Handbook of Organizational Routines
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Handbook of Organizational Routines

Edited by Markus C. Becker

This cutting-edge, multidisciplinary Handbook comprises specially commissioned contributions surveying state-of-the-art research on the concept of organizational routines. An authoritative overview of the concept of organizational routines and its contributions to our understanding of organizations is presented. To identify those contributions, the role of organizational routines in such processes as organizational learning, performance feedback, and organizational memory is discussed. To identify how the concept can contribute to different disciplinary fields, the expert authors review applications across a range of fields including political science, sociology, and accounting.
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Chapter 9: Organizational Routines and Performance Feedback

Henrich R. Greve


Henrich R. Greve Introduction Organizational routines and similar concepts have been prominent in organizational theory since March and Simon (1958) discussed performance programmes. The focus on routines increased after work defining organizational routines as ‘regular and predictable behavioral patterns of firms’ and showing their importance for organizational evolution (Nelson and Winter, 1982: 14). Later work has expanded this definition to clarify that routines are constructs at the group level of analysis rather than the individual one (Dosi et al., 2004). A focus on routines in organizational behaviour implies attention to behavioural stability in organizations rather than to change, yet it also implies an interest in how routines are changed. If organizations are taken to be primarily bundles of routines, and organizational distinctiveness mainly comes from differences in their routine bundles, then a central question in organizational theory and strategy is how routines are changed. What each organization does is a function of all past routine changes, and how long it persists in doing it is determined by the processes that generate change in routines. Change of routines is a central research question in the theory of organizational routines, and is also a question that links theory of organizational routines to theory of organizational learning. Because change of routines encodes interpretations of organizational experience into future behaviours, it is an important component of organizational learning processes (Levitt and March, 1988). Since its inception, learning theory has been used to explain how organizational change occurs, and it contains speci...

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