Temporal misfits and project management

critical incidents in a complex public project

This paper is a story about a complex public project. It is a story about institutions, projects and time and the role of project management. A number of previous studies on project organizing have emphasized the criticality of studying institutions and time, but, so far, no comprehensive efforts have been made to combine these notions in empirical investigations. To further the institutional analysis of institutions and time, this paper departs from the idea of “isochronism” (“same time”) and that actors who belong to the same institutional field tend to conform to similar timing norms with regard to when things should be done and how fast things should be done. However, in collaborations across institutions isochronism may cause profound organizational problems since actors with conflicting timing norms are supposed to be operationally aligned. These time norms, in a project organization context, may lead to contrasting time orientations which cause temporal misfits. How to identify and resolve temporal mis
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