“Organizational routines can be defined as repetitive, recognizable patterns of interdependent actions, carried out by multiple actors.” This definition, from Admin. Sci. Q., March 2003 at 95, seems very close to the ones I have fashioned for the term “processes” (See my post of April 27, 2006: “A process is a series of related activities repeated to achieve an understood goal”; May 1, 2006: “a series of related actions that have been done before to achieve a similar end”; and April 25, 2009: no operational distinction between policies, procedures, processes, and practices – “step-by-step repeated activities; some of them spelled out in a procedure, but most un-memorialized”.). The authors note that organizational routines may be documented with a set of formal procedures or rules, but that is not an essential part of the core definition.
What stands out in the academic’s definition, admittedly of organizational routines, which many not be the same thing as organizational processes, is interdependency and multiple actors. I am not sure either of those components necessarily limit how we should conceptualize processes in legal departments.