Dynamic coordination via organizational routines

Andreas Blume, April Mitchell Franco, Paul Heidhues

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The organizational behavior literature refers to persistent interaction patterns among members of an organization with distributed knowledge as organizational routines. To formalize this concept, as well as intuitions about organizational routines, we investigate dynamic coordination within a problem-solving team where team members cannot communicate. Each team member has a finite number of actions. There is a single action profile with a positive payoff. The task is to identify that profile through repeated trials. For each of their actions, team members have private information regarding their confidence in that action being required for a solution. In this environment, we refer to deterministic sequences of action profiles, where actions are labeled according to their confidence ranking, as organizational routines. We show that there are equilibria that give rise to organizational routines. These organizational routine equilibria partially solve the team’s coordination problem by synchronizing the team’s search efforts. These organizational routine equilibria are resilient to changes in the environment by being ex post equilibria, to agents having only a coarse understanding of other agents’ strategies by being fully cursed, and to natural forms of agents’ overconfidence. If the distribution over team members’ confidences is sufficiently dispersed, this resilience of organizational routine equilibria comes at the price of suboptimality. In contrast, generically, when this distribution is sufficiently concentrated, optimal equilibria induce organizational routines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1001-1047
Number of pages47
JournalEconomic Theory
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Coordination
  • Dynamics
  • Organizations
  • Routines
  • Search
  • Teams

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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