Uppsala, Sweden
June 14-17, 2020

Conference theme:

Temporary projects in transitional times: Moving beyond dichotomous views on projects

As is well known to researchers on projects and temporary organizations, projects are inseparable from processes involving time. While this condition has been a cornerstone in influencing our conceptions of projects per se as they are executed over time, the 15th IRNOP conference seeks to challenge our research community to further our understanding of the role of projects and temporary organizing in transitional times. Projects and temporary organizations are affected by larger historical proceedings and at the same time – directly or indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally – by the very nature of the actions produced by them, projects induce changes in practices, artifacts and mental frames. In short, projects are shaped by history and form history concomitantly.

Throughout history, humankind has often observed that they live in the most transitional and revolutionary of times, living at the end of history as it were. The early 21st century is no exception, and this condition tend to be expressed in different paradigm shifts across dichotomies.

The transition from analog to digital technologies is one example of dichotomous transformation in which project work is taking place. Digital technology is rapidly conquering the world, superseding analog technologies. The digitalization of society as well as the workplaces is fundamentally changing the way work can be carried out. Outsourced or offshored development could only come about when transaction costs of information and processing radically dropped through digitalization. In the wake of distributed and virtual teams, new modes of organization have become more and more frequent. Project managers, project teams or project workers are all for hire in an increasingly global market place. Clearly visible at the event horizon of temporary organization & project management now stands Artificial Intelligence technology, ready to support, augment or even replace human project workers and managers alike. New “digital” methods are currently fundamentally reforming project management methodology not only in the IT-sector but more or less thoroughly cross traditional manufacturing industries, construction as well as civil society.

Other trends provide similar contexts for dichotomous transformation of project work, such as: urbanization, migration and globalization (as opposed to distributed and local work practices); sustainability (as opposed to human predation of the world’s resources); inclusion of diversity with respect to e.g., gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and abilities (as opposed to marginalization and oppression). These trends are not necessarily consistent, but suffice to say that in historical processes, projects and temporary organizations can and will play an important role both as agents of change as well as transmitters and reproducers of artifacts and ideas.

The transitional theme of the 15th IRNOP conference thus aims at drawing together these various emerging strands of interest to better understand the role of projects and temporary organizing in transitional time/societal change. Set in Uppsala, a contemporary town full of history, the conference will provide ample opportunities for discussion, developing ideas and networking.

Relating, but not restricted to, a more nuanced orientation toward temporality, history, agency and structure, the organizers welcome conceptual, empirical and methodological:


Full papers, not exceeding 8.000 words, excluding references. It is important that the paper is set in the context of current research and shows that the work is original. Therefore a significant proportion of the citations (typically at least a third) should be refereed papers published in the last five years. However, do also include citations of seminal papers from the past, which form the foundations of the subject. Tables and figures should appear in the text and should be. Numbered consecutively with their appearance. Style for references: APA 5th.


Should you wish to present your research in the form of a poster you should submit a short abstract of maximum 200 words, excluding references where you summarize the research problem, method and key findings. During the conference these ideas will be presented in the format of a poster.

Panel proposals

A panel is a session where a number (3-5 people) discuss a certain topic under the direction of a moderator and in front of an audience (that listen, rather than interact). A panel proposal should be maximum 200 words and outline the rationale for the topic to be discussed and provide the names and the affiliations of the panelists.

Workshop proposals

A workshop is a session where the participants are invited to interact with each other in relation to a pre-decided topic. A workshop proposal should be maximum 200 words and outline the rationale for the topic and provide information about how interaction will be achieved.

Deadline for submissions:  January 24th 2020

We look forward to welcoming you to Uppsala in June 2020!

The organizing committee
Fredrik Tell, Uppsala University
Marcus Lindahl, Uppsala University
Siavash Ali Madadi Jani, Uppsala University
Anette Hallin, Mälardalen University, Västerås
Tina Karrbom-Gustavsson, The Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm

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