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The timing of patterning or the patterning of timing? Organisational routines in temporary organisations

Addyman, Simon; (2019) The timing of patterning or the patterning of timing? Organisational routines in temporary organisations. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

Large, or mega, construction project organisations are temporary in nature and traditionally structured around a life cycle model consisting of predefined, time bound sequential stages of work that are designed to process information and reduce uncertainty. Yet as organising through projects becomes both more prevalent and challenging, it could be argued that such a model constrains our understanding and representation of what ‘actually’ happens beyond these deterministic structures and prescriptive routines, specifically in understanding ‘how’ construction project organisations transition through the predefined time boundaries of the sequential stages. This thesis contributes to this knowledge by identifying an alternative image of the life cycle model through empirically investigating the ‘transition’ between life cycle stages, with ‘incomplete’ information. It identifies a five stage ‘recursive process model of transitioning’ that highlights the underlying generative mechanisms involved in the (re)creation of organisational routines in managing the incompleteness associated with transitioning from one life cycle stage to the next. It presents an empirical autoethnographic case study over one year, observing a construction project organisation as it sought to transition from its design stage, through formal sanction, and into its construction stage. Informed ontologically by process metaphysics, and through challenging the underlying theoretical temporal assumptions of temporary organisations - ‘newness’, and organisational routines - ‘repetition’, it describes managing project transitions as ‘dialogical action’, influenced by the spatiotemporal aspects of the organising inquiry. It identifies the patterning of action within six transition routines, that when mapped over time present the five stage recursive process model of transition. Despite a successful three-year relationship in developing organisational capability between the client and the contractor in the design stage, as the pre-defined date for the commencement of the construction stage neared, there emerged a realisation of the impending uncertainty that this new stage would bring. Triggered by various formal and informal transition ‘rituals’, the organisations’ search for, and assumptions about the ‘sufficient completeness’, or ‘necessary incompleteness’ of information led to both the effortful and emergent (re)creation in the ‘patterning of dialogic action’ from the design stage, into the construction stage.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The timing of patterning or the patterning of timing? Organisational routines in temporary organisations
Event: UCL (University College London)
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > The Bartlett Sch of Const and Proj Mgt
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10066709
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