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Managing temporal misfits in institutional environments: A study of critical incidents in a complex public project
BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, Norway).
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Business Administration. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. BI Norwegian School of Management, Oslo, Norway. (KITE)
2013 (English)In: International Journal of Managing Projects in Business/Emerald, ISSN 1753-8378, Vol. 6, no 3, 552-575 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose – The aim of this paper is to conceptualize time as an important dimension of institutions and, more specifically, to develop the analysis of institutions, time, and temporal misfits. The paper explores these matters in the context of an inter-institutional project where actors, who represent different organizational fields and respond to different institutional requirements with regards to time and timing, need to collaborate.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper centers on three critical incidents taken from a study of a large-scale telecom project in Norway. The paper is based on an analysis of public documents and 35 interviews with key stakeholders and managers in the focal project.

Findings – This research shows that temporal misfits are a critical, yet understudied, element of project organizing. The paper suggests and discusses three primary measures – detecting, correcting, and escaping – that project management makes use of to resolve temporal misfits among the actors involved. To advance the analysis of problems facing projects in institutionally-bounded settings, the paper proposes a typology of temporal misfits (phase and tempo) and different types of complexity (analyzable and systemic).

Practical implications – Although purposeful in many instances, especially in collaborations across institutional boundaries, timing norms may cause profound organizational problems due to temporal misfits among the actors involved. The paper argues that project managers need to identify and be prepared for such organizational problem by being equipped with a repertoire of resolution strategies to handle them. New concepts and approaches are needed to identify and deal with temporal misfits among important stakeholders in projects.

Originality/value – A number of previous studies on project organizing have emphasized the critical aspects of studying institutions and time; but to date, no comprehensive efforts have been made to combine these ideas in empirical investigations. This study emphasizes the criticality of timing norms and temporal misfits to enhance our understanding of the linkages between projects, institutions, and time.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2013. Vol. 6, no 3, 552-575 p.
Keyword [en]
Institutions, Inter-institutional project, Isochronism, Norway, Organizations, Project management, Projects, Telecommunication, Time, Time-based management, Timing norm
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-101102DOI: 10.1108/IJMPB-03-2012-0006OAI: diva2:665271
Available from: 2013-11-19 Created: 2013-11-19 Last updated: 2013-12-02Bibliographically approved

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Söderlund, Jonas
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