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The rise of project network organizations: Building core teams and flexible partner pools for interorganizational projects


  • Manning, Stephan


This study shifts attention from project-based firms (PBFs) to project network organizations (PNOs) as increasingly important interorganizational contexts of project collaboration. As a result of organizational specialization, PNOs have emerged as generic organizational forms combining the coordination capacity of PBFs with the resource richness of networks. PNOs connect legally independent, yet often operationally interdependent individuals and organizations in strategically coordinated sets of core project teams and flexible partner pools that sustain beyond singular projects. Based on an empirical review of PNOs in film, event organizing, construction, complex product and system development, research, open innovation and international development, core features, antecedents and differentiating properties of PNOs are identified. Structural differences are related to project variety and connectivity, degree of specialization and geographic concentration of resources. Findings extend our understanding of interorganizational project coordination across fields, and the interplay of PBFs, networks and project entrepreneurship.

Suggested Citation

  • Manning, Stephan, 2017. "The rise of project network organizations: Building core teams and flexible partner pools for interorganizational projects," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(8), pages 1399-1415.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:46:y:2017:i:8:p:1399-1415
    DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2017.06.005

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    2. Turner, James A. & Klerkx, Laurens & White, Toni & Nelson, Tracy & Everett-Hincks, Julie & Mackay, Alec & Botha, Neels, 2017. "Unpacking systemic innovation capacity as strategic ambidexterity: How projects dynamically configure capabilities for agricultural innovation," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 503-523.
    3. Sylvain Lenfle & Jonas Söderlund, 2019. "Large-Scale Innovative Projects as Temporary Trading Zones: Toward an Interlanguage Theory," Post-Print hal-02390158, HAL.

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