Becoming upbeat: Learning the affecto-rhythmic order of organizational practices

Saija Katila, Ari Kuismin, Anu Valtonen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


How is it that some organizational practices flow like clockwork and may even energize us but others seem to be stuck in the mud and diminish our capacity to act? In order to understand this, we develop a concept of affecto-rhythmic order that captures how rhythms and affects interrelate in the flow of organizational practices. Adopting a sociomaterial practice perspective, our ethnographic study of a Nordic startup accelerator demonstrates how participants learn and embody a contextual affecto-rhythmic upbeat order and how this enhances their individual and collective capacity to engage with the fast-paced development of business ideas and sales pitching skills relevant in the accelerator setting. As a contribution, the study theorizes and empirically illustrates the entangled nature of rhythms and affects in organizational practices, provides novel insights into inter-corporeal learning and the regulative nature of practices, and shows how affective ethnography can help scholars examine affect and write about it in organizational research.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0018726719867753
Pages (from-to)1308-1330
Number of pages23
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number9
Early online date16 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • affect
  • affective ethnography
  • embodied knowing
  • practice-based learning
  • rhythm
  • rhythmanalysis


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