Three domains of project organising

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It has become axiomatic in research on project organising that projects are temporary organisations. Yet there are a number of challenges to this axiom: research on matrix organisation, the embeddedness of projects in project ecologies, and projectification all emphasise the relationship of the project to permanent organisations. Similarly, research on project-based firms and owner organisations which are relatively permanent challenges this axiom. This paper develops a conceptual framework which defines three domains of project organising: project-based firms; projects and programmes; and owners and operators as its principal theoretical contribution. This conceptual framework draws our attention to two important new areas for future research in project organising. The first is at the interfaces between the three domains of project organising: commercial, resourcing, and governance. The second is on project organising as temporary configurations of permanent organisations in coalitions to deliver particular outputs. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. APM and IPMA.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)721-731
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Project Management
Issue number5
Early online date7 Dec 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Commercial management
  • Owners and operators
  • Project governance
  • Project-based firm
  • Temporary organisation


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