This study examines the processes and structures that enable organizations to generate repeatedly and efficiently customized solutions for clients. Case studies of project-based firms reveal that these organizations develop and employ routines to generate customized solutions. Analysis of these cases reveals two different approaches toward project management across organizations. The structural approach relies on managerial and formal processes guided by project leaders. The relational approach is based on social and informal mechanisms arising from project participants’ collaborative work experience. The stability and flexibility of routines enable organizations to carry out repeated patterns of action producing customized solutions. Deliberate learning builds a capability for managing the tension between stability and change in routines by transferring project-level experiences to organization-level routines for subsequent use across projects.
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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. SES-0924786.
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