Innovating trough experiments: The epistemic nature of experimenting in practice

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperScientificpeer-review


Experimenting is considered a vital way for organizations to innovate their products or services as well as the way they operate. Previous research expects successful experimenting to save costs, reduce risks, and speed up innovation processes. However, while experiments are on everyone’s lips, we have a limited understanding of what it actually means for organizations to innovate through experiments. In this paper, we aim to open up the black box of experimenting by exploring the unexpectedness and consequentiality of experimenting practices. To do so, we draw on the work by Rheinberger (1997) and his concept of experimental systems to study organizational experimenting in action. With our analysis of a particular experiment, the introduction of robotic process automation at tax administration, we show that the experimental nature of the process changed in and through time. Furthermore, the experimental practices and the technology changed form during what we call epistemizing and de-epistemizing moments.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeNot Eligible
EventAcademy of Management Annual Meeting: Understanding the Inclusive Organization - Boston, United States
Duration: 9 Aug 201913 Aug 2019
Conference number: 79


ConferenceAcademy of Management Annual Meeting
Abbreviated titleAOM
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Experiment
  • Experimentation
  • innovation management
  • experimental systems
  • innovation
  • Practice theory
  • Ethnography


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