and audience.

Part 2


Part 2 is open only to pre-registered participants.

Researchers will receive feedback on their own process research projects in small group round table discussions with the presenters and other facilitators. Potential participants will submit short papers about their process research projects; we encourage, but do not require, participants to share their challenges associated with representing process, in keeping with the theme of the first part of the PDW.

Registration Information

Part 1: No registration is required for Part 1 of this year’s PDW.

Part 2: Download and complete the 2017 Part 2 Workshop Form. Send the completed form to Holly Fena (ahvstaff@umn.edu) by July 2, 2017.


Website coordinators: Andrew H. Van de Ven, Harry Sminia, Jennifer Howard-Grenville