Temporary Organizations

Temporary Organizations

Prevalence, Logic and Effectiveness

Edited by Patrick Kenis, Martyna Janowicz-Panjaitan and Bart Cambré

This important and timely book provides a systematic treatment of temporary organizations – an increasingly prevalent organizational form in which organizations work together on a joint task – for example, a movie production, a rescue operation, development of a new product – for an ex ante limited period of time.

Preface and acknowledgements

Edited by Patrick Kenis, Martyna Janowicz-Panjaitan and Bart Cambré

Subjects: business and management, organisation studies

Extract

The journey from inception to completion of Temporary Organizations: Prevalence, Logic and Effectiveness was an exciting although, happily, a temporary one. It all began as an idea by a group of scholars in the Department of Organization Studies at Tilburg University, the Netherlands, who, in the course of our research, had observed an increasing prevalence of organizations getting together temporarily to accomplish a task. We had a common interest in temporary organizations and, as a group, have had years of experience studying organizational network relationships in a variety of contexts. By combining our knowledge of networks with our breadth of expertise about innovation, small and medium-sized enterprises and their challenges, organizational structure and motivation among others, we concluded that we might be able to understand and explain this phenomenon of interorganizational temporary organizations. We defined temporary organizations as two or more non-temporary organizations collaborating to accomplish a joint task with the duration of the collaboration explicitly and ex ante fixed. Early in our common discussions we discovered, first, that in practice interorganizational temporary organizations were more prevalent than we had expected and, second, that the topic was greatly understudied within the field of organization studies. There are, of course, a number of aspects of temporary organizations that have already been described and analyzed. For example, their relational structure or their properties as projects have been studied by some. What was interesting, however, was that temporary organizations have seldom been seen as a unique form of organizing, a uniqueness, we believe,...