Knowledge Transfer for and through the Replication of Organisational Routines in Franchise Systems
Cavalcante Gomes, Elmo Jr
Routines are dispositions to behave according to established sets of rules that are also repositories of the organisational memory about “how things get done”. Franchise systems are organisational forms which expand through the replication of routines by new units owned by franchisees. Drawing on insights from the literatures on organisational learning, organisational evolution (under generalised Darwinism), and cognitive psychology, this thesis identifies the building blocks for a conceptual explanation of routine replication in franchise systems. It then proposes an original case study of Yázigi, a large Brazilian franchise system of language schools, which is used to develop a novel process model that captures how knowledge is transferred for and through the replication of routines within an expanding franchise system. Four principal lessons are derived. First, when direct knowledge transfer is not available, artefacts, most notably template representations of routines, are essential. Second, intermediaries, as agents of routine compilation who direct participants to template representations, are crucial to the process of routine replication. Third, just as routines are analogues of habits, routine compilation seems to reproduce habit compilation. Finally, existing learning-related habits of thought may work in favour of or against the adoption of new habits in the replication process. This thesis outlines the prescriptive implications of these lessons for franchise practitioners and details opportunities for future research.
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