New article: Routines & History

At OHN we are very pleased to announce that Alistair Mutch, one of our long time EGOS Standing Working Group 8 participants, has published an insightful piece in Organization Studies recently (now available via Advance Online). In the acknowledgements he particularly credits this stream as having helped him develop the ideas presented in his article. It’s great to see research from the track getting published. Personally I can only agree with Alistair’s sentiment that SWG8 has been very influential and supportive for me in developing my research, and it is truly a shame that 2016 will be last year of the Standing Working Group. Nevertheless, hopefully we will be seeing a series of single year tracks on history, starting at Copenhagen 2017!

Bringing History into the Study of Routines: Contextualizing Performance

Alistair Mutch

Abstract

The focus on routines as ‘generative systems’ often portrays them as patterns of action relatively divorced from their context. History can help to supply a deeper and richer context, showing how routines are connected to broader structural and cultural factors. But it also shows that routines themselves have a history. This is explored using the illustration of the history of one particular organizational routine, that of the visitation of local organizational units by central church bodies, in three times and places: 15th century Italy, 18th century England and 18th century Scotland. This illustration shows that similar routines can be found but these are given very different inflections by the broader social, cultural and political context. Attention is drawn in particular to the differential involvement of lay actors and the implications for broader impacts. The case is made for analytical narratives of emergence of routines which can reconnect organizational routines both with their own history and with their broader context.

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