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Clash of the Titans: Temporal organizing and collaborative dynamics in the Panama Canal Megaproject

Published on Dec 1, 2016in Organization Studies3.54
· DOI :10.1177/0170840616655489
A.H. van Marrewijk10
Estimated H-index: 10
,
Sierk Ybema16
Estimated H-index: 16
+ 2 AuthorsTyrone S. Pitsis13
Estimated H-index: 13
(University of Leeds)
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Abstract
Recent studies of temporary organizing and project-based work explain how organizational actors establish and maintain clear role structures and harmonious relations in the face of precariousness by engaging in stabilizing work practices. This focus upon ‘order’ undervalues conflict-ridden negotiations and power struggles in temporary organizing. This paper demonstrates that in temporary organizing conflict and order may exist in tandem. Drawing close to the collaborative dynamics in a large-scale global project, we analyse the political struggles over role patterns and hierarchic positioning of client and agent in the temporary organization of the Panama Canal Expansion Program (PCEP). In such projects, the agent typically takes the position of project leader. In this case however, the client was formally in charge, while the agent was assigned the role of coach and mentor. The diffuse hierarchy triggered project partners to engage in both harmony-seeking social and discursive practices and to enter into conflict-ridden negotiations over authority relations in the everyday execution of the PCEP project. Our study contributes to existing literatures on temporal organizing by presenting a case of simultaneous practices of harmonization and contestation over mutual roles and hierarchic positions. We also show that studying collaboration between project partners involves, not merely analysing project governance structures, but also offering a context-sensitive account of everyday social and discursive practices. Finally, we reflect on a view of ‘permanence’ and ‘temporariness’ as themselves contested categories and symbolic sites for struggle.
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  • References (41)
  • Citations (26)
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References41
Newest
Published on Jan 1, 2015
Neil Alderman14
Estimated H-index: 14
,
Chris Ivory11
Estimated H-index: 11
Published on Oct 1, 2014in International Journal of Project Management4.69
Leonore van den Ende3
Estimated H-index: 3
(VU: VU University Amsterdam),
Alfons van Marrewijk9
Estimated H-index: 9
(VU: VU University Amsterdam)
Abstract To manage the project life cycle and facilitate transitions, Project Management (PM) research often points to temporal models and structuring devices. However, the social and symbolic facet of transitions in projects remains understudied. Therefore, this research focuses on the ritualization of transitions in projects. Specifically, the aim is to gain insight into the practice and meaning of transition rituals in the project life cycle. To do so we draw from field research in the infras...
Published on Jul 1, 2014in International Journal of Project Management4.69
Graham Winch30
Estimated H-index: 30
(University of Manchester)
Abstract It has become axiomatic in research on project organising that projects are temporary organisations. Yet there are a number of challenges to this axiom: research on matrix organisation, the embeddedness of projects in project ecologies, and projectification all emphasise the relationship of the project to permanent organisations. Similarly, research on project-based firms and owner organisations which are relatively permanent challenges this axiom. This paper develops a conceptual frame...
Published on Jul 1, 2014in Organization2.70
Sierk Ybema16
Estimated H-index: 16
(VU: VU University Amsterdam)
Studies interested in the discursive use of ‘the past’ often view history as an organizational resource designed to create a shared origin and a common purpose, promoting a sense of continuity and commitment among organizational stakeholders. In this article, I view ‘history’ instead as a symbolic site for discursive struggles between proponents and opponents of organizational change. It shows how organizational actors use ‘traces’ of a collective past in their version of ‘the’ history to win co...
Published on Jul 1, 2014in International Journal of Project Management4.69
Andrew Davies30
Estimated H-index: 30
(UCL: University College London),
Ian Mackenzie3
Estimated H-index: 3
(Harvard University)
Our study of the London Olympics 2012 construction programme showed that systems integration is one of the major challenges involved in delivery of a complex – “system of systems” or array – project. Organizations cope with complexity by decomposing a project into different levels of systems integration with clearly-defined interfaces and buffers between levels and individual component subsystems. At the “meta systems integration” level, an organization has to be established with the capabilitie...
Published on Dec 20, 2013
Jane Ritchie4
Estimated H-index: 4
(University of Giessen),
Jane Lewis6
Estimated H-index: 6
+ 1 AuthorsRachel Ormston1
Estimated H-index: 1
The Foundations of Qualitative Research - Rachel Ormston, Liz Spencer, Matt Barnard, Dawn Snape The Applications of Qualitative Methods to Social Research - Jane Ritchie and Rachel Ormston Design Issues - Jane Lewis and Carol McNaughton Nicholls Ethics of Qualitative Research - Stephen Webster, Jane Lewis and Ashley Brown Designing and Selecting Samples - Jane Ritchie, Jane Lewis, Gilliam Elam, Rosalind Tennant and Nilufer Rahim Designing Fieldwork - Sue Arthur, Martin Mitchell, Jane Lewis and C...
Published on Jan 1, 2013
Clegg1
Estimated H-index: 1
,
Kristian Kreiner14
Estimated H-index: 14
Published on May 1, 2012in International Journal of Project Management4.69
Joe Sanderson10
Estimated H-index: 10
(University of Birmingham)
Abstract This article critically discusses different explanations for the performance problems exhibited by many megaprojects, and examines the proposed governance solutions. It proposes a three-fold typology of explanations and solutions by examining authors’ epistemological assumptions about decision-maker cognition and about decision-maker views on the nature of the future. It argues that despite important differences in their epistemological orientation, these explanations share an acceptanc...
Published on May 1, 2012in Organization Science3.26
David Courpasson16
Estimated H-index: 16
(EMLYON Business School),
Françoise Dany10
Estimated H-index: 10
(EMLYON Business School),
Stewart Clegg56
Estimated H-index: 56
(UTS: University of Technology, Sydney)
Research has recognized the transformative dimension of resistance in the workplace. Yet resistance is still seen as an adversarial and antagonistic process that management can accept or reject; thus, understanding how resistance can actually influence workplace change remains a challenge for research. In this paper, we offer an analysis of two situations of resistance wherein resisters, organized in temporary enclaves, are able to influence top management's decisions and produce eventual change...
Published on Mar 1, 2012in Scandinavian Journal of Management1.42
Sierk Ybema16
Estimated H-index: 16
(VU: VU University Amsterdam),
Marlous Vroemisse1
Estimated H-index: 1
(VU: VU University Amsterdam),
Alfons van Marrewijk9
Estimated H-index: 9
(VU: VU University Amsterdam)
Summary Organizational studies of collective identity tend to describe how identities are discursively enacted through claims of a group's uniqueness and the articulation of distinctions between a putative ‘us’ and ‘them’. The ethnographic case study presented in this paper describes organizational actors’ collective identity talk which follows a fundamentally dissimilar pattern. Staff members of an international non-governmental organization (NGO) – a Dutch human rights organization working in ...
Cited By26
Newest
Published on Jan 8, 2019in Production Planning & Control3.34
Maxwell Chipulu7
Estimated H-index: 7
(University of Southampton),
Udechukwu Ojiako11
Estimated H-index: 11
(UOS: University of Sharjah)
+ 8 AuthorsStuart Maguire14
Estimated H-index: 14
(University of Sheffield)
Driven by an interest in developing a deeper understanding of stakeholder interests, this study undertakes a dimensional analysis of how different stakeholders assess project outcomes. Most importantly, in our analysis, we take into consideration the largely unaccounted-for conceptual difference between project success and project failure. Data were collected over a two-year period (between 2013 and 2015) from 1631 project stakeholders in nine countries. We analysed the survey data using three-w...
Published on Jan 1, 2019in International Journal of Project Management4.69
Marina Bos-de Vos1
Estimated H-index: 1
(TU Delft: Delft University of Technology),
Leentje Volker8
Estimated H-index: 8
(TU Delft: Delft University of Technology)
+ 0 AuthorsHans Wamelink3
Estimated H-index: 3
(TU Delft: Delft University of Technology)
Abstract Project-based firms have to capture value from the projects in which they engage. This can be challenging as firms need to reconcile project goals and organizational goals while attempting to avoid the slippage of value to other actors. Drawing on interviews with architects and clients, this research reveals how architectural firms used the strategies of postponing financial revenues in a project , c ompensating for loss of financial revenues across projects and rejecting a project to a...
Published on Jul 1, 2019
Marina Bos-de Vos1
Estimated H-index: 1
(TU Delft: Delft University of Technology),
Bente Lieftink1
Estimated H-index: 1
(Radboud University Nijmegen),
Kristina Lauche14
Estimated H-index: 14
(Radboud University Nijmegen)
Published on Jun 27, 2019in Organization Studies3.54
Gemma Irving1
Estimated H-index: 1
(UQ: University of Queensland),
Oluremi B. Ayoko15
Estimated H-index: 15
(UQ: University of Queensland),
Neal M. Ashkanasy46
Estimated H-index: 46
(UQ: University of Queensland)
Despite the adoption of collaborative buildings and office spaces to improve collaboration, the expected benefits of spatial interventions often fail to materialize. In a study of an ostensibly ‘co...
Published on Jun 25, 2019in Production Planning & Control3.34
Yacoub Petro (Stantec), Udechukwu Ojiako11
Estimated H-index: 11
(Nnamdi Azikiwe University)
+ 1 AuthorsAlasdair Marshall7
Estimated H-index: 7
(University of Southampton)
AbstractThe aim of this study is to assess the ability of project portfolio management practices to support the pursuit of ambidexterity at the project level through engagement with specific dimensions and mechanisms. The focus is on examining the operating/business model and challenges that are imposed on the firms, but deemed resolvable through the simultaneous pursuit of multiple projects emphasizing contradictory strategic goals. Data are obtained from multiple exploratory interviews of seni...
Published on May 9, 2019in British Journal of Management2.75
Michael J. Gill5
Estimated H-index: 5
(University of Oxford),
Gerry McGivern10
Estimated H-index: 10
(Warw.: University of Warwick)
+ 3 AuthorsSue Dopson30
Estimated H-index: 30
(University of Oxford)
Organizational scholars increasingly view institutionalization as a process through which actors adapt or translate seemingly successful practices in a field to create variations that are specific to their own organization. Yet little is known about how outsiders who seek to diffuse ‘best practice’ affect translation. We examined interactions between management consultants and their clients in two different consulting projects, which focused on embedding the practice of ‘lean’ in one and the pra...
Thant Syn6
Estimated H-index: 6
(TAMIU: Texas A&M International University),
Arkalgud Ramaprasad18
Estimated H-index: 18
(UIC: University of Illinois at Chicago)
Purpose Megaprojects are symbolic milestones of human history. Most megaprojects are one-of-a-kind endeavors to which traditional project management principles are neither applicable nor suitable, rendering the holistic study of megaprojects especially difficult. There is no systemic framework that can help systematically assess and guide megaprojects and megaproject research. In the absence of such a framework there is a significant risk of bias in planning the projects and the topics researche...
Published on Jun 1, 2019in International Journal of Project Management4.69
Eric Daniel (Skema Business School), Pierre A. Daniel1
Estimated H-index: 1
(Skema Business School)
Abstract Megaprojects are complex projects which impact millions of people, involve public and private stakeholders, and present challenges related to decision making and performance shortfalls. They are relevant cases for studying faulty management thinking as well as performance evolutions and self-organizing dynamics. Our paper builds on the theory of Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) to understand and model processes of evolution in the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant megaproject. The resul...
Published on May 16, 2019in Project Management Journal2.04
Zhen Zhang (SDNU: Shandong Normal University), Lianying Zhang2
Estimated H-index: 2
(College of Management and Economics),
Aibin Li
Published on Apr 15, 2019in Organization Studies3.54
Ann L Cunliffe1
Estimated H-index: 1
(FGV: Fundação Getúlio Vargas),
Karen Locke16
Estimated H-index: 16
(W&M: College of William & Mary)
This paper sheds light on an issue we all face, how to work with differences encountered in our everyday interactions with each other when the outcome of the exchange is not simply up to us. Our co...