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First published online October 6, 2017

Organizational Routines and Institutional Maintenance: The Influence of Legal Artifacts


This article investigates how managers perform routines under artifacts in an institutionalized environment designed to exert pressure to comply. Using the framework of routines as generative systems, we studied the legally regulated disciplinary sanction routine in French public nursing homes. We found that managers tend to choose lesser penalties than those specified by law, and that legal artifacts have both coercive and symbolic dimensions that influence routines in different ways. The coercive dimension favors compliance with formal procedures but motivates departure in substance (penalty). In contrast, the symbolic dimension motivates compliance in substance and leads to complementary actions. The combination of the opposed influences tends to limit departure in substance, and helps maintain both artifacts and the institution that they carry. Our findings contribute to linking the routine and institutional literatures, and may be of interest to organizational control scholars.

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Published In

Article first published online: October 6, 2017
Issue published: April 2019


  1. routines
  2. artifacts
  3. compliance
  4. truce
  5. institutions
  6. regulation
  7. healthcare

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© The Author(s) 2017.
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Published online: October 6, 2017
Issue published: April 2019



Isabelle Royer
University of Lyon Jean Moulin, France
Alexandre Daniel
EHPAD Bondues and EHPAD Mouvaux, France


Isabelle Royer, Magellan, iaelyon, University of Lyon Jean Moulin, 6, Cours Albert Thomas, 69 008 Lyon, France. Email: [email protected]

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