How project teams cope with temporary organizing: The role of social boundary management strategies

Garcia-Lorenzo, Lucia; Kourti, Isidora and Yu, Ai. 2017. How project teams cope with temporary organizing: The role of social boundary management strategies. Academy of Management Proceedings, 2017(1), ISSN 0065-0668 [Article]

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This paper studies the relationship between temporary and permanent aspects in temporary organizing by looking at project work as boundary work. In particular, the paper examines how short-term project teams manage the multiple social boundaries generated by temporary organizing while pursuing project work in established organizations. The paper uses material from three longitudinal qualitative studies involving a total of 81 in-depth interviews, 36 observations of team meetings and 77 documents. The analysis of the qualitative data shows how these short-term teams maintain a balance between integrating with and staying separate from other project stakeholders to ensure that their activities fit into the existing organization, whilst at the same time leaving space for enough flexibility to ensure innovation. The results suggest that the tension between separation and integration strategies needs to be maintained rather than resolved if temporary project teams are to accomplish project work. The paper provides a novel contribution to our understanding of the role of boundaries in framing temporary project work in organizations through a focus on boundary work –a previously neglected but vital dimension- expanding our current conceptualization of project teams and temporary organizing

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Institute of Management Studies


1 May 2017Accepted
30 November 2017Published

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Date Deposited:

29 Jul 2018 20:41

Last Modified:

14 Apr 2021 08:58

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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