Routine Dynamics

EGOS Standing Working Group Website

Organizational Routines as a Source of Continuous Change


Martha S. Feldman




In this paper I claim that organizational routines have a great potential for change even though they are often perceived, even defined, as unchanging. I present descriptions of routines that

change as participants respond to outcomes of previous iterations of a routine. Based on the changes in these routines I propose a performative model of organizational routines. This

model suggests that there is an internal dynamic to routines that can promote continuous change. The internal dynamic is based on the inclusion of routine participants as agents. When we do

not separate the people who are doing the routines from the routine, we can see routines as a richer phenomenon. Change occurs as a result of participants’ reflections on and reactions to various outcomes of previous iterations of the routine. This perspective introduces agency into the notion of routine. Agency is important for understanding the role of organizational routines in learning and in processes of institutionalization.