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Embodied “inter-practice” in organizations – the contribution of Merleau-Ponty to carnal organizational practices and studies

Wendelin Küpers (ICN Business School Nancy, Paris, France)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Article publication date: 22 July 2020

Issue publication date: 7 December 2020



The purpose of this article is to develop a critical and extended understanding of practices in organizations from a phenomenological point of view. It explores the relevance of Merleau-Ponty's advanced phenomenology and ontology for understanding the role of the lived body and the embodiment of practices and change in organizational lifeworlds.


Based on the literature review and phenomenology, the role of embodied and relational dimension, the concept of an emergent and responsive “inter-practice” in organizations is developed systematically.


Based on the phenomenological and relational approach, the concept of (inter-)practice allows an extended more integral and processual understanding of the role of bodily and embodied practices in organizational lifeworlds as emerging events. The concept of inter-practice(ing) contributes to conceiving of new ways of approaching how responsive and improvisational practicing, related to change, coevolves within a multidimensional nexus of organizations.

Research limitations/implications

Specific theoretical and methodological implications for exploring and enacting relational practices as well as limitations are offered.

Practical implications

Some specific practical implications are provided that facilitate and enable embodied practices in organizational contexts.

Social implications

The responsive inter-practice is seen as embedded in sociality and social interactions and links to sociocultural and political as well as ethical dimensions are discussed.


By extending the existing discourse and using an embodied approach, the paper proposes a novel orientation for reinterpreting practice that allows explorations of the emergence and realization of alternative, ingenious and more suitable forms of practicing and change in organizations.



Küpers, W. (2020), "Embodied “inter-practice” in organizations – the contribution of Merleau-Ponty to carnal organizational practices and studies", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 33 No. 7, pp. 1449-1469.



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