routine rigidity

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Routine rigidity is one dimension of organizational rigidity, one of the factors of organizational inertia to be overcome in order to change the trajectory of the organization, especially in the case of discontinuous environmental change that the organization must adapt to.

One explanation for routine rigidity is that organizational processes that are tightly aligned with one environment can be difficult to change, because they are self-reinforcing and are not built to adapt to discontinuities (Miller & Friesen, 1980; Siggelkow, 2001; Teece, Pisano, & Shuen, 1997; Tushman & Anderson, 1986. Further, exploitation processes can drive out exploration processes, making it difficult to develop new capabilities (Benner & Tushman, 2001; Burgelman, 1994; March, 1991). Another part of the explanation is that the original motivation for designing an organizational routine can be separated from the people executing the routine (Nelson & Winter, 1982). The underlying logic pervades the thinking of the organization, often manifesting as deeply ingrained cognition (Prahalad & Bettis, 1986; Tripsas & Gavetti, 2000). The challenge is increased because this cognition also becomes tacit (Schein, 1985), making it even more difficult to recognize the sources within the routines that are creating the difficulties. Thus, managers often rely on a learned pattern of response that is structurally and cognitively reinforced, instead of employing new search efforts (March 7 Simon, 1958).

Gilbert, 2005, pp 742