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 8: The Resource Dilemma of Temporary Organizations: A Dynamic Perspective on Temporal Embeddedness and Resource Discretion

René M. Bakker, Bart Cambré and Keith G. Provan


René M. Bakker, Bart Cambré and Keith G. Provan INTRODUCTION Ever since seminal work dating back to Penrose (1959), Wernerfelt (1984) and Barney (1991, 1996), resources have gained widespread attention as crucial factors affecting organizational performance. Moreover, theories such as the Resource Based View (RBV) and Resource Dependency Theory (RDT) have, over the years, successfully staked claims to give center stage to resources in organizational analysis. Building on this resource-centered view, in this chapter we will attempt to contribute to the nascent field of temporary organizations (TOs) by exploring the resource dilemma faced by this particular form of organization and by formulating a number of testable propositions. On one hand, TOs depend on others for resources while, on the other, they require autonomy. Our central premise is that, based on this conflict, TOs face a dilemma regarding resource dependence. This dilemma is due in part to TOs’ dependence on a limited set of outside sources for their resource needs. In contrast to non-temporary organizations, TOs generally lack the time to build up regimes to produce their own assets and slack resources. As Lundin and Söderholm mention (1995, p. 439), three of their four defining concepts of TOs are ‘constituted by resource allocations’ from an outside source to the TO. Thus, a TO’s resource base heavily depends on its founders, one or several parent organizations (POs) that collectively decide to develop a TO for working on a joint project. This means that generally TOs rely heavily on allocated resources over...

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