Towards a theory of temporary multi-organizations: Implications for project sucess

Amos Peter Haniff, Stephen Olubodunwa Ogunlana

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the Lundin and Soderhlom’s seminal paper introducing their theory of temporary organizations. Since this time there has been a significant growth in project organizing across industries and sectors with the concept of a temporary organization becoming a widely accepted phenomenon. The dominant discourse within the project management literature makes the assumption that temporary organizations are formed within the organizational boundaries of a single permanent, parent organization. However, within the construction industry, the temporary organization operates within an environment of overlapping organizational boundaries, where multiple organizations simultaneously make representation on a single endeavour. This fundamental difference between the organizational types has significant implications in the pursuit and measurement of project success. This paper aims to bridge a current gap by exploring concepts for the development of a theory of Temporary Multi-Organizations (TMO). By drawing on the theories of the firm, three research questions are raised: ‘Why do TMO’s exist?’ ‘How do TMO’s differ?’ and ‘How is project success measured within a TMO?’ We form propositions from each question through a systematic review of the extant literature. The paper begins by investigating the organization need for temporary organizational forms, before considering the rationale for creating a TMO. Secondly, by revisiting Lundin and Soderholm’s original concepts, we identify variances with TMO’s. Thirdly, in considering how project success is measured in TMO’s, we present a model identifying nodes where perceptions of success may differ. Finally, we present a conclusion to form the foundations for devolvement of a theory of TMO’s.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWorking Paper Proceedings
Subtitle of host publicationEngineering Project Organizations Conference
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2015
Event2015 Engineering Project Organizations Conference - Edinburgh University, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 24 Jun 201526 Jun 2015


Conference2015 Engineering Project Organizations Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Temporay Multi-Organisations
  • Project Success
  • Construction industry
  • stakeholders


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