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.

Chapter 1: The Prevalence and Characteristics of Interorganizational Temporary Collaborations of Dutch Small and Medium-sized Firms (SMEs)

Leon A.G. Oerlemans, Jan M.P. de Kok and Jeroen P.J. de Jong

Subjects: business and management, organisation studies


Leon A.G. Oerlemans, Jan M.P. de Kok and Jeroen P.J. de Jong INTRODUCTION Teams – both permanent and temporary – are ubiquitous in organizations. Many scholars have studied permanent teams and are now undertaking research efforts to study the characteristics and performance of intraorganizational, or temporary teams, as well (Stewart, 2006). These studies have indicated that the number of organizations implementing team-based structures has rapidly increased and member characteristics such as team size and heterogeneity, the level of autonomy and intra-team coordination impact team performance (Devine et al., 1999). Due to increased levels of technological and market uncertainty, Jones and Lichtenstein (2008) have observed that in addition to intraorganizational teamwork, interorganizational teams and projects have become a phenomenon of increasing importance. In interorganizational teams and projects, multiple organizations collaborate on a shared activity, often for a limited period of time. They stated (pp. 231–232) that ‘this type of collaboration and coordination among two or more organizations has been observed in a wide range of industries such as advertising, construction, biotechnology, computers, film, financial services, and fashion, among others’. A crucial characteristic of these interorganizational projects, in contrast to more common forms of interorganizational coordination such as joint ventures and alliances, is that these collaborations are by definition temporary, existing for a limited period of time and terminated either at a pre-established point or when pre-specified goals are met. As Mathieu et al. (2008) observed, the increasing attention to temporary organizations fits into a more general trend in organization science in which...

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