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Production at any prize
KTH, Superseded Departments, Industrial Economics and Management.
2003 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other scientific)
Abstract [sv]

The thesis - Produktion till varje Pris - deals withmanagerial improvisation in strictly planned economicenvironments. More specifically, it concerns the relationbetween planning and action during the execution phase of heavyconstruction projects. In a business environment where time isgradually becoming a dominating competitive advantage, carefuland substantial planning is vitally important. With stakes inthe range of half a billion SEK or more, the necessity ofsecuring successful and stable operations is immanent. However,as timeframes are constantly compressed at the same time as thecomplexity of system deliveries increases, operations areevermore vulnerable to aberrations. This inquiry takes thenormative ideal of planning as a point of departure toinvestigate and analyze the role of plans and acts of planningthroughout the course of project execution. Using anethnographic approach, the day-to-day activities in severalpower plant projects carried out by the Finnish manufacturingfirm Wärtsilä have been analyzed.The abundance of improvisation within this strictlyplanned context is thus pointed out, and it is suggested thatwe may better understand project management - as well asplanning in general - through a perspective of improvisation.Traditional accounts of organizational improvisation haveusually been focused on the sole act of improvisation, wherethis has been performed by a relatively small and homogenousgroup. In this thesis, the concept of interorganizationalimprovisation is developed, a situation where improvisationcannot be related to a single goal, a homogenous group or asole moment in time.The question of legitimate action, on behalf ofmanagement as well as for subcontractors, becomes central whenaddressing this issue. The study highlights the seeminglyparadoxical situation where management has to pursue plannedand improvised actions simultaneously, within amultiorganizational context. This potential conflict ismitigated, it is claimed, by the generation of "exceptionalstates", through crisis or by other means - an importantmechanism that makes improvisation possible.

Keywords:Improvisation, Project Management, Planning&Control, Complex processes, Legitimacy of action

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Industriell ekonomi och organisation , 2003. , 471 p.
Trita-IEO, 2003:12
Keyword [en]
Improvisation, Project Management, Planning&Control, Complex processes, Legitimacy of action
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-3631ISBN: 91-974413-8-4OAI: diva2:9463
Public defence
NR 20140805Available from: 2003-11-04 Created: 2003-11-04Bibliographically approved

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