Experience and Repetition as Antecedents of Organizational Routines and Capabilities: A Critique of Behaviorist and Empiricist Approaches

Teppo Felin, Nicolai Juul Foss

    Research output: Working paperResearch

    50 Downloads (Pure)


    We discuss the behaviorist and empiricist foundations of the organizational routines and capabilities literature, specifically the extant emphasis placed on experience, repetition and observation as the key inputs and mechanisms of behavior, learning and change in organizations. Based on this discussion we highlight several concerns associated with specifying experience and repetition as antecedents of routines and capabilities, namely, (1) the problem of origins and causation, (2) the problem of extremes, (3) the problem of intentionality, (4) the problem of new knowledge, and (5) the problem of the environment. We highlight the “poverty of stimulus” argument and more generally discuss how internalist or rationalist, choice-based approach might provide a more fruitful (though preliminary) foundation for extant research on organizational routines and capabilities.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationFrederiksberg
    PublisherCenter for Strategic Management and Globalization
    Number of pages41
    ISBN (Print)9788791815508
    Publication statusPublished - 2009
    SeriesSMG Working Paper


    • Organizational routines and capabilities
    • Repetition and experience
    • Empiricism and rationalism

    Cite this