A contingency analysis of precarious organizational temporariness

Joanna Karmowska, John Child, Philip James

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This paper extends current understanding of organizational temporariness. The life of a temporary British trade union branch established to recruit Eastern European migrant workers reveals ‘precarious temporariness’, which is less predictable than the ‘planned temporariness’ typically portrayed in the literature. This different type of temporariness was associated with four key contingencies affecting the branch: dispersed governance; bottom-up initiatives; uncertain resourcing; and an effectuation logic. Analysis of the case extends existing understanding of organizational temporariness and points to an extension of existing theorizing by highlighting the contingent nature of temporariness. The broader managerial implication of the findings is that, for projects facing contingencies of the kind studied, the conventional linear approach of target setting and performance management will be less effective than an ongoing process of communication and consultation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-230
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Management
Issue number2
Early online date12 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2017


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