Who’s Got The Time? Temporary Organising Under Temporal Institutional Complexity

Sofia Pemsel, Jonas Söderlund

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


This chapter addresses the challenges associated with temporary organising under conditions of institutional complexity. The authors draw on findings from an in-depth case study of a megaproject initiated to reshape healthcare in Sweden. At the centre of this transformation was the construction of a new, ‘world-class’ hospital to replace the former (historical and renowned) university hospital. The authors posit that organising such projects is largely a matter of creating, responding to, and re-creating temporal institutional complexity. Thus, their study identifies four distinct response strategies – innovating, partial decoupling, avoiding, and surfing – on which project actors relied when dealing with the multiplicity of temporal institutional requirements. The authors propose a model for explaining how these strategies affected the temporal institutional complexity faced by the project. Their chapter adds to the literature on temporary organisations by highlighting the nature and dynamics of temporal institutional complexity and by revealing how inter-institutional temporary organisations cope with such complexity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTensions and Paradoxes in Temporary Organizing
EditorsTimo Braun, Joseph Lampel
Number of pages24
Place of PublicationBingley
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing
Publication date2020
ISBN (Print)9781839093494
ISBN (Electronic)9781839093487, 9781839093500
Publication statusPublished - 2020
SeriesResearch in the Sociology of Organizations


  • Institutions
  • Institutional work
  • Response strategy
  • Temporal complexity
  • Institutional complexity
  • Time

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