Searching for a common tone – Responding to institutional complexity in temporary organizing

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperScientific


Research units

  • RMIT University
  • University of Oulu


Projects, as temporary organizations, are strongly affected by their surrounding institutional environments. Multiple different prescriptions of legitimate behavior, institutional logics, are simultaneously prevalent in inter-organizational projects potentially causing institutional complexity. Only little research has discussed how institutional complexity is responded in temporary organizing. We address the question in a single case study of a large infrastructure alliance project. Our case study describes project alliancing as a response to goal conflicts partially caused by the institutional complexity. The findings illustrate how a group of individuals, capable of agentic behavior, modified the institutionalized contractual arrangements to form a project collaborative alliance culture between multiple organizations. We develop a conceptual model showing how higher level institutional logics are reproduced in projects through professional and organizational roles, but also how individuals can engage into institutional boundary and practice work and alter these taken-for-granted assumptions by introducing new organizational practices from different institutional setting. These practices help forming a novel prescription of legitimate action within a temporary organization. The multi-level model combines institutional, organizational and individual levels advancing our understanding on institutional complexity in temporary organization and opens avenues for further research.


Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2017
EventEuropean Group for Organizational Studies Colloquium - Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 6 Jul 20178 Jul 2017
Conference number: 33


ConferenceEuropean Group for Organizational Studies Colloquium
Abbreviated titleEGOS

ID: 16971760