Academic journal article International Review of Management and Business Research

Organizational Routines Impact on Interfirm Collaboration. Rationale and Research Framework

Academic journal article International Review of Management and Business Research

Organizational Routines Impact on Interfirm Collaboration. Rationale and Research Framework

Article excerpt


The ascertainment that organizations are made up of individuals is quite elementary. It is also ele mentary that there is not any organization without routines. A central argument in an evolutionary vein is that routines are the fundamental units of analysis, and that the organization should be conceptualized as the repository of routines (Nelson and Winter, 1982). The concept of organizational routines has showed promising results for providing a deeper understanding of organizational change (e.g. Becker et al., 2005).

However, few attempts have been made to address the issue of routines from an inter-organisational or network perspective (e.g. Johanson and Kask, 2013; Mathews, 2001; Agostini and Nosella, 2015; Cantwell, Dunning and Lundan, 2009; Dyer and Hatch, 2006).

This paper extends the discussion concerning the factors that influence the formation of collaborative relationships between organizations as organizational existence may increasingly depend on a success in managing network relationships. Specifically, this paper analyses how pre - entry routines, i.e. organizational ones, influence a firm's propensity to enter inter-organizational collaborative relationships. The general question this paper addresses is how organizational routines and inter-organizational relationships interfere. Hence, the aim is to present a theoretical and methodological proposition, exploiting an evolutionary perspective and network approach, aiming to examine inter-dependencies between organizational routines and inter-organizational relationships.

Collaboration among business organizations requires fundamental strategic reconstruction, intensely affecting the capabilities, routines and practices that drive everyday business (Czikonta and Ronkainen, 2008; Doz, Santos and Williamson, 2003). As Martin and Eisenhardt (2010) state, we still do not know very much about the processes and the challenges involved in establishing collaboration. Collaboration is challenged by existing routines. Nevertheless, the importance and influence of aligning internal organizational routines to effective network ties is still in scarcity (Ben-Menahem et al., 2013).Yet, strategic literature has devoted relatively limited attention to the organizational routines enabling firms to collaborate so as to achieve a fit over time and finally to survive in the overcrowded industry settings. The importance of aligning internal routines and inter-organizational relationships seems to be recognized. In this paper, we contribute to fill this research gap by exploring the routine approach. It allows investigating how firm's routines are associated with the propensity to operate in inter-organizational context.

Linking Organizational Routines to Network Context

The notion of routines as an influential metaphor and fundamental issue for explaining organizational evolution of organisations has been widely accepted in evolutionary economics (e.g. Dosi, Marengo and Fagiolo, 1999) as well as in the management literature (e.g. Foss, 1999). The evolutionary approach would be useful in explaining how the firm's routines may affect its propensity to inter -organizational relationships and hereby to survive and prosper in the network settings. Given that the propensity to inter-organizational collaboration is endogenous to the routines organization possesses, it follows that the success or failure of relationship is likely to have much to do with the firm's routines.

Consequently, firm's internal routines may, to some extent, be contingent on the inter-organizational routines, which constitute the network "context' (Dyer and Hatch, 2006). There are arguments for studying routines in the network context, i.e., Salvato and Rerup (2010) state it is worth examining 'how inter-organizational relationships may influence (...) routines'. Moreover, network theory provides a rich apparatus of concepts and methods to address that issue (Pentland, 1999). …

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