South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences, Vol 17, No 1 (2014)

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Linking project-based production and project management temporary systems in multiple contexts: An introduction to the special edition

Leon AG Oerlemans, Tinus Pretorius


As organisations in more and more industries look for flexible ways of production in the wake of rapidly changing market environments, project-based organising is becoming an increasingly important mode of organisation (Eisenhardt & Tabrizi, 1995). Whereas project-based organisation was traditionally mainly the domain of industries such as film making (Sorenson & Waguespack, 2006), theatre (Goodman & Goodman, 1976), and construction (Gann & Salter, 2000), a project-based mode of operation has recently pervaded many other sectors in the economy, including software development, advertising, biotechnology, consulting, emergency response, fashion, television and complex products and systems (Grabher, 2004; Hobday, 2000). This increasing prevalence is reflected in an exponentially growing body of research (Bakker, 2010), which has made marked progress in areas such as project-based learning (Prencipe & Tell, 2001), project-based innovation (Eisenhardt & Tabrizi, 1995) and project-based careers (Jones, 1996). As a consequence, research on project organisation has moved from being a narrow specialty domain toward being a broad research paradigm, attending to a broad audience in organisation science and beyond (Sydow et al., 2004).
In a fairly recent review paper, Bakker (2010) shows that in the period 1988–2008 scholarly attention, as indicated by publications in books and ISI-indexed journals, grew exponentially (see Figure 1). Comparing the number of publications in the period 1988-1998 with the period 1998–2008, he observed an increase of almost 340%.

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