#20 ‘Impromptu Teams in a Temporary Organization’

Another day with some good news! After several years of hard work and numerous manuscript versions, Markus and I finally got our paper on the Everest 1996 disaster accepted for publication. The paper is called ‘Impromptu Teams in a Temporary Organization: On their Nature and Role’ and focuses on a previously rarely investigated team type, which we have called “Impromptu Teams” due to their ad hoc nature.

The paper is to be published in International Journal of Project Management during mid 2016 and will be possible to download from here.


The abundance and importance of temporary project teams in society introduces the need of understanding their nature. The purpose of this article thus is to highlight the existence of an only accidentally investigated type of team that we identify as Impromptu teams, and analyze their role in a temporary organization. Based on a detailed retrospective account of the infamous disaster on Mount Everest in 1996 we identify three examples of Impromptu teams. The three examples indicate that the teams are characterized by being triggered by an unexpected event, and formed through a bottom-up process, where joining the team is voluntary and the activities are based on a logic of appropriateness, rather than rule following. The identification and nature of Impromptu teams have implications far beyond Mount Everest, since most organizations at some point need to use teams similar to the identified examples.

Keywords: Team; action teams; impromptu team; Everest; team formation