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Designing the microstructure of routines

Tom Steinberger () and Ju Yeon Jung ()
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Tom Steinberger: University of California Irvine
Ju Yeon Jung: University of Michigan

Journal of Organization Design, 2019, vol. 8, issue 1, 1-18

Abstract: Abstract Coordinating organizational routines is a strategic challenge in contexts ranging from healthcare to software development. Yet, we have few theories of the design of routines. This paper compares field data on routines at two Korean restaurants to theorize their design. We identified a core coordination challenge as the need for concurrency—the simultaneous coordination of diverse activities of indeterminate order. The restaurants enabled concurrency using distinct solutions for providing information to agents about their routine activities. We normatively frame these solutions as firm-level strategies for coordinating routines based on uniformity (providing information about fixed sequences of activities) or compatibility (providing information about particular performances of activities). While prior work assumes strategies for coordinating routines depend on extensive codification, our framework shows how extensive codification is specific to a uniformity strategy. We argue that the compatibility strategy characterizes how firms increasingly coordinate routines amid blurring firm boundaries and discuss implications for landscape design.

Keywords: Organizational design; Microstructure of organizing; Organizational routines; Concurrency (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1186/s41469-019-0058-5

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