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Paper info: Project networks - a short term and a long term view


Project networks - a short term and a long term view


Tuomas J. Ahola

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 21st IMP-conference in Rotterdam, Netherlands in 2005.


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Project networks are temporary inter-organizational networks that exist only for the duration of the projectat hand. Despite this clear short term orientation, project networks tend to be partially reconstructedfrom one project to the next implying that there is a need for a long term view, as generallyapplied to other types of inter-organizational networks (alliances, joint ventures, delivery chains, etc.).This work-in-progress paper discusses project networks by complementing the short term view dominantin project management literature with a long term view, utilizing a theoretical background consistingmainly of the IMP group’s network approach. A brief empirical illustration is provided in the contextof the Finnish construction industry. Based on the theoretical discussion and empirical illustration,propositions regarding project networks are formulated. Based on theory and empirical data, it appearsthat project networks suffer from short term optimization and excessive focus on the executingand controlling processes of the project, leading to problems in the preceding project initiation processand problems in developing long term inter-organizational relationships between project network actors.