Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Published In

Process, Sensemaking, And Organizing


The shift in focus from entities to process in organizational theory is both theoretically challenging and rich in potential. In this chapter I first consider two major challenges to the traditional science of organizations, including a shift from research devoted to establishing empirically based covering laws to a science invested in generating futures through participatory practices. I then consider a theoretical orientation to process, one that illuminates the collaborative or co‐active constitution of what we take to be entities, and the ongoing process required to sustain a world of independent events or actions. Finally, with this emphasis on co‐active process in place, I take up the possibility of understanding organizational activity in terms of confluence theory. The latter emphasizes wholistic collations of co‐constituting “entities” that are in motion across time. Such an orientation to understanding invites the scholar to engage in future building activities that are sensitized to the protean potentials for organizational re‐constitution.


relational theory, confluence, process theory, co‐action

Published By

Oxford University Press


Edited By T. Hernes And S. Maitlis


This material was originally published in Process, Sensemaking, and Organizing edited by Tor Hernes and Sally Maitlis, and has been reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press. For permission to reuse this material, please visit

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