Practices and dynamics of immobility

Jérôme Méric (CERMAT‐IAE de Tours, Université François Rabelais, Tours, France)

Society and Business Review

ISSN: 1746-5680

Publication date: 8 February 2008



As its academic definition refers to, induction can be seen as a process designed to prepare newcomers in a company to integrate at least the way of working and collaborating in their new environment. Thus, induction as a process is somewhat a vector for institutionalization. The purpose of this paper is to consider induction as a practice embedded in specific contexts of action. In so doing, it proposes that induction can also be turned into an institution for itself, and this lead to a kind of organizational immobility.


The paper introduces the case of a consulting company. Supposing that induction is firstly a practice, that is to say an aggregate of ostensive (explicit pattern of action), performative (what is actually done) elements and artefacts (tools and material productions), the dynamics of interactions between these elements are examined.


Organizational dynamics and change are often considered as synonymous. The paper asserts that, on the contrary, constant dynamics in practices may contribute to organizational immobility. This process can be depicted as “control through the institutionalizing of practice (in the meaning of ways of doing).”

Research limitations/implications

The paper delivers an interpretation of such counterintuitive results, showing the role of modes of action in the way dynamics in practice can engender motion or stability. This research is based on a single case study in a specific range of activities. Additional analyses in other businesses should help deepen the understanding of such dynamics.

Practical implications

Introducing the institutional dimension of practices, this paper offers the opportunity to broaden perspectives on control and responsibility. Change is not only a matter of process design or of culture, which are organizational variables. It should be dealt with in the institutional field.


It sounds original that an organization like a consulting company, supposed to be as highly adaptable as it suggests to be, finally shows to be embedded in such traditional patterns of action.



Méric, J. (2008), "Practices and dynamics of immobility", Society and Business Review, Vol. 3 No. 1, pp. 6-22.

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