Sub-theme 39: Bridging Time: Exploring the Dynamics of Routines and Path Dependence

Georg Schreyögg, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
Martha S. Feldman, University of California, Irvine, USA
Jörg Sydow, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

Call for Papers

The sub-theme invites organizational researchers who study temporalization of routines and the relations between patterns of persistence and patterns of change. Special focus is on exploring the temporal patterning and tensions between the logic of change in and through routines and self-reinforcing dynamics of stabilization in and between organizations. The subtheme aims to explore how actions bridge past, present and future and to reflect upon the temporal implications of action. It seeks to foster dialogue and exchange of ideas related to further understanding the logics of practicing change and stabilizing routines. The sub-theme applies the general theme of the 29th EGOS Colloquium: Bridging Continents, Cultures and Worldviews to the relationship between stability and change as enacted through routines and practices in empirical contexts.

Bridging both stability and change provides a particularly advantageous context for exploring the logic of organizing, change through routines and the emergence of path dependence. Studies of interest refer to different levels: individual, organizational, inter-organizational or organizational field, embedded in different institutional environments and strategic contexts.

The sub-theme invites contributions that focus on one or more of the following issues:


  • Philosophies and perspectives on time and their implications for conceptualizing practices and processes, with particular attention to the emergence of stability and change.


  • What role does temporal patterning play in the enactment of practices and routines and in the production of path dependence and path creation?


  • How do routines and practices bridge the past, present and future?
    • How do actions taken in routines and practices anticipate future patterns?
    • How do routines and practices incorporate and/or reflect past patterns?


  • What are the dynamics of persistence and change?
    • How and when are initial conditions taken up in emergent patterns of action?
    • How does expectation or anticipation reinforce and/or alter patterns of action?
    • How does memory or reflection reinforce and/or alter patterns of action?
    • What is the relation between processes that are self-reinforcing or processes that are mutually constitutive and the individual actions involved in enacting routines and practices?
    • How do processes that are self-reinforcing or processes that are mutually constitutive stabilize or alter practices?
    • What processes and interventions are likely to modify or to stop path dependent recursion?


Papers that discuss these and similar issues empirically or conceptually, with regard to recent or more historical developments, are cordially invited. Papers that provide rich empirical examples are especially encouraged.

The sub-theme wishes to attract both high-quality contributions that are ready to be submitted to a research journal as well as research in progress. Papers will be distributed in advance of the Colloquium. All paper presentations will be commented by a discussant from the group. Session leaders seek to provide an open and encouraging atmosphere for discussion.

In order to allow for as much discussion as possible, paper presentations will be restricted to 15–20 minutes.


Georg Schreyögg is currently Professor of Management and Organization Studies at the School of Business & Economics of Freie Universität Berlin and director of the research center of organizational path dependence. Formerly, he was Professor at FernUniversität Hagen und Universität Bamberg. He received his two doctoral degrees from Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany. He has written nine books, has edited numerous volumes and has published more than 180 articles on organization theory, leadership and corpo-rate governance. His recent research has focused on uncertainty management, organiza-tional path dependence and organizational capabilities.
Martha S. Feldman is the Johnson Chair for Civic Governance and Public Management at the University of California, Irvine. Her current research on organizational routines explores the role of performance and agency in creating, maintaining and altering these fundamental organizational phenomena. She is a Senior Editor for 'Organization Science' and serves on the editorial boards of 'Academy of Management Journal', 'International Public Management Journal', 'Journal of Management Studies', 'Organization Studies' and 'Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management'. She received Administrative Science Quarterly's 2009 Award for Scholarly Contribution and the 2011 Academy of Management Practice Scholarship Award.
Jörg Sydow is currently Professor of Management and Inter-firm Cooperation at the School of Business & Economics of Freie Universität Berlin and a Visiting Professor at Strathclyde University, Glasgow, UK. From 2004–2007, he was an international visiting fellow of the Advanced Institute of Management Research (AIM), London. Jörg is a founding co-editor of two leading German journals, 'Managementforschung' and 'Industrielle Beziehungen'. Moreover, he is a member of the editorial boards of 'Organization Studies', 'Organization Science', 'Academy of Management Review' and 'The Scandinavian Journal of Management'. His recent research focuses on strategic partnering and inter-firm networking, especially in service and science-based industries; technology and innovation management, especially the management of innovation networks and clusters.