Clash of the Titans: Temporal organizing and collaborative dynamics in the Panama Canal Megaproject
journal contributionposted on 2023-07-26, 14:20 authored by Alfons van Marrewijk, Sierk Ybema, Karen Smits, Stewart Clegg, Tyrone Pitsis
Large-scale, global projects require inter-organizational collaboration (Jones & Lichtenstein, 2008) across national, cultural and political boundaries (Orr & Scott, 2008) between public, private and third sector organizations (Ainamo, et al., 2010) over a finite period. Global projects, defined as temporary endeavours where multiple actors seek to optimize outcomes by combining resources from multiple sites, organizations, cultures, and geographies through a combination of contractual, hierarchical, and network-based modes of organization (Scott, Levitt, & Orr, 2011: 17), potentially constitute highly unstable and complex, potentially conflict-ridden contexts for collaboration. Expert employees of diverse permanent organizations are assembled to carry out a specific project; assembly is project specific, typically with a limited history of working together and limited prospects of collaborating in the future (Meyerson, Weick, & Kramer, 1996). Usually, roles are not highly prescribed or formally fixed but rather ambiguous (Morrison, 1994). Viewed from the outside, the long timelines, sophisticated organizational arrangements and sheer size of global projects might give the appearance of a relatively stable, almost permanent organization. From within, however, a large-scale project appears as a fleeting constellation of multiple, interrelated subprojects and several stakeholders collaborating in shifting alliances (Van Marrewijk, et al., 2008).
Publication titleOrganization Studies
- Published version