Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to review the content and contributions of the book by Sayles and Chandler entitled Managing Large Systems: Organizations for the Future. The paper seeks to uncover the elements of the nature and elements of project organizing presented in the book.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper presents the main ideas in the book, along with a few important issues to organization theory, including interdependence, timing, and the role of project management.
Findings – The paper demonstrates that the book by Sayles and Chandler presents an early attempt of formulating a theory of project organization. The embryonic theory is based on insights about the importance of interdependence and time in understanding different forms of project organizing and the role of project management.
Originality/value – The present paper is especially concerned with the ideas presented in the book that relate to time and timing in project organization. Although these issues are well addressed in the book by Sayles and Chandler, they are currently pressing, yet typically ignored in much project management research. Previous research has given limited attention to the insights presented in this book published more than 40 years ago. In that respect, the ideas presented in the book by Sayles and Chandler seems to have had more impact on organization theory than on project management, although, the book as such is undoubtedly a study of project organizing and the management of projects. This observation thus sheds some new light on the conventional thinking, and somewhat simplified idea, about the unidirectional relationship between organization theory and project management.
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2012. Vol. 5, no 4, 617-633 p.