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 14: Conducting Experimental Research on Organizational Routines

Alessandro Narduzzo and Massimo Warglien


Alessandro Narduzzo and Massimo Warglien 1 Introduction Despite the rapid popularity gained by the concept of routines after the publication of Nelson and Winter’s (1982) book, experimental research directly inspired by their framework is still rather limited, the most important exception being the research project initiated by Michael Cohen and Paul Bacdayan (1994) at the University of Michigan in the early 1990s and further developed in subsequent years by researchers gravitating around the Trento Experimental Lab. Still, there is a very large body of research in experimental psychology that provides building blocks for in-depth examination of key features of routinization both at the individual and the group level. Furthermore, recent developments in behavioural game theory and experimental economics, mostly related to the problem of learning in games, promise new opportunities of interaction between students of routines and behavioural, experimentally-oriented game theorists. This chapter attempts a broad recognition of the experimental work more directly related to the concepts of routine and routinization, and explores some opportunities of dialogue with the recent work in experimental economics and behavioural game theory. The chapter starts by reviewing the roots of the routine concept in the tradition of experimental psychology, a prominent role being played by Luchins’ ‘Einstellung effect’, although some important themes can be traced back to the work of Thorndike in the early 20th century. We reconstruct how implicit learning has been experimentally analysed, present a first discussion of individual v. group level of analysis, and we shortly reconsider the behavioural v....

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