From translation to enactment: contributions of the Actor-Network Theory to the processual approach to organizations

Abstract In the area of Administration, especially in the Organizational Studies (OS), the Actor-Network Theory (ANT) has been regarded as part of a movement that aims to leave the functional emphasis of organization and pursue the study of process and practices of organizing - the processual approach to organizations. However, criticism to the ANT has led some authors to seek to overcome them through analytical twists concerning certain concepts. One of these "twists" involved the concept of translation and the inclusion of the concept of enactment . This article discusses both notions with the aid of two studies developed having these concepts as a basis, in order to indicate that the choice of enactment brings along a processual view different from that observed in translation. The concept of translation addresses the predominant and it emphasizes understanding how networks of relationships and objects become "stable"; in turn, enact works with multiplicity and fluidity, where the process takes precedence over things. Although the proposed term enactment does not seek to directly face all criticism, it contributes so that ANT does not take a neutral or mechanical view in its analyses and descriptions. Enactment has the view of organization as a result and product of continuous process and it allows understanding that this is not just working or not (success or failure), but it concerns the "production" of multiple realities when we conduct research in Administration having the processual approach to organizations as a basis.