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 6: Proximity in Temporary Organizations

Joris Knoben and Tobias Gössling

Subjects: business and management, organisation studies


Joris Knoben and Tobias Gössling INTRODUCTION Between 1990 and 2006, academic and business research about collaboration increased by roughly 725 per cent. During this time there was also an increasing emphasis on interorganizational collaboration (IOC) in the academic literature.1 The underlying reason for this increased attention is that IOC has become a common phenomenon. Simply stated, organizations increasingly tend not to do their tasks themselves but in collaboration with others. IOC is a term used to describe the collaboration between two or more organizations that is distinct from both market interaction and hierarchical relationships (see Powell et al., 1996; Lawrence et al., 2002). Not all IOCs are similar, however. Many different types of IOCs exist, all with specific characteristics, different levels of importance and different (expected) outcomes. Proximity is one of several core concepts used in IOC research. There is a large and growing body of empirical literature that shows that different forms of proximity have an impact on the functioning and outcomes of IOCs (see Knoben and Oerlemans, 2006, for an overview). To a large extent this proximity literature treats all IOCs alike, all having the same ways of organizing. However, as stated above, there are many different types of IOCs whose characteristics are likely to impact the role and importance of different forms of proximity. In this chapter, we reject the homogeneity assumption that all IOCs are alike. To illustrate our position, we focus on one form of IOC, temporary organizations (TOs) and the concept of proximity....

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