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The last several years have witnessed a growing scholarly interest in project-based organizations. This interest mirrors the diffusion of this organizational form across a…
The last several years have witnessed a growing scholarly interest in project-based organizations. This interest mirrors the diffusion of this organizational form across a wide range of industries, well beyond those where organizations traditionally have been organized by projects. To date, however, research on project-based organizations has not yet offered a systematic investigation of the interactions between project-based organizing and strategic management research. An examination of the existing literature indicates that some of the answers to key strategy questions remain incomplete, at times contradictory, and at best ambiguous. This volume moves the discussion to the next level by offering a comprehensive yet integrated view of cutting-edge research on project-based organizing to shed light on some of these ambiguities and clarify the relationship between project-based organizing and strategic management. To accomplish this, the volume includes the contributions of several leading scholars who have been active researchers on this subject. The chapters develop and extend key strategic aspects of project-based organizing, raise many new important questions, and identify fruitful areas for future research.
Gino Cattani is currently associate professor of strategy and organizations at the Stern School of Business, New York University. He received an MA in management science and applied economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 2001 and a PhD in management from Wharton in August 2004. His research focuses primarily on firm heterogeneity, technological change, and micro-determinants of industry dynamics, and recently on the social-structural determinants creativity. His research has been published in the Administrative Science Quarterly, Industrial and Corporate Change, and Organization Science. He has been an active member of the Academy since 1999. He is a member of the editorial board of Strategic Management Journal, and Strategic Organization.
Project-based organization (PBO) can serve as a temporary organizational form in response to uncertainty or turbulent environmental conditions. An updated retrospective…
Project-based organization (PBO) can serve as a temporary organizational form in response to uncertainty or turbulent environmental conditions. An updated retrospective study of the Danish hearing aids maker Oticon illustrates the role of PBO (the so-called spaghetti organization) in guiding the company through a specific period of industry turbulence and the company leader's search for a more effective structure to organize innovation within the company. The spaghetti organization was experimental in two distinct senses. First, the spaghetti organization tested the limits of decentralization, bottom-up self-organizing innovation, and PBO. Inspired by the experience of just how dysfunctional hierarchy could become, Oticon's spaghetti organization tested the limits of nonhierarchy. And unlike the failed Brook Farm utopia of the 1840s, the utopia of radical project-based organizing at Oticon proved highly successful as a means of promoting innovation even if the spaghetti organization was not sustainable in its original form and required subsequent modification. Second, Oticon was essentially a natural experiment testing and refuting the complementarities-based claim that intermediate forms of organization which include elements of both hierarchical organization and team (or project-based) organization are inherently unstable.
This chapter investigates how regional start-up rates in the knowledge-intensive services and high-tech industries are influenced by knowledge spillovers from both…
This chapter investigates how regional start-up rates in the knowledge-intensive services and high-tech industries are influenced by knowledge spillovers from both universities and firm-based R&D activities. Integrating insights from economic geography and organizational ecology into the literature on entrepreneurship, we develop a theoretical framework which captures how both supply- and demand-side factors mold the regional bedrock for start-ups in knowledge-intensive industries. Using multilevel data of all knowledge-intensive start-ups across 286 Swedish municipalities between 1994 and 2002 we demonstrate how characteristics of the economic and political milieu within each region influence the ratio of firm births. We find that knowledge spillovers from universities and firm-based R&D strongly affect the start-up rates for both high-tech firms and knowledge-intensive services firms. Further, the start-up rate of knowledge-intensive service firms is tied more strongly to the supply of university educated individuals and the political regulatory regime within the municipality than start-ups in high-tech industries. This suggests that knowledge-intensive service-start-ups are more susceptible to both demand-side and supply-side context than is the case for high-tech start-ups in general. Our study contributes to the growing stream of research that explains entrepreneurial activity as shaped by contextual factors, most notably academic institutions, such as universities that contribute to knowledge-intensive start-ups.
There has been a growing interest in the field of strategic management to understand the relationship between the organizational capabilities of firms and (a) the…
There has been a growing interest in the field of strategic management to understand the relationship between the organizational capabilities of firms and (a) the direction of strategies pursued and (b) the impact on competitive performance. Much of this literature has been influenced by the resource-based view of the firm. As indicated in early formulations of this theory, one implication is that the organization of resources is equally important as the resources themselves. Accordingly, the organizational and integration of resources and knowledge can be viewed as a core facet of the organizational capabilities of firms that are difficult to imitate for competitors. This paper explores a particular kind of organization referred to as the “P-form corporation” (Project-Form), its organizational capabilities and options for strategic alternatives. The chapter addresses three broad questions: (1) What are the main characteristics of P-form corporations? (2) What are the capabilities acquired and developed by P-form corporations and how are these acquired? (3) How do these capabilities vary across different strategic alternatives in the P-form corporation? The chapter concludes with a discussion about the implications for strategy and management.