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Explaining the process and effects of new routine introduction with a notion of micro-level entrepreneurship

Abstract

The aim of this study is to understand the process of new routine introduction and its effects on organizational structure and performance. To achieve this, it proposes a model of new routine introduction based on a notion of micro-level entrepreneurship. The model tracks the source of new routine antecedents, defined as factors motivating the conception and/or adoption of ideas for new routines, tying them to organizational structure and performance. Currently, the literature on routine micro foundations lacks this kind of integrative, holistic model to spur fruitful connections between nascent and dispersed contributions related to the origins of new routines. Applying a process approach in the context of a single case study, the research analyzes 23 instances of new routine introduction at an Australian consulting firm called Secure. The results reveal that ideas for new routines were heavily influenced by endogenous factors such as the personal preferences of enterprising managers and internal pressure. While market-related factors were omnipresent, endogenous factors were remarkably preponderant, influential, and oftentimes mixed with exogenous factors such that an either/or distinction in the origins of flexibility- and efficiency-oriented routines did not hold. The findings also shed light on a paradox related to new routine introduction in which the act of introducing new routines intended to improve performance actually undermines it by inciting conflict. Ultimately the model of new routine introduction bestows a central role on the enterprising manager, showing how they oscillate between managerial and micro-level entrepreneurial action in the pursuit of adaptation and growth. This study’s bringing back of the individual and his or her subjectivity into the routine introduction process is in line with recent calls for further research, as is its provision of an empirically detailed case-based analysis.

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Notes

  1. Secure and all personal names used in this paper are pseudonyms

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Funding

This study was funded with a grant from la Chaire transversale de recherche en entrepreneuriat et innovation de la Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de Paris (granted 24 November 2014).

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Correspondence to Eric Michael Laviolette.

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Appendices

Annex 1

Table 3 Verbatim text related to the identification and classification of new routines

Annex 2

Table 4 Verbatim text related to the identification and classification of antecedents

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Sheldon, R.C., Laviolette, E.M. & de Geuser, F. Explaining the process and effects of new routine introduction with a notion of micro-level entrepreneurship. J Evol Econ 30, 609–642 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00191-019-00655-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00191-019-00655-6

Keywords

  • Routine micro foundations
  • Origins of new routines
  • Innovation
  • Micro-level entrepreneurship

JEL codes

  • M13