The Balance Between Order and Chaos in Multi-project Firms: A Conceptual Model

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This paper studies multi-project firms at the edge of chaos, i.e. the ability of these companies to deal with the coexistence of order and chaos. It specifically defines the edge of chaos for multi-project firms based on the match between complexity of project portfolio and flexibility of its organisational units. It also provides a map to assess this match and mismatch. This map proposes four regions or organisational archetypes: the creative-reflective, the mechanic-structured, chaotification of order and bureaucratisation of chaos. Studies present in the literature illustrate these regions, and their importance to the management of projects and of these companies. The paper concludes by presenting possible applications of the framework and future research.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Project Management
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)348–356
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Multi-project firms
  • Organisational design
  • Complexity
  • Flexibility

Cite this