Sub-theme 53: Organizing in Projects and Temporary Organizations

Jaakko Kujala
University of Oulu, Finland
Hans Georg Gemünden
University of Technology Berlin, Germany
Thomas G. Lechler
Howe School, Stevens Institute of Technology, USA

Call for Papers


Organizations initiate projects and participate in projects to improve innovative capacity, to carry out fast changes, and to enhance adaptive capability. Projects can be seen as a source of competitive advantage and they can serve as strategic arenas to develop new capabilities that can be reused in future business (Davies & Hobday, 2005), and as bridges across organizations in networks and project ecologies (Grabher, 2002; Sydow et al., 2004). A parallel development trajectory is tied to the role of projects in accommodating complex business transactions. The importance of project-based modes of organizing work has been recognized in a wide range of industries, and project-based modes have even been said to represent a new logic of organizing in market based economics (Whitley, 2006).

Projects and project-based firms provide a rich context for studying different organizational phenomena and temporary organizations. The context is characterized by complex projects that are implemented in dynamic environments and consist of multiple firms in various roles, with each firm and project having their own business objectives. Although project research has developed quite independently from organization science, there is an increasing amount of high quality academic research addressing the project way of organizing from different theoretical perspectives. One such stream of research is organizational capabilities and learning, which has been extensively studied in the context of project-based firms (Brady & Davies, 2000; Prencipe & Tell, 2001; Ibert, 2004; Sydow et al., 2004, Manning & Sydow, 2011).

Project research is multidisciplinary in nature and the aim of this sub-theme is to provide an arena for scholars from different theoretical backgrounds to discuss their research findings and advance project research by identifying the most relevant theoretical discourses. We are looking for papers from different theoretical perspectives that recognize the special contextual characteristics of projects and project-based organizations in their quest to advance organizational and management research. Such perspectives include:

  • Relationship between permanent and temporary organizations
  • Process and longitudinal research to uncover changes and their mechanisms
  • Routines in temporary organizations
  • Governance of complex transactions
  • Networks and interorganizational relationships
  • Stakeholder management
  • Contingencies in managing temporary organizations
  • Organizational capabilities and learning
  • Innovation management



Please note!

The German Project Management Association (GPM,, member of International Project Management Association (IPMA), will sponsor the participation of up to 3 doctoral students (max. ¤ 1,000 each) in sub-theme 53.

Prospective candidates whose short paper has been accepted by the convenors of sub-theme 53 should apply until April 1, 2012, to Reinhard Wagner (



Davies, A. & T. Brady (2000): "Organizational capabilities and learning in complex product systems: Towards repeatable solutions." Research Policy, 29, 931–953
Davies, A. & M. Hobday (2005): The Business of Projects. Managing Innovation in Complex Products and Systems. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Grabher, G. (2002): "The project ecology of advertising: tasks, talents and teams." Regional Studies, 36 (3), 245–262
Ibert, O. (2004); "Projects and firms as discordant complements: Organisational learning in the Munich software ecology." Research Policy, 33, 1529–1546
Manning, S. & J. Sydow (2011): "Projects, paths and practices: sustaining and leveraging project-based relationships." Industrial and Corporate Change, 20 (2), 1–34
Prencipe, A. & F. Tell (2001): "Inter-project learning: processes and outcomes of knowledge codification in project-based firms." Research Policy, 30, 1373–1394
Sydow, J., L. Lindkvist & R. DeFillippi (2004): Project-based organizations, embeddedness and repositories of knowledge." Organizational Studies, 25 (9), 1475–1489
Whitley, R. (2006): "Project-based firms: new organizational form or variations on a theme?" Industrial and Corporate Change, 15 (1), 77–99
Windeler, A. & J. Sydow (2001): "Project networks and changing industry practices: Collaborative content production in the German television industry." Organization Studies, 22 (6), 1035–1060


Jaakko Kujala Dr. Jaakko Kujala is professor of project and quality management at the Department of industrial Engineering and Management at the University of Oulu, Finland, and adjunct professor at the Helsinki University of Technology, where he is actively working with the Project Business research group (PB). He has over ten years’ experience in industry, while working in international automation system project business before his career in the academia. He has initiated and served as a director for several large research projects with the participation of leading project-based firms, such as Nokia Siemens Networks, Kone, Wärtsilä, Metso, and Outotec. His current research interests include contextual variables in project-based firms and project networks, business models in project-based firms, and stakeholder management in the project business context. His list of publications include over 80 reviewed research papers, books or book chapters in the area of project business.
Hans Georg Gemünden Prof. Dr. rer. oec. habil. Hans Georg Gemünden is a full tenured Professor at the Berlin University of Technology. He has the Chair for Technology and Innovation Management. From 1988 to 2000 he was the Director of the Institute for Applied Ma¬nagement Science and Corporate Strategy of the University of Karlsruhe, and the Dean of his former Faculty of Economics and Busi¬ness Administration from 1990-1992. He received his "Diplomkaufmann" (equivalent to an MBA) and his Dr. rer. oec. at the University of Saarbrücken, and his habilitation degree at the Univer¬sity of Kiel. He was Vice Dean of the Faculty for Management and Economics of the University of Technology of Berlin from 2003-2007. From 2004-2007 he was responsible for the Industrial Engineering Program (Wirtschaftsingenieur) and introduced five new bachelor and nine new master programs. The Industrial Engineering Program is the largest teaching pro¬gram at the TU Berlin, involving six of its seven Faculties. Actually he is building up a Depart¬ment in Technology and Innovation Management, a Master in Innovation Management, and a structured Doctoral Program in Innovation Research - together with a group of colleagues at Berlin University of Technology in the Faculty for Management and Economics. He was Chairman of the Technology and Innovation Management Division of the Association of University Professors of Management (Verband der Hochschullehrer für Betrieb¬swirtschaft¬slehre) from 2000-2002 and Chairman of the Scientific Board of the German Innovation Survey of the German Ministery of Technology and Education from 1999 until 2004. He is representative-at-large of the TIM Division of th Academy of Management. He was a member of the Advisory Board of Hauck & Aufhäuser (Private Bank) from 2000-2007. He is a mem¬ber of the supervisory board (Aufsichtsrat) of ThyssenKrupp Technologies AG (ca. 50,000 employ¬ees), and InnoZ (Innovative Joint Venture of Deutsche Telekom AG, Deutsche Bahn AG and DaimlerChrysler AG). In 2009 Prof. Gemünden chaired the Jury of NRW.Gruendet. Since 2009 he is the Chairman of the Advisory Board of EXIST. EXIST is a support programme of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) aimed at improving the entrepreneurial environment at universities and research institutes and at increasing the number of technology and knowledge based company formations. The EXIST programme is part of the German government’s “Hightech Strategy for Germany” and is co-financed by funding of the European Social Fund (ESF). He has published several books and many articles in the fields of innova¬tion and technology management, entrepreneurship, project management, business policy and strategy, marketing, hu¬man information behaviour and decision making, and accounting, published in journals like Organization Science, Research Policy, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Creativity and Innovation Management, International Journal of Research in Marketing, Journal of Busi¬ness Research, Management International Review, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Manage¬ment, R&D Management, International Journal of Project Management, Projektmanagement, Die Betriebswirtschaft, Schmalenbachs Business Review, Schmalenbachs Zeitschrift für be¬triebswirtschaftliche Forschung, Zeitschrift für Betriebswirtschaft, Journal für Betrieb¬swirtschaft, Die Unternehmung.
Thomas G. Lechler Dr. Thomas G. Lechler was educated at the University of Karlsruhe, Germany and received the degrees of Diplom Wirtschaftsingenieuer and Ph.D. in Management. At present he is Associate Professor at the Howe School, Stevens Institute of Technology. He is a member of the PMI, GPM and the Academy of Management. His research focuses on the value creation through innovation with particular emphasis on the management of projects and the recognition and exploitation of business opportunities. His work is published in numerous top technology management journals. For his research he has received numerous research grants from NSF and other funding organizations. In particular he has received two PMI research grants to explore the management opportunity and uncertainty during project implementation. The title of the current research project with his colleague Dr. Byrne is: The Gestalt of Project Opportunities Recognized and Exploited During Project Implementation. He was a NASA research fellow in project management from 2003-2005. In 2010 he received with his co-authors, Terence J. Cooke-Davies, and Lynn H. Crawford the best paper award from the Journal of Project Management with the title: Project Management Systems: Moving Project Management From an Operational to a Strategic Discipline