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Managing temporal misfits in institutional environments A study of critical incidents in a complex public project

Managing temporal misfits in institutional environments A study of critical incidents in a... 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. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Managing Projects in Business Emerald Publishing

Managing temporal misfits in institutional environments A study of critical incidents in a complex public project

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2013 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1753-8378
DOI
10.1108/IJMPB-03-2012-0006
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

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.

Journal

International Journal of Managing Projects in BusinessEmerald Publishing

Published: Jun 14, 2013

Keywords: Project management; Organizations; Projects; Institutions; Time‐based management; Time; Isochronism; Timing norm; Inter‐institutional project; Norway; Telecommunication

References