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Demystifying emergence of organizational routines

Ewa Stańczyk-Hugiet (Department of Strategy and Management Methods, Wroclaw University of Economics, Wroclaw, Poland)
Katarzyna Piórkowska (Department of Strategy and Management Methods, Wroclaw University of Economics, Wroclaw, Poland)
Sylwia Stańczyk (Department of Strategy and Management Methods, Wroclaw University of Economics, Wroclaw, Poland)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Article publication date: 3 July 2017




The purpose of this paper is to discourse the essence and utility of (re)emergence theory as the starting point of understanding and interpreting organizational routines dynamics as well as to propose a conceptual framework reflecting both epistemological and methodological value as the keystone of analysing the rationale of organizational routines and the process of their emergence.


The paper is based on extensive literature studies.


Referring to the research problem concerning the reconciliation organizational routines and the emergence phenomenon, the findings complement the insights of the dominant theoretical perspectives in organizational routine theory, providing a more comprehensive understanding of organizational dynamics by directly addressing the heretofore intractable phenomenon of emergence. In addition, it is going to be a well-justified epistemological base to operationalize routines – not only per se, but also with regard to the mechanisms enacted.


Routines change over time and the current studies results are not sufficient to understand these changes yet. Interpreting organizational routines from the emergence theory perspective reveals their soft, indeterministic, and unpredictable nature and ought to render the scholars dealing with that phenomenon interpretatively and methodologically cautious. Emergence is a priori embedded in organizational routines’ context. The considerations included in the paper are salient regarding ontological and epistemological issues as they emphasize specific thought and research directions in the field of organization study eventually. Emergence ideas may play a part in discussions of spontaneous order, particularly by implementing it to routines construct. A major issue is the role of these ideas and processes within organizational evolution.



The research is supported by the National Science Centre in Poland (Grant Number: DEC-2013/11/B/HS4/00647).


Stańczyk-Hugiet, E., Piórkowska, K. and Stańczyk, S. (2017), "Demystifying emergence of organizational routines", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 30 No. 4, pp. 525-547.



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