The Strategic Formation of Project Networks: A Relational Practice Perspective

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This article develops a relational practice perspective on the strategic formation of project networks as organizational forms, based on structuration theory and an in-depth case study of a European researcher and his project network. Project networks are defined as strategically coordinated sets of longer-term, project-based relationships. As project entrepreneurs advance in their careers from project partners to coordinators, they learn to apply and combine certain practices through which they gradually transform part of their emerging professional networks into project networks with increased coordination capacity. These practices include: making and renewing project-based contacts, pooling potential project partners, and maintaining core project partnerships. This study advances our understanding of the institutional embeddedness of network agency and the micro-foundations of networks as organizational forms in project businesses and beyond.