Projects, Paths, and Practices: Sustaining and Leveraging Project-Based Relationships

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In this paper, we examine how project entrepreneurs maintain and leverage longer-term project-based relationships in highly uncertain and volatile project businesses with clients and key service providers across ever changing collaborative contexts. Based on a thorough analysis of TV project networks, using both quantitative and qualitative data, we find that project entrepreneurs form core teams with particular clients and service providers, and establish sequences of related projects thereby forming collaborative paths. These paths allow partners to exploit and stretch existing, and explore new capabilities and partner resources across time and contexts of collaboration. Paths are promoted by connecting practices partners apply to establish task and team linkages between past, present and potential future projects. Our findings promote a more processual understanding of project-based organizing and learning, and tie formation in dynamic industry contexts.