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University of Michigan School of Information


Impacts of Heterogeneous Organizational Backgrounds and Social Norms on Employees' Behaviors in Temporary Organizations

A temporary organization, which is defined as a "set of organizational actors working together on a complex task over a limited period of time" (Goodman and Goodman 1976), has been increasingly employed across diverse industries including construction, film making, shipbuilding, software development, advertising, biotechnology and fashion as the world becomes more dynamic and fast-changing (Bakker 2010). Temporary organizations, as opposed to traditional, long-term organizations, are not favorable to fostering and maintaining coherent social norms because most members and different levels of management possess different organizational backgrounds and their tenure is relatively short.

The study aims to investigate how employees' behaviors can be better aligned with desirable social norms with the help of the negotiation of multiple foci of organizational identifications in temporary organizations. The research will provide an in-depth understanding of how social norms and organizational identification will affect employees' behaviors in temporary organizations. In addition, researchers will conduct quasi-field experiments to develop and test a series of onetime, short-term managerial interventions that can promote employee's social identification with the umbrella organization and ultimately to elicit desired changes in improving employees' behavior.

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The amount of the award is $73,911 for UMSI for the project period. The grant is funded by the National Science Foundation.