Intentions, Intermediaries, and Interaction: Examining the Emergence of Routines

22 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2012

See all articles by Hari Bapuji

Hari Bapuji

University of Manitoba - Department of Business Administration

Manpreet Hora

Georgia Institute of Technology; Georgia Institute of Technology - Scheller College of Business

Akbar M. Saeed

Wilfrid Laurier University

Date Written: December 2012

Abstract

A thorough understanding of how routines emerge is necessary to derive the performance benefits they yield for organizations. In this paper, we suggest that a routine emerges from interactions between actors, interactions that are enabled by the exchange of intermediaries. Specifically, intermediaries transmit the intentions of one actor to another and thus potentially align the actions and responses of those actors. If, however, the intermediaries that are exchanged do not clearly transmit the intentions of one actor to another, then a weak routine emerges. Conversely, if intermediaries clearly transmit the intentions, a strong routine emerges in which a given action more often meets with the expected response across iterations. We substantiate our arguments with a field experiment on the towel‐changing routine in a hotel where we manipulated the procedure to exchange towels, which resulted in the emergence of a stronger routine. Our study offers several implications for theoretical and empirical research on routines, including to the burgeoning research on micro‐foundations.

Keywords: actor‐network theory, emergence, intermediaries, micro‐foundations, routines

Suggested Citation

Bapuji, Hari and Hora, Manpreet and Saeed, Akbar M., Intentions, Intermediaries, and Interaction: Examining the Emergence of Routines (December 2012). Journal of Management Studies, Vol. 49, Issue 8, pp. 1586-1607, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2177112 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6486.2012.01063.x

Hari Bapuji (Contact Author)

University of Manitoba - Department of Business Administration ( email )

Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 5V4
Canada

Manpreet Hora

Georgia Institute of Technology ( email )

800 West Peachtree St.
Atlanta, GA 30308
United States

Georgia Institute of Technology - Scheller College of Business ( email )

800 West Peachtree St.
Atlanta, GA 30308
United States

Akbar M. Saeed

Wilfrid Laurier University

75 University Ave W
waterloo, ontario N2L 3C5
Canada

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