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Our understanding of knowledge creating characteristics in routines is in its infancy. Research on generative and emergent qualities of organisational routines, and their ability to assist actors arriving at new distinctions in practice, remains underdeveloped. Routines theory has been used to demonstrate processes as being generative (Feldman & Pentland, 2003; Pentland, Feldman, Becker, & Liu, 2012), as producers of ideas and as emergent (Feldman, 2000). More recent efforts have argued for a dialogical approach to studying how new organisational knowledge emerges. This paper looks at organising for ‘knowledge creating’ by combining dialogical exchanges within the ostensive-performative theory of routines (Feldman & Pentland, 2003). The explanatory power of the ostensive-performative aspects of routines is enhanced when we incorporate dialogical exchanges. We explore within sociomaterial practices (D'Adderio, 2011; Orlikowski, 2010) how schemas (Feldman, 2000; Sewell Jr, 1992; Tsoukas, 2009b) and imaginal others coalesce with artifacts as a source of knowledge creating. This forms our basis for understanding knowledge creating and novelty. Empirical data from a multi-level analysis in a university-industry context is presented. The inter-organisational context of an internship/work placement routine is argued as an appropriate context for studying processes of knowledge creating i.e. the theory-practice divide (Gibbons et al., 1994; Huff & Huff, 2001; Liu, Xu, & Weitz, 2011; Narayanan, Olk, & Fukami, 2010). Our empirical contribution is to substantiate how routines, from a dialogical exchange perspective, clarify action as new distinctions emerge. We conclude by focusing on the emerging construct of ‘clarification’ as it contributes to the dualist-dualism debates (Farjoun, 2010; Feldman & Orlikowski, 2011; Pentland et al., 2012).
Horan, C. and Finch, J. Clarifying action as emerging novelty: disentangling knowledge creating in routines. Sixth Process Symposium, Crete, Greece, June 2013.