van Marrewijk, A. and Ybema, S. and Smits, K. and Clegg, T. S. and Pitsis, T. S. (2016) 'Clash of the Titans : temporal organizing and collaborative dynamics in the Panama Canal megaproject.', Organization studies., 37 (12). pp. 1745-1769.
Recent studies of temporary organizing and project-based work explain how organizational actors establish and maintain clear role structures and harmonious relations in the face of precariousness by engaging in stabilizing work practices. This focus upon ‘order’ undervalues conflict-ridden negotiations and power struggles in temporary organizing. This paper demonstrates that in temporary organizing conflict and order may exist in tandem. Drawing close to the collaborative dynamics in a large-scale global project, we analyse the political struggles over role patterns and hierarchic positioning of client and agent in the temporary organization of the Panama Canal Expansion Program (PCEP). In such projects, the agent typically takes the position of project leader. In this case however, the client was formally in charge, while the agent was assigned the role of coach and mentor. The diffuse hierarchy triggered project partners to engage in both harmony-seeking social and discursive practices and to enter into conflict-ridden negotiations over authority relations in the everyday execution of the PCEP project. Our study contributes to existing literatures on temporal organizing by presenting a case of simultaneous practices of harmonization and contestation over mutual roles and hierarchic positions. We also show that studying collaboration between project partners involves, not merely analysing project governance structures, but also offering a context-sensitive account of everyday social and discursive practices. Finally, we reflect on a view of ‘permanence’ and ‘temporariness’ as themselves contested categories and symbolic sites for struggle.
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|Publisher Web site:||https://doi.org/10.1177/0170840616655489|
|Publisher statement:||This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).|
|Date accepted:||No date available|
|Date deposited:||20 June 2018|
|Date of first online publication:||29 July 2016|
|Date first made open access:||20 June 2018|
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