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The practice of routines and representations in design and development

By Mike Hales and Joe Tidd


Using observational data from a longitudinal real-time field study, we contribute theoretically, empirically, and methodologically to the role of routines in new product design and development. We focus on the work being done by formal representations and formal routines in the design and development of a complex capital good. We find that, contrary to the emphasis in much of the literature, formal routines and representations, in particular those embodied in artifacts, while pervasive, play only a limited role. Rather, of greater influence are the various non-formal representations used to support interaction and communication: representations from routines (and elsewhere), instead of formal representation of routines. We propose a rebalancing of the relationships between routines and representations, a dialectical and mediating --in contrast to a linear and genetic--relationship. Copyright 2009 The Author 2009. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Associazione ICC. All rights reserved., Oxford University Press.

DOI identifier: 10.1093/icc
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