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Building Micro-Foundations for the Routines, Capabilities, and Performance Links

  • Peter Abell
  • Teppo Felin
  • Nicolai Foss

Micro-foundations have become an important emerging theme in strategic management. This paper addresses micro-foundations in two related ways. First, we argue that the kind of macro (or “collectivist”) explanation that is utilized in the capabilities view in strategic management ? which implies a neglect of micro-foundations ? is incomplete. There are no mechanisms that work solely on the macro-level, directly connecting routines and capabilities to firm-level outcomes. While routines and capabilities are useful shorthand for complicated patterns of individual action and interaction, ultimately they are best understood at the micro-level. Second, we provide a formal model that shows precisely why macro explanation is incomplete and which exemplifies how explicit micro-foundations may be built for notions of routines and capabilities and for how these impact firm performance.

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Paper provided by DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies in its series DRUID Working Papers with number 07-02.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:aal:abbswp:07-02
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.druid.dk/

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  1. Cowan, Robin & Rizzo, Mario J, 1996. "The Genetic-Causal Tradition and Modern Economic Theory," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(3), pages 273-317.
  2. Cohen, Michael D, et al, 1996. "Routines and Other Recurring Action Patterns of Organizations: Contemporary Research Issues," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(3), pages 653-98.
  3. Argote, Linda & Ingram, Paul, 2000. "Knowledge Transfer: A Basis for Competitive Advantage in Firms," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 150-169, May.
  4. Rebecca Henderson & Sarah Kaplan, 2005. "Inertia and Incentives: Bridging Organizational Economics and Organizational Theory," NBER Working Papers 11849, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Lucas, Robert E., 1977. "Understanding business cycles," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 7-29, January.
  6. Marco Valente & Andrea Bassanini & Luigi Marengo & Giovanni Dosi, 1999. "Norms as emergent properties of adaptive learning: The case of economic routines," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 5-26.
  7. Cowan, R.A. & Rizzo, M.J., 1995. "The Genetic causal Tradition of Modern Economic History," Working Papers 95-29, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  8. Hodgson, Geoffrey M. & Knudsen, Thorbjorn, 2004. "The complex evolution of a simple traffic convention: the functions and implications of habit," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 19-47, May.
  9. Teppo Felin & Nicolai Foss, 2006. "Individuals and Organizations Thoughts on a Micro-Foundations Project for Strategic Management and Organizational Analysis," DRUID Working Papers 06-01, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  10. Richard Makadok & Jay B. Barney, 2001. "Strategic Factor Market Intelligence: An Application of Information Economics to Strategy Formulation and Competitor Intelligence," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(12), pages 1621-1638, December.
  11. Nicolai J. Foss, 2003. "Bounded rationality and tacit knowledge in the organizational capabilities approach: an assessment and a re-evaluation," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(2), pages 185-201, April.
  12. repec:att:wimass:9217 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Markus C. Becker, 2004. "Organizational routines: a review of the literature," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(4), pages 643-678, August.
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