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The European Union’s multi-level impact on member state projectification in light of neoinstitutional theory

Beata Jałocha (Faculty of Management and Social Communication, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland)

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business

ISSN: 1753-8378

Article publication date: 8 October 2019

Issue publication date: 8 October 2019




The purpose of this paper is to understand how has the European Union (EU) funding influenced projectification of the Polish public sector. The projectification of the public sector is analysed in relation to three levels: mega (state level), macro (sector level) and mezo (organisation level). Hence, it is understood as a multidimensional phenomenon that permeates different social structures. The study also applies elements of neoinstitutional theory and Europeanisation concept to the research on projectification.


The research is based on the mixed methods approach. The adopted methods (document analysis, quantitative analysis and in-depth interviews) are both qualitative and quantitative in nature and were used sequentially to address the research question, while securing the triangulation of the data.


The Polish public sector was projectified as a result of the implementation of hundreds of thousands of projects co-financed by the EU, which among other things, effected in legal regulations that support the project implementation of public tasks and changes in organisational structures towards a project-oriented direction. At public organisation level, it causes changes in the scope of organisational structures, strategic management processes and methods of work. On the basis of the assumptions that explain the mechanism of organisational isomorphism and Europeanisation, the paper may conclude that the public sector projectification process was triggered by a misfit between the projectified EU structures and the low degree of projectification in the Polish public sector.


The study is the first step to try to understand how the massification of project activities can affect the activities of the public sector of the particular country and the shaping of public policies at home. Because Poland has been the largest beneficiary of EU funds in Europe for over ten years, it can be assumed that these processes in this country are particularly intense. An attempt was also made to identify the scale of the public sector projectification process in Poland by not only describing, but also quantifying the phenomenon.



This paper was prepared as a result of the research project registered under No. 2016/23/D/HS4/01810 and financed from the funds of the National Science Centre, Poland. The author would like to express sincere gratitude to the two anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments. The author would also like to thank professor Mattias Jacobsson for inspiring discussions on projectification.

This paper forms part of a special section on “Projectification and the impact on societies”.


Jałocha, B. (2019), "The European Union’s multi-level impact on member state projectification in light of neoinstitutional theory", International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 578-601.



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