Reflexivity of Routines: An Ethnomethodological Investigation of Initial Service Encounters at Sushi Bars in Tokyo

Yutaka Yamauchi, Takeshi Hiramoto

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This study reconsiders the meaning and implications of reflexivity for the theory of routines. Due to their mundane nature, routines tend to be considered unambiguous phenomena that everyone can readily understand. The performative theory of routines has challenged this view by suggesting there is no guarantee that participants have the same understanding of a routine. Nonetheless, this theory has yet to explain how routines are possible in relation to divergent understandings. Through empirical analyses of customer-provider interactions videotaped at sushi bars, this study shows how participants themselves exhibit and use their understandings of routines within the routine performance. That is to say, understandings of a routine are a reflexive part of the routine performance. It is not necessary to assume that divergent understandings are reconciled prior to the routine performance. Reflexivity helps clarify how routines are possible without a priori shared understanding.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)1473-1499
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Ethnomethodology
  • Reflexivity
  • Routines
  • Customer interactions

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