Understanding institutional change in project-based organizing

Holti, Richard (2011). Understanding institutional change in project-based organizing. Journal of Applied Behavioural Science, 47(3) pp. 360–394.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0021886311405145

Abstract

This article concerns what is involved in breaking out of entrenched adversarial models for running interorganizational projects within the construction sector. It presents data from two case studies that sought to establish a more collaborative project model. Drawing on literatures about institutional change and interorganizational collaboration, the analysis indicates the importance of three kinds of activities. First, it is possible to mobilize potential for change present within existing institutionalized models by selecting a kernel of participating organizations known to have the capabilities to operationalize collaboration. Second, adopting techniques for working together that make explicit the need to balance project objectives with organizational-level commercial viability leads to the enactment of routines through which a wider pool of project participants can develop a sense of competence and confidence in collaboration. Third, there is a necessity to preserve a unified system of authority within the project that ensures adherence to collaborative routines, although otherwise encouraging autonomy in decision making.

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