Chapter 6: The Inheritance of Organizational Routines and the Emergence of a Firm Genealogy in the Fashion Design Industry
6. The inheritance of organizational routines and the emergence of a ﬁrm genealogy in the fashion design industry Rik Wenting INTRODUCTION 1. Evolutionary economics starts from the proposition that heterogeneity in ﬁrm behaviour can be explained by organizational routines and their rather rigid nature to resist change unless changing conditions require it (Nelson and Winter, 1982; Hodgson and Knudsen, 2004). Routines are repetitive and collective in nature, and are to ﬁrms what habitual skills are to individuals. Organizational routines can be deﬁned as recurrent activity patterns which are collective in nature and speciﬁc to the ﬁrm (Becker, 2004). Individual employees act in unison to perform routinized tasks that constitute the organization’s competitive edge. It is in this way that routines act as objects of selection in evolutionary models of industry dynamics (Klepper, 2002). Routines cannot be captured by codiﬁcation alone and, similar to individual skills, consist of tacit and experience knowledge components (learning-by-doing). These aspects of routines render them diﬃcult to imitate by other ﬁrms (Teece et al., 1997). However, routine replication does take place between ﬁrms. In light of incentives to imitate ‘best practices’ in the industry, the rigidity and ambiguity of routines stem the replication and diﬀusion of routines. Within the organizational boundary, routines are more freely exchanged, as employees engage in day-to-day practice. Despite the proposition that routines are speciﬁc to the ﬁrm, the evolutionary literature does oﬀer mechanisms that allow for the transfer of (parts of) organizational routines between...
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