Heuristics-in-Use: Toward a Practice Theory of Organizational Heuristics

Matthias Wenzel*, Iben Sandal Stjerne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Although prior research has repeatedly emphasized that organizational heuristics unfold their proclaimed “superior” outcomes only through the very use of these rules-of-thumb, we know little about how actors actually use organizational heuristics “in practice”. In this paper, we develop a practice-based understanding of organizational heuristics, one that helps to unpack the “doing” of using organizational heuristics. By drawing on practice theory, we offer a reconceptualization of organizational heuristics that does justice to the enactment of these rules-of-thumb in response to the situation at hand, which can be consequential for both “superior” and “inferior” accomplishments. Our paper extends the literature on organizational heuristics by conceptualizing this concept as “heuristics-in-use”, and by offering insights into the contributions of enacting rules-of-thumb to organizational outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number120517
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Heuristics-in-Use
  • Organizational heuristics
  • Practical knowledge
  • Practice theory

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