From nuts and bolts to toolkits: Theorizing with mechanisms

Klaus Weber*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


This essay examines a mechanisms-oriented approach to theory building in organization studies and identifies conditions under which such an approach is likely to be fruitful. Mechanisms-oriented theorizing is a promising path to reviving organization theory but has the potential pitfalls of overly reductionist models of organizations and the complete abandonment of grand theorizing. These undesirable side effects can be reduced when researchers act as playful pragmatists and treat mechanisms as toolkits for working on theoretical puzzles. The article describes some tactics for accomplishing this goal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-123
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Management Inquiry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2006


  • Cultural toolkits
  • Pragmatism
  • Social mechanisms
  • Theory building

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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