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Chapter 14: Conducting Experimental Research on Organizational Routines
14 Conducting experimental research on organizational routines 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,...
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