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Talking about routines: the role of reflective talk in routine change


Dittrich, Katharina; Guérard, Stéphane; Seidl, David (2015). Talking about routines: the role of reflective talk in routine change. Organization Science, 27(3):678-697.

Abstract

In this paper, we examine the role of reflective talk in how routines change. We argue that talk enables routine participants to collectively reflect on the routine and work out new ways of enacting it. Drawing on a year-long ethnographic study of a start-up company in the pharmaceutical industry, we show that talk supports the enactment of collective reflection by enabling the participants to (1) name and situate the issue to be discussed with regard to the performative and ostensive aspects of the routine, (2) jointly envisage and explore alternative ways of enacting the routine, and (3) evaluate and question these suggestions from different angles. We examine how these aspects of reflective talk play out in different types of routine change and how the progressive unfolding of the talk reveals distinct opportunities for routine change. With our findings, we shed light on the role of collective reflection in routine change, on variation and selective retention in routine change, and on how organizational members balance the need for consistency and change in the enactment of routines.

Abstract

In this paper, we examine the role of reflective talk in how routines change. We argue that talk enables routine participants to collectively reflect on the routine and work out new ways of enacting it. Drawing on a year-long ethnographic study of a start-up company in the pharmaceutical industry, we show that talk supports the enactment of collective reflection by enabling the participants to (1) name and situate the issue to be discussed with regard to the performative and ostensive aspects of the routine, (2) jointly envisage and explore alternative ways of enacting the routine, and (3) evaluate and question these suggestions from different angles. We examine how these aspects of reflective talk play out in different types of routine change and how the progressive unfolding of the talk reveals distinct opportunities for routine change. With our findings, we shed light on the role of collective reflection in routine change, on variation and selective retention in routine change, and on how organizational members balance the need for consistency and change in the enactment of routines.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Business Administration
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Strategy and Management
Social Sciences & Humanities > Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
Social Sciences & Humanities > Management of Technology and Innovation
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:28 Aug 2019 15:27
Last Modified:31 Jul 2020 03:34
Publisher:Informs - The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences
ISSN:1047-7039
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1287/orsc.2015.1024
Other Identification Number:merlin-id:12729

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