Contextualising Capability Development: Configurations of Knowledge Governance Mechanisms in Project-based Organizations

Sofia Pemsel, Jonas Söderlund, Anna Wiewiorac

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Given the project-based organization’s (PBO) strong focus on autonomy and temporary decentralisation, it faces unique challenges with regard to long-term organisational learning and capability development. To address how PBOs cope with these challenges, we address the role of knowledge governance (KG) mechanisms to foster capability development. The present paper reports on a multiple case study comprising 23 PBOs and demonstrates the importance of ‘configurations of KG mechanisms’ for facilitating learning and capability development. This paper develops four distinct configurations (balanced, formalistic, interactive, and fragile) that promote three principal organisational-level learning processes: shifting, leveraging and adapting. This research underscores the close relationship between knowledge governance mechanisms and capability development and the importance of designing the appropriate configuration of KG mechanisms to foster capability development.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTechnology Analysis & Strategic Management
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)1226-1245
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Project-based organizations
  • Knowledge governance
  • Capabilities
  • Organisational learning
  • Shifting
  • Leveraging
  • Adapting

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