Researcher: Tijs de Bree
Project Duration: November 2006 – November 2010
Project Partner: Rijkswaterstaat
Building and maintaining infrastructure in construction is primarily organized around inter-organizational projects that link two or more different organizations. Besides operational work, also strategic renewal and innovation are often shaped in these projects. Inter-organizational projects constitute temporal arenas for diverse cross-organizational activities. Within these arenas, resources with a specific culture, organizational and personal background work together during an ex-ante defined project-bound time span. Therefore, it is likely that an inter-organizational project is a fertile breeding ground for new knowledge and practices. On the other hand, these joint processes may very well be laborious due to the misalignment of actor and organization specific logics. In fact, different theories underpin both views upon the role of inter-organizational projects on learning and innovation. Much as we agree on this paradox in existing theories, we found no answer to the question if and how learning is taking place within inter-organizational projects.
This research project investigates the learning process associated with the implementation of new infrastructure management policy in the Netherlands. Reverting to social cognitive learning theory and activity theory the research adopts a network perspective of learning. It aims at describing and explaining the emergence, creation and evolution of learning networks in inter-organizational projects.