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The impact of relational norms on information technology project success and its moderation through project governance

Ralf Müller (Department of Leadership and Organisational Behaviour, BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, Norway)
Miia Martinsuo (Department of Industrial Management, Tampere University of Technology, Tampere, Finland)

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business

ISSN: 1753-8378

Article publication date: 5 January 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify the impact of relational norms on project success in different project governance contexts.

Design/methodology/approach

A worldwide web-based questionnaire yielded 200 responses. Results from regression analyses supported the hypothesis that relational norms impact project success. Hierarchical regression analyses showed the moderating effect of governance and control on the relationship between relational norms and project success.

Findings

Relational norms in the buyer-supplier relationship are positively associated with project success. This relationship is moderated by the strictness of project governance, especially the level of flexibility left to the project manager. Lower levels of managerial flexibility are detrimental to project success in cases of weak relational norms and supportive of project success in cases of high relational norms.

Research limitations/implications

Academic implications stem from the indication that control has a low influence on the relationship between relational norms and project success, but that the level of managerial flexibility ultimately influences the choice of relational norms needed for a project to be successful.

Practical implications

Clear organizational structures and methodologies are supportive of project success in cases of good relational norms. Therefore, project management training should focus on the relationship building capabilities of project managers, to leverage investments in existing methods and organizational structures.

Originality/value

The paper extends the insights of the importance of soft aspects in managing projects across organizational borders and different governance structures.

Keywords

Citation

Müller, R. and Martinsuo, M. (2015), "The impact of relational norms on information technology project success and its moderation through project governance", International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 8 No. 1, pp. 154-176. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMPB-04-2014-0036

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited