Making routines the same: Crafting similarity and singularity in routines transfer

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Building on theoretical advances in Routine Dynamics, complemented by insights from Science and Technology Studies, we conduct an in-depth, longitudinal inquiry into how organizations are able to (re)create the ‘same’ routine not despite but within a pervasive background of difference and multiplicity. We draw on a three-year ethnographic study of the exact transfer of a high-end computer and production facility at a leading US technology organization to show how routines are enacted into being the same. In contrast with the literature, which sees replication as the one-directional implementation of an accessible and available origin template at destination, we theorize transfer as the simultaneous co-creation of routines across multiple sites. In so doing, we show how routines similarity and singularity are the (emergent, skilful, effortful and temporary) outcomes of repairing and distributing practices, and their sociomaterial assemblages, which coordinate multiple enactments of the routine within and across locations. These micro-level practices underpin routines emergence and persistence as well as acting as the basis for the emergence of dynamic capabilities.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104029
Pages (from-to)1-15
JournalResearch Policy
Issue number8
Early online date30 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


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