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Toward a Projects as Events Perspective

Project-Based Organizing and Strategic Management

ISBN: 978-1-78052-192-3, eISBN: 978-1-78052-193-0

Publication date: 12 October 2011


Purpose – Over the last 15 years, a growing literature on project-based organizing (PBO) has emerged, drawing on various theoretical streams based on distinctive and sometimes conflicting assumptions. Organization-centric approaches tend to highlight projects as portfolios that provide assets to meet strategic goals, but leave un-assessed the processes by which projects evolve, are chosen and governed. Field-centric studies of PBO tend to highlight how relations among and across actors (individuals or organizations) evolve over time, but also neglect how projects meet actors’ strategic needs. We introduce a “projects as events” perspective in an effort to integrate insights from these distinct conceptualizations.

Design/methods – We review previous studies on PBO and elaborate on the theorization of a “projects as events” perspective, suggesting various reasons why it might help advance research on PBO, for example, by allowing researchers to address how projects interact across multiple levels of analysis.

Findings – By drawing on examples from the creative industries, we illustrate various instances in which projects are events: sequences of activities that unfold gradually or suddenly, and trigger distinctive networks across multiple levels of analysis.

Originality/value – A projects as events perspective facilitates the use and the combination of quantitative and qualitative methods, such as event sequencing with narrative analysis, or historical events with network analysis. By doing so, scholars may more easily cross levels of analysis by examining the various networks engaged in a project to unfold and provide a fuller understanding of PBO.


Maoret, M., Massa, F.G. and Jones, C. (2011), "Toward a Projects as Events Perspective", Cattani, G., Ferriani, S., Frederiksen, L. and Täube, F. (Ed.) Project-Based Organizing and Strategic Management (Advances in Strategic Management, Vol. 28), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 427-444.



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