Temporary Organizations
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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.
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Chapter 2: Research on Temporary Organizations: The State of the Art and Distinct Approaches Toward ‘Temporariness’

Martyna Janowicz-Panjaitan, René M. Bakker and Patrick Kenis


* Martyna Janowicz-Panjaitan, René M. Bakker and Patrick Kenis INTRODUCTION Temporary organizations (TOs) exist in a vast range of economic and social activities and across a range of industries. In the commercial sector, TOs may involve a joint effort to develop a new technology or product, bring about organizational renewal or enter a new market (Goodman and Goodman, 1972, 1976; Lundin and Söderholm, 1995). They are prevalent in industries such as engineering, construction, architecture, film making and theater production (Bechky, 2006; Ekstedt et al., 1992; Engwall, 2003; Goodman and Goodman, 1972, 1976; Morley and Silver, 1977). In the public and nonprofit sectors, they take the form of presidential commissions, court juries, election campaigns, rescue operations and disaster relief operations among others (Goodman and Goodman, 1976; Lundin and Söderholm, 1995). Although all TOs have an ex ante determined termination point, many of their other characteristics, such as goals, size and structure, may vary. Although TOs have been around for a long time in some sectors, like construction and engineering (Asheim, 2002), it is in the context of the socalled ‘new’ (or post-industrial) economy that they are receiving increased attention (Ekstedt et al., 1999). Thus, although the phenomenon of the temporary organization is not new, the attention it has been attracting in recent years is (Grabher, 2002). This increased attention is related to the assumption that organizations with a predefined termination point, such as project teams, are a crucial form for contemporary economic organizing (Grabher, 2002; Sydow et al., 2004). More...

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