From limitless excitement to structural comfort: A case study on the transitional process of an organization going from being a project organization to a permanent public institution
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That change processes are exciting but sometimes hard to implement for organizations is a known fact. But the change process that I am looking into in this study is beyond hard, as this was change that had to be implemented no matter what. This is the story about the project organization whose sole purpose was to create a permanent organization and then almost over night changed into a permanent, operating organization and with the major differences that entailed. What inspired me to do this research was most and foremost a self-experienced life as a ”project worker” for the same operating field as the case organization. The thrill of always stepping into unfamiliar territory and hardly ever having to do things two times was almost addictive. And it was the individual human aspect of this change that caught my interest for this study. How did they experience this massive change and, did they learn from it and how? And as we are all different as human beings, so was each experience different. After a series of two interviews per informant, conducted two years apart, emerged seven categories from the data analysis that had impacts on their experience, two transition categories and five learning categories. For transition emerged the categories of awareness of change and grief process. For learning emerged framework/ structure, psychological ownership, goal orientation/vision, interpersonal relationships and leadership as categories having an impact on their experiences. I used the results from the data analysis and discussed these with the background of different theoretical perspectives. To cover the vast area of aspects that emerged, I have used theoretical perspectives about project organizations vs. permanent organizations, organizational transitions, learning in organizations, psychological ownership, leadership and vision and goal orientation. My three very different informants had also very different roles in the organization and different private situations, which had an impact on their experienced outcomes of the process. For the category goal orientation/ vision my findings suggested that common for all three of them, however, was a lack of an experienced vision bringing them beyond the launch of the project and into the new permanent organization. With such a vision, transforming from project to permanent organization might have been a smoother process.