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ENGINEERING PROJECT ORGANIZATION JOURNAL - Volume 2 - Issue 1-2: Special Issue, June 2012

Pages: 27-35

The institutional environment of global project organizations

Author: W. Richard Scott

Category: Project Governance

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Among the many complexities global construction projects (GCPs) confront, we focus on the challenge of spanning diverse types of firms, countries, and cultures. To augment previous theoretical approaches devised to examine GCPs—in particular, contingency- and resource-based perspectives, we pursue an institutions-based approach. Institutions are conceptualized as comprising of three independent, but interdependent elements: regulative (rule-setting and sanctioning activities), normative (prescriptive, evaluative and obligatory activities) and cultural–cognitive (shared conceptions of social reality). These analytic elements are usually combined in empirically existing institutional forms, but within these forms, the elements exert independent effects and, sometimes, work at cross-purposes. In the analysis of GCPs, we employ the concept of organization field to illuminate the ways in which institutional elements operate at various levels of analysis, including that of the transnational field of GCPs and the local field surrounding a specific GCP. The challenges posed by the need to align the requirements of these two fields are described.

Keywords: Institutions, global projects, norms, cultural values, organization field

DOI: 10.1080/21573727.2011.634546