Contradictions, transitions, and materiality in organizing processes: An activity theory perspective

Kirsten Foot, Carole Groleau


This article develops the concept of multilevel contradictions in organizing processes, from the perspective of cultural-historical activity theory. In most activity theory-based scholarship, systemic contradictions are collapsed into a singular, generic construct, and the generative force of the different levels of contradictions in socio-organizational relations is overlooked. In contrast, we explicate when, how and why four distinct layers of contradiction precipitate one another, provoke distinct epistemic actions from different sets of organizational actors, and catalyze the development of organizing processes.


sociomateriality, contradictions, network, activity theory

Full Text:



A Great Cities Initiative of the University of Illinois at Chicago University Library.

© First Monday, 1995-2020. ISSN 1396-0466.