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Article
Publication date: 14 June 2013

Karlos Artto

The purpose of this research note is to address theory building in the field of projects and temporary organizations.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this research note is to address theory building in the field of projects and temporary organizations.

Design/methodology/approach

This research note builds on commenting and deriving arguments from three main sources (the Transition paper, the End‐states paper, and the Chunk paper) that all contribute to theory building in the field of temporary organizations and/or projects. In addition to an Introduction section in the beginning and Discussion section at the end, this research note is organized to comprise four sections: Time, End states, Boundaries, and Chunk.

Findings

This research note expands the temporary organization view to include dimensions that fall outside the organizational dimension. Such dimensions include logic‐related, immaterial, maybe even entrepreneurial issues that may reside outside the boundaries of any organizational entity. Furthermore, such dimensions include end states and potentially objects that (may) affect the end states such as opportunity‐seizing or risk‐taking attitudes, or accidental or serendipitous incidents/events that would occur “outside the temporary organization” in the uncertain environment (the environment being collaborative, competitive, or “random”). This discussion relates to the challenging question of defining boundaries and understanding their dynamic and ever‐changing nature. The discussion part of the paper introduces the term “business enterprise” in contrast to the terms “project” or “temporary organization”, when referring to logic‐related and other aspects that would otherwise fall outside the organizational dimension.

Practical implications

Based on the findings of this paper, further conceptual and empirical research and academic debates on temporary organizations and projects is needed. This would elevate combinations of existing theories and propose several new theories, not just one theory.

Originality/value

Existing theories on temporary organizations and projects and the ways in which they are used in individual studies are too single‐sided and therefore not too helpful in explaining the new organizational forms referred to in this paper. Therefore, cross‐disciplinary combinations of several existing theories are needed, and potentially new theories also need to be developed. This research note and the three main sources (the Transition paper, the End‐states paper, and the Chunk paper) serve as a good start for such future theory‐building and theory‐combining studies.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 6 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 10 June 2021

Emilia Nilsson Vestola, Per Erik Eriksson, Johan Larsson and Tina Karrbom Gustavsson

The purpose of this paper is to explore the interdependencies between temporary and permanent aspects of project organizing and how they affect the management of public…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the interdependencies between temporary and permanent aspects of project organizing and how they affect the management of public infrastructure operation and maintenance (O&M) activities.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper applies a case study approach and uses Lundin and Söderholm's (1995) framework of the temporary organization (with the themes of time, task, team and transition) to distinguish between temporary and permanent aspects of organizing two infrastructure O&M projects.

Findings

This paper adds to the literature on temporary organizations by recognizing a mixture of temporary and permanent aspects of project organizing in an empirical project-level example. In line with previous research, the themes of time, task, team and transition were shown to be interdependent. Furthermore, the paper broadens the theory of temporary organizations by presenting a project organization with significant permanent aspects.

Practical implications

Project managers of public sector projects need to be aware of the possible mixture of temporary and permanent aspects of project organizing. Management of projects that are found to have a mixture of temporary and permanent aspects should combine the perspectives and management practices of both temporary and permanent organizing. Not acknowledging permanent aspects could lead to management that is not adapted to the prerequisites of project organizing in this context.

Originality/value

The findings further develop the literature on temporary organizations by recognizing that there is not only a mixture of temporary and permanent aspects between the temporary organization and its permanent environment but there is also a mixture of temporary and permanent aspects of organizing within project organizations.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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Book part
Publication date: 17 September 2020

Timo Braun and Joseph Lampel

Temporary organisations are time-limited organisations that are created with a deliberate termination point. Temporary organisations can increase flexibility, allow for…

Abstract

Temporary organisations are time-limited organisations that are created with a deliberate termination point. Temporary organisations can increase flexibility, allow for innovative and transformative activities with less resource commitment, and reflect a ‘Zeitgeist’ of acceleration and time limitation in society. They also give rise to tensions and paradoxes that require new adaptive and coordinative practices. Research on temporary organisations has moved from primarily exploring the distinction between temporary and permanent organisations to using temporary organisations to study a range of phenomena such as temporality, acceleration, identity, and attachment–detachment dilemmas. This volume reflects this new orientation. We map empirical phenomena along the lines of events, projects and networks, and explore three conceptual themes that run through the nine chapters that comprise this volume: (1) temporality in temporary organisations; (2) the interaction between temporary and permanent organisations; and (3) the strategies and practices that temporary organisation develop in response to tensions and paradoxes.

Details

Tensions and paradoxes in temporary organizing
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-348-7

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Book part
Publication date: 17 September 2020

Joana Geraldi, Iben Stjerne and Josef Oehmen

Temporary and permanent organisations have contrasting yet co-dependent perspectives regarding time; temporary organisations are made to ‘die’, yet most of them exist to…

Abstract

Temporary and permanent organisations have contrasting yet co-dependent perspectives regarding time; temporary organisations are made to ‘die’, yet most of them exist to enable permanent organisations to ‘survive’. The authors studied the temporal tensions of strategic initiatives – that is, temporary organisations that aim to implement strategic change in permanent organisations. Our empirical data identified three temporal tensions emerging when senior managers timed their strategic initiatives: ambition versus realism when enacting the time horizon, patience versus urgency when enacting the pace, and clock time versus event time when enacting the temporal perspective. By evoking the literature on paradox and temporal work, the authors extend the view of temporality at the temporary and permanent interface and indicate how temporal work played an important role in creating, reinforcing, or transforming temporal tensions. The authors conclude by providing implications for theory and practice.

Details

Tensions and paradoxes in temporary organizing
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-348-7

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Article
Publication date: 7 April 2015

Tina Karrbom Gustavsson and Anette Hallin

– The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the theory development of “temporary organizing.”

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the theory development of “temporary organizing.”

Design/methodology/approach

The paper advances the theory of the temporary organization by applying a process ontological-perspective.

Findings

This research note conceptualizes “the temporary organization” as constantly changing across time and space; as shifting between two empirically driven modes: “goal seeking” and “goal oriented.” This is done through the shift of the trajectory of the particular “project” at hand.

Practical implications

Based on the theoretical suggestions in the paper, further research is encouraged to find empirical support of and to develop its claims.

Originality/value

Despite a call for taking the “organizing”-aspect of temporary organizations seriously, there is still a need for theory development of the area. By introducing the concept of “trajectories” into the studies of temporary organizations, the paper builds a theoretical framework through which such studies may be undertaken.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 8 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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Book part
Publication date: 17 September 2020

Anja Danner-Schröder and Gordon Müller-Seitz

Tensions arising from temporary versus permanent forms of organising are a managerially relevant and commonplace phenomenon. How ensuing tensions unfold and what…

Abstract

Tensions arising from temporary versus permanent forms of organising are a managerially relevant and commonplace phenomenon. How ensuing tensions unfold and what implications this has for organising responses across different levels of organising is the key concern of our inquiry. The authors draw upon a case study of what has been dubbed the German refugee crisis to make three contributions to the literature on managing temporary organisational phenomena: First, the authors offer a temporal continuum along which one can distinguish between comparatively fast responses of emergent temporary organisations on the micro-level and relatively slow responses by macro-level institutions that are predominantly engaged in permanent organising. The authors built upon this continuum to highlight the role of temporal lags, which arise from the different reaction times of micro- and macro-level organisations and which is filled by the respective other organisational form, a phenomenon the authors label temporal co-dependence. Second, the authors offer a distinction between deliberate and emergent forms of temporal organising. Third, the authors unearth boundary conditions that make the likelihood of this interplay between different levels possible.

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Book part
Publication date: 17 September 2020

Stewart Clegg, Miguel Pina e Cunha, Medhanie Gaim and Nils Wåhlin

In the long term, all organisations may be temporary. Some, however, are more temporary than others. Temporary organisations are designed not so much with an eye on…

Abstract

In the long term, all organisations may be temporary. Some, however, are more temporary than others. Temporary organisations are designed not so much with an eye on enduring as on accomplishing a specific task. In this chapter, the authors explore paradoxes, understood as persistent mutually defining oppositions that occur at the intersection of ‘the temporary’ and ‘the enduring’. To do so, the authors discuss the concept of memory, which we use to explore the process of preserving and reproducing memories of people and events as a bridge between the temporalities of organising that are past and were never intended to endure, and those that are ongoing. By reconstructing one case of the European Capital of Culture initiative, the authors discuss memory as critical to temporary organisations in the sense that temporary organisations always have a memory that affords continuity: hence are enduring. The authors argue that there is endurance in the temporary and temporariness in endurance: expressing the paradoxical essence of organising.

Details

Tensions and paradoxes in temporary organizing
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-348-7

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Article
Publication date: 26 January 2010

Markus Hällgren

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the understanding of groupthink in temporary organizations. Only anecdotally has the literature touched upon how the temporary

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the understanding of groupthink in temporary organizations. Only anecdotally has the literature touched upon how the temporary organization's structure may foster groupthink. Studies of faulty group processes are imperative since temporary organizations are becoming more common.

Design/methodology/approach

Following the design used by several authors who analyzed the Everest events, this paper is an historic in‐depth case study based on accounts of several survivors.

Findings

Three out of four features of groupthink are found and analyzing the Everest events there are several symptoms to groupthink that may be present in any temporary organization.

Research limitations/implications

Groupthink as a theoretical idea is well developed but has received limited attention in a temporary organization (project) setting. More attention should be given to group dynamics in general and groupthink in particular.

Practical implications

Some practices are suggested to avoid groupthink. Furthermore, project managers find themselves in a balancing act between freedom, efficiency, and fast decisions. The context should be allowed to decide which the correct approach is. Finally, blowing the whistle should never be a problem and never be punished.

Originality/value

The setting of this paper is original although it is to the structure a common project. When life is at stake, features and symptoms of groupthink become more evident. The theoretical field is almost non‐existent in a temporary organization setting hence there is a considerable value to the theoretical development of temporary organizations and groupthink.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 3 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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Article
Publication date: 14 June 2013

Mattias Jacobsson, Thommie Burström and Timothy L. Wilson

This research note puts the role of transition back in the center of the temporary organization and lends to understanding the temporary organization as a transitory unit…

Abstract

Purpose

This research note puts the role of transition back in the center of the temporary organization and lends to understanding the temporary organization as a transitory unit within the permanent organization. The purpose is to reactivate theory development within this field of research and promote a dialog that will point to a possible way forward.

Design/methodology/approach

An intra‐organizational perspective is taken. Backgrounds of the two theories are covered and then the temporary organization as a transitory unit, and the role of transition are addressed. One basic transformation is made in the theory of the temporary organization and then the model superposed on the behavioral theory of the firm.

Findings

In total, four things were achieved. First, the conceptualization of temporary organization was simplified – five variables have been reduced to four in eliminating “action” as an element of description. Second, the conceptualization was extended to include constructs of the permanent organization. Third, the theory was strengthened by providing an extended framework that potentially could be examined to check observations against theory. Finally, some directions were suggested for future theory development to take.

Research limitations/implications

The research note is conceptual, so applicability depends upon the nature of the particular organization to which it is applied.

Originality/value

Although the paper is conceptual, the authors believe that the approach can be used to understand the interrelatedness of the temporary and permanent organization and to promote a dialog within this field of research – a dialog that hopefully will reactivate theory development.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 6 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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Article
Publication date: 2 February 2015

Marianna Giunchi, Maria José Chambel and Chiara Ghislieri

Temporary agency workers (TAWs) have a double employment relationship: one with the agency that hires them with a formal contract, either temporary or permanent; and…

Abstract

Purpose

Temporary agency workers (TAWs) have a double employment relationship: one with the agency that hires them with a formal contract, either temporary or permanent; and another with the client organization where they actually perform their work. As the social-exchange theory assumes that TAWs respond to the support they receive from both organizations with affective commitment toward the respective organization. The purpose of this paper is to propose that the type of contract with the agency moderates these relationships, specifically that permanent TAWs present a stronger relationship between perceived organizational support (POS) and affective organizational commitment (AOC) toward the agency and, to the contrary, that temporary TAWs show a greater relationship between POS and AOC toward the client.

Design/methodology/approach

The hypotheses were tested with a sample of 522 Portuguese TAWs, of which 265 were temporaries and 257 were permanents. Data were collected with a self-report questionnaire and analyzed with multigroup analysis using the AMOS program.

Findings

The authors verified that POS from both the employment agency and the client organization were related to the TAWs’ affective commitment to each respective organization. Furthermore, the relationship between POS from the employment agency and the affective commitment to this organization was stronger in permanent than in temporary TAWs. However, contrary to the expectations, the contract with the agency did not moderate the relationship with client organizations: temporary and permanent TAWs showed a similar relationship between POS from this organization and their affective commitment toward it.

Practical implications

These findings show the important organizational role of both the employment agency and the client in supporting their TAWs and attending to the type of contract they have with the employment agency.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the analysis of the TAWs’ double employment relationship and highlights the role of the agency contract in the explanation of these relationships.

Details

Personnel Review, vol. 44 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

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