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 5: The Atemporality of Temporary Organizations: Implications for Goal Attainment and Legitimacy

Martyna Janowicz-Panjaitan, Patrick Kenis and Patrick A.M. Vermeulen


Martyna Janowicz-Panjaitan, Patrick Kenis and Patrick A.M. Vermeulen INTRODUCTION Temporary organization (TO), a form of organizing that has been practiced for centuries, has been receiving increasing scholarly attention in recent years. While many questions related to TOs remain unanswered (Chapter 2, this volume), one thing has become clear – applying theories and concepts developed for non-temporary organizations to temporary organizations has limitations. While it is possible to apply some of these established theories to the study of temporary organizations, their generalizability diminishes drastically when temporariness – the distinguishing feature of TOs – is taken into account (Chapter 3). This is because temporariness is likely to lead to the emergence of some unique phenomena not encountered or encountered to a much lesser degree in non-temporary settings. Considering the above and the relative scarcity of theories specific to TOs, our understanding of the consequences that temporariness has for the functioning and outcomes of an organization is still limited. One reason for this limited understanding is the lack of consensus on what temporariness really means. As Janowicz-Panjaitan, Bakker and Kenis (Chapter 2) show, while temporariness is a term frequently encountered in the extant literature, its definition is ambiguous. For some scholars, temporariness is the short duration of an undertaking; others view it as the presence of the ex ante limited duration of an organization. And within the latter group, a number of scholars go further and stress the unique social processes that are likely to emerge when members of a TO are aware of its impending...

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