Introduction: This paper explores the vulnerability of practice-like activities to
institutional domination. Methods: This paper oers an ethnographic case study of a UK-based
engineering company in the aftermath of its acquisition, focusing in particular
on its R&D unit. Results: The Lab struggled to maintain its practice-based work in an
institutional environment that emphasized the pursuit of external goods.
Discussion: We use this case to develop two arguments. Firstly, we illustrate
the concept of “practice-like” activities and explore their vulnerability to
institutional domination. Secondly, in light of the style of management on
display after the takeover, we oer further support to MacIntyre’s critique of
management. Finally, based on the empirical data we reflect on the importance
of organizational culture, as well as friendship and the achievement of a
common good in business organizations for these kinds of activities.