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 12: The Role of Teams and Communities in the Emergence of Organizational Routines

Patrick Cohendet and Patrick Llerena


Patrick Cohendet and Patrick Llerena Routines and in particular ‘organizational routines’ are at the core of an evolutionary approach to the firm. However, as Felin and Foss (2004) write, ‘While references abound to notions of organizational routines and capabilities, at present in evolutionary economics and strategy we have (1) no theory of their origin, (2) no agreed upon, clear definition, (3) no measurement and (4) no clear understanding of how exactly they relate to competitive advantage . . . the problem is to a considerable extent with the collectivist roots of routines and capabilities-based work, which sideline the individual, and scarcely allow for individual-level explanation’ (Felin and Foss, 2004, p. 23). Our contribution is to explore the context of emergence of routines, their evolutions and the consequence of an evolutionary approach to the firm. In their seminal contribution, Nelson and Winter (NW) (1982) underlined two main dimensions of routines. On the one side, there is a cognitive and coordination dimension when considering that routines encompass the organization’s knowledge basis and they constitute the organizational memory (‘organizations remember by doing’, NW, 1982, p. 99). Routines guarantee the regularity and predictability of individual behaviour necessary for collective action, to ‘guide or direct an unfolding action sequence that has been stored in some localized or distributed form’ (Cohen et al., 1996, p. 683). As Paoli and Prencipe (2003) underlined, ‘Routines embody the successful solutions to problems solved by the organization in the past. They are retrieved and executed whenever the organization faces a problem resembling...

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