The road to successfully eluding organizational borders : a case study of a multi-agency project
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This master thesis has explored a multi-agency project and issues related to this new way of organizing the work in public agencies. The thesis is based on a case study of a project collaboration between three Norwegian agencies: The Labor Inspection Authority, the Tax Administration, and the Tax Collection Office in Bergen. It is a clear trend that both project based work and inter-organizational relationships are becoming increasingly more prevalent in both the private and public sector. We have used a qualitative method and conducted 19 semi-structured interviews with 12 individuals. In addition, we have attended meetings to observe the participants in their natural surroundings. Our case study is a novel field of research. We therefore created a model based on three reviewed lines of literature: project theory, inter-organizational relations theory, and multi-agency collaboration theory. The model has two phases with three factors each. Common Goals, Shared Understandings, and Project Design are factors in phase 0. Project Management, Teamwork, and Role Clarity are factors in phase 1. We predicted that the state of collaboration is directly influenced by the factors in phase 1, and indirectly influenced by the factors in phase 0. Additionally, we predicted that time spent in phase 0 influenced the outcome of this phase. Our findings show that the factors identified in our two phases have, as predicted, an influence on the state of collaboration. Role Clarity appeared highly embedded in Project Management and Teamwork, and was therefore removed as a separate factor. We discovered Project Autonomy to have an important direct influence on the state of collaboration, and included it as a factor in phase 1 of the model. Based on our findings, we believe that our revised model creates a good image of which activities to pay extra attention to when initiating a multi-agency project.