Operational reliability in complex temporary organizations

D.C. Zuiderwijk*, F.K. Boersma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

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The complex interconnectivity characterizing a temporary organization (TO) increases the risk of adverse work situations emerging in unexpected ways. In TOs operating in a high-hazard environment - here referred to as complex temporary organizations (CTOs) - this may lead to disastrous consequences. Still many CTOs do not experience disasters. This paper makes the organizational patterns in these CTOs its primary concern. It presents the results of an exploratory cross-sectoral empirical study involving five CTOs. It takes a special interest in inter-organizational resilience as a capability complementary to rules and risk management to sustain operational reliability in CTOs. Operational reliability is viewed from the perspective of collaboration complexity, grouped into three categories: (1) heterogeneous collaboration, (2) temporal interconnectivity, and (3) coping with unexpected events. Comparison between CTOs revealed similarities but also a number of differences in perceptions and strategies which offer opportunities for cross-sectoral learning.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 29th European Safety and Reliability Conference (ESREL)
EditorsMichael Beer, Enrico Zio
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherResearch Publishing Services
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9789811127243
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event29th European Safety and Reliability Conference, ESREL 2019 - Hannover, Germany
Duration: 22 Sept 201926 Sept 2019


Conference29th European Safety and Reliability Conference, ESREL 2019


  • Adaptive capacity
  • CTO
  • High-hazard environment
  • Inter-organizational resilience
  • Inter-organizational work
  • Operational reliability
  • Operational resilience
  • Temporary organizing


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