Contextual embeddedness of replication of organizational routines: an analysis from the perspective of organizational ambidexterity

CHEN Yanliang1 GAO Chuang2

(1.International Business School, Shandong Technology and Business University, Yantai, Shandong, China 264005)
(2.College of Business Administration, Capital University of Economics and Business, Beijing, China 100070)

【Abstract】Replication of organizational routines, as a value creating strategy, is receiving extensive attention from the academia. The interaction and gaming between contexts and routines, which result in failed or ineffective replication, have become a critical subject relating to replication dilemma both in theory and practice. Traditional studies focused on external contexts and maintained analysis on replication of routines at the macro level. In this study, replication of organizational routines was considered as an endogenous political process. The working mechanism of individual entities and management discretion as endogenous contextual factors were emphasized, based on which, we tried to reveal the mechanism of contextual embeddedness during replication of routines at the micro level. Firstly, we reviewed the mechanism whereby replication of organizational routines relies on contexts. We then pointed out internal contextual embeddedness is the key to replication of organizational routines. Following that, we introduced a completely new unit of analysis, namely, characteristics of business units, to demonstrate and illustrate the magic power of organizational contexts during replication. Furthermore, we used rational calculation or emotional coupling and whether the top management team intervenes or let it be as two dimensions to describe business units’ characteristics and contextual differences during replication of routines. Two forms of replication of routines were differentiated and described in this study, namely, precise complete replication and adaptable drift of replication. They require different matching between exploitation and exploration capabilities in different contexts. Based on four paths to developing organizational ambidexterity, we created a model consisting of two dimensions and four quadrants to depict replication of organizational routines to achieve the adaptive matching between structural ambidexterity, contextual ambidexterity, leadership ambidexterity and integrated ambidexterity and organizational contexts (characteristics of business units), respectively.

【Keywords】 replication of routine; contextual embeddedness; business unit ; ambidexterity;

【DOI】

【Funds】 The National Social Science Fund of China (15CGL027) The National Social Science Fund of China (18VSJ084)

Download this article

(Translated by ZHANG Wei)

    References

    [1] Winter, S. G., and G. Szulanski. Replication as Strategy. Organization Science, 2001, 12, (6): 730–743.

    [2] Zollo, M., and S. G. Winter. Deliberate Learning And The Evolution of Dynamic Capabilities. Organization Science, 2002, 13, (3): 339–351.

    [3] Pentland B T, and Feldman, M S. Organizational Routines as a Unit of Analysis. Industrial & Corporate Change, 2005, 14, (5): 793–815.

    [4] Rerup, C., and M. S. Feldman. Routines as a Source of Change in Organizational Schemata: The Role of Trial-and-Error Learning. Academy of Management Journal, 2011, 54, (3): 577–610.

    [5] Winter, S. G., G. Szulanski. and D. Ringov. Reproducing Knowledge: Inaccurate Replication and Failure in Franchise Organizations. Organization Science, 2012, 23, (3): 672–685.

    [6] Jonsson, A., and N. J. Foss. International Expansion Through Flexible Replication: Learning From The Internationalization Experience of IKEA. Journal of International Business Studies, 2011, 42, (9): 1079–1102.

    [7] Arnett, D. B, I. L. Sandvik, and K. Sandvik. Two Paths to Organizational Effectiveness-Product Advantage and Life-cycle Flexibility. Journal of Business Research, 2018, (84): 285–292.

    [8] Safavi, M., and O. Omidvar. Resist or Comply: The Power Dynamics of Organizational Routines during Mergers. British Journal of Management, 2016, 27, (3): 550–566.

    [9] Friesl, M., and J. Larty. Replication of Routines in Organizations: Existing Literature and New Perspectives. International Journal of Management Reviews, 2013, 15, (1): 106–122.

    [10] Chliova, M., and D. Ringov. Scaling Impact: Template Development and Replication at the Base of the Pyramid. Academy of Management Perspectives, 2017, 31, (1): 44–62.

    [11] Davies, A., L. Frederiksen, E. Cacciatori and, A. Hartmann. The Long and Winding Road: Routine Creation and Replication in Multi-site Organizations. Research Policy, 2018, 47, (8): 1403–1417.

    [12] Chen, Y. & Gao, C. China Industrial Economics (中国工业经济), (10): 147–159 (2014).

    [13] Chliova, M., and D. Ringov. Scaling Impact: Template Development and Replication at the Base of the Pyramid. Academy of Management Perspectives, 2017, 31, (1): 44–62.

    [14] Hayek, F. A. The Use of Knowledge in Society. The American Economic Review, 1945, 35, (4): 519–530.

    [15] Tushman, M. L., Anderson P. Technological Discontinuities and Organizational Environments. Administrative Science Quarterly, 1986, 31, (3): 439–465.

    [16] D’Aveni, R. A., G. B. Dagnino., and K. G. Smith. The Age of Temporary Advantage. Strategic Management Journal, 2010, 31, (13): 1371–1385.

    [17] Ye, Y. & Lu, Y. Business Management Journal (经济管理), (7): 167–176 (2016).

    [18] Feldman, M. S., and B. T. Pentland. Reconceptualizing Organizational Routines as A Source of Flexibility And Change. Administrative Science Quarterly, 2003, 48, (1): 94–118.

    [19] D’Adderio, L. The Performativity of Routines: Theorising the Influence of Artefacts and Distributed Agencies on Routines Dynamics. General Information, 2008, 37, (5): 769–789.

    [20] Li, B., Wang, F. & Qin, Y. Journal of Management World (管理世界), (8): 136–153 (2013).

    [21] Grodal S, A. J. Nelson, and R. Siino. Help-Seeking and Help-Giving as an Organizational Routine: Continual Engagement in Innovative Work. Academy of Management Journal, 2014, 58, (1): 136–168.

    [22] Salvato. C, and C. Rerup. Routine Regulation: Balancing Conflicting Goals in Organizational Routines. Administrative Science Quarterly, 2018, 63, (1): 170–209.

    [23] Nigam. A., R. Huising, and B. Golden. Explaining the Selection of Routines for Change during Organizational Search. Administrative Science Quarterly, 2016, 61, (4): 551–583.

    [24] Dittrich. K., and D. Seidl. Emerging Intentionality in Routine Dynamics: A Pragmatist View. Academy of Management Journal, 2018, 61, (1): 111–138.

    [25] Karim, S. Exploring Structural Embeddedness of Product Market Activities and Resources within Business Units. Strategic Organization, 2012. 10, (4): 333–365.

    [26] Helfat. C. E, and Karim. S. Fit Between Organization Design and Organizational Routines. Social Science Electronic Publishing, 2014, 3, (2): 18–29.

    [27] Rumelt. R. P., D. Schendel, and D. J. Teece. Strategic Management and Economics. Strategic Management Journal, 1991, 12, (S2): 5-29.

    [28] Murmann. J. P., H. E. Aldrich, and D, Levinthal. Evolutionary Thought in Management and Organization Theory at the Beginning of the New Millennium. Journal of Management Inquiry, 2003, 12, (1): 22–40.

    [29] Szulanski, G., and R. J. Jensen. Presumptive Adaptation and The Effectiveness of Knowledge Transfer. Strategic Management Journal, 2006, 27, (10): 937–957.

    [30] Karim, S., and A. Kaul. Structural Recombination and Innovation: Unlocking Intraorganizational Knowledge Synergy Through Structural Change. Organization Science, 2015, 26, (2): 311–631.

    [31] Gao, L. & Hu, G. China Industrial Economics (中国工业经济), (8): 96−108 (2013).

    [32] Karim, S., and C. Williams. Structural Knowledge: How Executive Experience with Structural Composition Affects Intrafirm Mobility and Unit Reconfiguration. Strategic Management Journal, 2012, 33, (6): 681–709.

    [33] Feldman, M. S., B. T. Pentland, L. D’Adderio, and N. Lazaric. Beyond Routines as Things: Introduction to the Special Issue on Routine Dynamics. Organization Science, 2016, 27, (3): 505–513.

    [34] Furlan, A., and R. Grandinetti. Spinoffs and Their Endowments: Beyond Knowledge Inheritance Theory. Journal of Intellectual Capital, 2016, 17, (3): 570–589.

    [35] Tushman, M. L., and C. A. O’Reilly III. Ambidextrous Organizations: Managing Evolutionary and Revolutionary Change. California Management Review, 1996, 38, (4): 8-30.

    [36] Xiao, D. & Zhu, G. Business Management Journal (经济管理), (3): 50−64 (2017).

    [37] Smith, W. K., and M. L. Tushman. Managing Strategic Contradictions: A Top Management Model for Managing Innovation Streams. Organization Science, 2005, 16, (5): 522–536.

    [38] O’Reilly III. C. A., and M. L. Tushman. Ambidexterity as A Dynamic Capability: Resolving the Innovator’s Dilemma. Research in Organizational Behavior, 2008, (28): 185–206.

This Article

ISSN:1002-5766

CN: 11-1047/F

Vol 42, No. 03, Pages 89-101

March 2020

Downloads:0

Share
Article Outline

Abstract

  • 1 Introduction
  • 2 Brief review of context-based theories about replication of organizational routines and determination of the study subject
  • 3 Analysis of characteristics of business units
  • 4 Replication of routines and organizational ambidexterity
  • 5 The matching mechanism among characteristics of business units, ambidexterity, and replication of organizational routines
  • 6 Conclusion and implication
  • References