Temporary Inter‐organizational Projects

Candace Jones and Benyamin B. Lichtenstein

in The Oxford Handbook of Inter-Organizational Relations

Published in print June 2008 | ISBN: 9780199282944
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management C

Temporary Inter‐organizational Projects

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  • Business and Management
  • Organizational Theory and Behaviour
  • Business Strategy



Inter-organizational projects (IOPs), in which multiple organizations work jointly on a shared activity for a limited period of time, are increasingly used to coordinate complex products/services in uncertain and competitive environments. For some time, project management researchers have examined the structures and processes within intra-organizational projects that lead to their success, and recently some outlines of a ‘theory’ of organizational projects have been offered. This article begins by defining IOPs. It then describes how temporal embeddedness and social embeddedness provide specific mechanisms for managing uncertainty associated with these projects, and facilitating collaboration amongst project actors. Next, it illustrates the insights by combining these two dimensions and exploring them across four contexts within which IOPs are the dominant form of coordination among organizations, including film, architecture, crisis response, and large-scale engineering infrastructure. Finally, it offers suggestions for future research and conclusions.

Keywords: inter-organizational projects; intra-organizational projects; film; architecture; crisis response; large-scale engineering infrastructure

Article.  10354 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Organizational Theory and Behaviour ; Business Strategy

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