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The Institutional Embeddedness of Project Networks: The Case of Content Production in German Television


  • Jorg Sydow
  • Udo Staber


Project networks are an organizational form of production and exchange among functionally interdependent but legally autonomous firms and individuals. Although these networks are of limited duration, co-ordination of actors and activities takes place with respect to past experiences and future expectations. Project networks depend on supportive institutions in the surrounding organizational field to provide the regulative and normative resources within which practices are given meaning. In this paper, we explore the role of 'institutional thickness' for the performance of project networks in television content production in two media regions in Germany. We use GIDDENS', 1984, structuration perspective, to emphasize the dynamics and ambiguities of institutional processes. The analysis suggests that the two media regions differ in institutional thickness in ways which explain, at least in part, differences in the growth and viability of project networks. Les reseaux de projet constituent une forme organisationnelle de production et d'echange parmi des entreprises et des individus qui sont interdependants du point de vue fonctionnel mais autonomes sur le plan juridique. Malgre la duree de vie limitee de ces reseaux-la, la coordination des acteurs et des activites a lieu en fonction des experiences du passeet des attentes futures. Les reseaux de projet dependent des organismes de soutien situes dans le domaine organisationnel environnant afin de fournir les ressources regulatrices et normatives au sein desquelles les pratiques se voient donner un sens. Cet article cherche a examiner le role de l'ancrage institutionnel pour ce qui est de la performance des reseaux de projet dans la production du fond et de la forme dans la television de deux regions d'importance mediatique en Allemagne. On se sert de la perspective stucturante de GIDDENS, 1984, pour souligner la dynamique et l'ambiguite des processus institutionnels. L'analyse laisse voir que deux regions se distinguent du point de vie de leur ancrage institutionnel d'une facon qui explique, du moins en partie, les differences de la croissance et de la viabilite des reseaux de projet. Projektnetzwerke sind eine Organisationsform okonomischer Aktivitaten von zwar rechtlich selbstandigen, jedoch funktional interdependenten Unternehmungen bzw. Unternehmern, die fur eine begrenzte Zeit--ein Projekt--zusammenkommen, ihre Zusammenarbeit allerdings im Lichte ihrer bisherigen Erfahrungen und im Schatten ihrer zukunftigen Erwartungen koordinieren. Projektnetzwerke sind dabei auf die Unterstutzung durch Institutionen in dem organisationalen Feld angewiesen, die ihnen den Zugriff auf Ressourcen ermoglichen und Sinn und Legitimitat verfugbar machen. In diesem Beitrag wird die Rolle von "institutional thickness" fur die Performanz von Projektnetzwerken im Feld der Content-Produktion fur das Fernsehen in zwei deutschen Medienregionen untersucht. Dies geschieht auf der Grundlage der Giddens' schen Strukturationstheorie, die die Dynamik und Ambiguitat von Institutionalisierungsprozessen betont. Die Analyse zeigt, dass die zwei untersuchten Regionen sich hinsichtlich der institutionellen Dichte signifikant unterscheiden. Dies erklart--zumindest zum Teil--die Wachstums- und Erfolgsdifferenzen der Netzwerke und Regionen.

Suggested Citation

  • Jorg Sydow & Udo Staber, 2002. "The Institutional Embeddedness of Project Networks: The Case of Content Production in German Television," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(3), pages 215-227.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:regstd:v:36:y:2002:i:3:p:215-227 DOI: 10.1080/00343400220122034

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Zukauskaite , Elena & Plechero , Monica & Trippl , Michaela, 2016. "Institutional Thickness Revisited," Papers in Innovation Studies 2016/1, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
    2. Mangematin, V. & Blanco, S. & Deschamp, B. & Genet, C. & Kahane, B., 2006. "Project management : learning by breaking the rules," Working Papers 200604, Grenoble Applied Economics Laboratory (GAEL).
    3. repec:eee:respol:v:46:y:2017:i:8:p:1399-1415 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Michaela Trippl & Markus Grillitsch & Arne Isaksen & Tanja Sinozic, 2015. "Perspectives on Cluster Evolution: Critical Review and Future Research Issues," European Planning Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(10), pages 2028-2044, October.
    5. Charlie Karlsson & Robert G. Picard, 2011. "Media Clusters: What Makes them Unique?," Chapters,in: Media Clusters, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. Apitzsch, Birgit, 2006. "Unternehmensnetzwerke und soziale Einbettung: Begriffliche Bestimmungen, Funktionen und Entstehungsbedingungen," Duisburger Beiträge zur soziologischen Forschung 3/2006, University of Duisburg-Essen, Institute of Sociology.
    7. Schwartz, Michael & Hornych, Christoph, 2008. "Technologie- und Gründerzentren im Lichte von Diversifizierung versus Spezialisierung," IWH Discussion Papers 7/2008, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    8. Yvan Renou & Damien Rousselière, 2006. "L'organisation réticulaire dans le capitalisme de l'innovation intensive à la lumière des pratiques de gestion au sein de l'industrie culturelle : vers un paradigme "créatif" et "cognit," Post-Print halshs-00103870, HAL.
    9. Karlsson, Charlie & Rouchy, Philippe, 2013. "Media clusters and metropolitan knowledge economy," Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation 328, Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies.
    10. Vicentini, Francesca & Boccardelli, Paolo, 2016. "Career diversity and project performance in the Italian television industry," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(7), pages 2380-2387.
    11. Silvia Rita Sedita & Roberta Apa, "undated". "Contractors networks in public procurement projects: The case of the construction industry in the Veneto region," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0193, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
    12. Harold Bathelt, 2011. "Munich’s Media Cluster at the Crossroads," Chapters,in: Media Clusters, chapter 7 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    13. repec:spr:manint:v:57:y:2017:i:6:d:10.1007_s11575-017-0327-x is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Simon Deakin & Ana Lourenço & Stephen Pratten, 2009. "No "third way" for economic organization: Networks and quasi-markets in broadcasting," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(1), pages 51-75, February.
    15. Leona Achtenhagen & Robert Picard, 2014. "Challenges and success factors in media cluster development: a review of contemporary knowledge," Chapters,in: Agglomeration, Clusters and Entrepreneurship, chapter 10, pages 221-251 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    16. Allen Scott, 2006. "Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Industrial Development: Geography and the Creative Field Revisited," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 1-24, February.
    17. Udo Staber, 2010. "A Social-Evolutionary Perspective on Regional Clusters," Chapters,in: The Handbook of Evolutionary Economic Geography, chapter 10 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    18. Lars Frederiksen & Silvia Rita Sedita, 2005. "Embodied Knowledge Transfer Comparing inter-firm labor mobility in the music industry and manufacturing industries," DRUID Working Papers 05-14, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
    19. Leona Achtenhagen & Robert G. Picard, 2011. "Media Clusters: Development Paths and Core Issues," Chapters,in: Media Clusters, chapter 3 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    20. Straßheim, Holger, 2004. "Power in intercommunal knowledge networks: on the endogenous dynamics of network governance and knowledge creation," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Innovation and Organization SP III 2004-104, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    21. Ibert, Oliver, 2004. "Projects and firms as discordant complements: organisational learning in the Munich software ecology," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(10), pages 1529-1546, December.
    22. Gernot Grabher, 2002. "Cool Projects, Boring Institutions: Temporary Collaboration in Social Context," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(3), pages 205-214.
    23. Peter B. Doeringer & Pacey Foster & Stephan Manning & David Terkla, 2013. "Project-based industries and craft-like production: structure, location and performance," Chapters,in: Handbook of Industry Studies and Economic Geography, chapter 4, pages 99-151 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    24. Ansgar Dorenkamp & Ivo Mossig, 2010. "Economic Policy and its Impact on the Evolution of Clusters and Spatial Systems Exemplified by German TV Programme Production," Chapters,in: Emerging Clusters, chapter 3 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    25. Ibert, Oliver, 2009. "Innovationsorientierte Planung und das Problem des episodischen Lernens," Arbeitsmaterial der ARL: Aufsätze,in: Innovationen im Raum - Raum für Innovationen: 11. Junges Forum der ARL, 21. bis 23. Mai 2008 in Berlin, pages 18-28 Akademie für Raumforschung und Landesplanung (ARL) - Leibniz-Forum für Raumwissenschaften.


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