Derek Walker (School of Property, Construction and Project Management, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business

ISSN: 1753-8378

Article publication date: 5 January 2015



Walker, D. (2015), "Editorial", International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 8 No. 1. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMPB-10-2014-0073



Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Article Type: Editorial From: International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Volume 8, Issue 1.

About this issue

This first issue for 2015, Volume 8 contains a Special Issue of five papers selected from the 22nd Nordic Academy of Management Conference (NFF) held in Reykjavik, Iceland on project management that were revised and improved upon for this Special Issue. This issue also includes five regular papers. At ten papers in all, this sets the year on a solid start.

The Special Issue on Nordic Academy of Management project management papers

This section begins with an editorial by guest editors Rolf Lundin and Kjell Tryggestad who provide an introduction to the five papers accepted for the SI part of this issue. The Nordic Academy of Management Conference (NFF) have been very actice in encouraging interesting and valuable papers on project organising. Five papers were accepted for the SI after a rigorous review process and it is hoped that this SI will encourage readers from outside the Nordic region to attend NFF conferences. This editorial introduces the five papers and provides insights and context to their value and contribution.

Regular papers

This issue presents five additional regular papers. Each of these papers deals with very different aspects of the concept of project management.

Paper 6, entitled “Measuring existent intercultural effectiveness in global teams” is authored by Wolfgang Messner from the Myra School of Business in Mysore Karnataka India. We live in a highly globalised economy with project management competencies being needed to include cross-cultural understanding and communication. The paper describes research on the development of a new indicator for measuring the actual effectiveness of intercultural communication and collaboration at the individual and team level referred to as the Mysore InterCultural Effectiveness (MICE) indicator. He describes the test run that was undertaken in several international companies with live data obtained from 154 employees that helped to validate the indicator using exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. The MICE indicator is based on two scales: the effectiveness in interacting and collaborating with foreign counterparts by providing an answer to the question “how I think I am with them”; and the satisfaction with appropriateness of communication received from foreign interlocutors and the outcome of the collaboration by answering the question “how I think they are with me”.

Paper 7 addresses another aspect of culture and context based on a study about developing and sustaining capabilities from an Estonian perspective. This paper is entitled “How lifecycle influences capabilities and their development: empirical evidence from Estonia, a small European country” is authored by Mait Rungi from Tallinn University of Technology – Tallinn School of Economics and Business Administration, Tallinn, Estonia. Capability development is a long-term activity, where both how to choose “the right capabilities” and how to develop “the capabilities right” are important. This paper reports on research that follows the best practices approach to select the most widespread capabilities and development techniques in project-companies, and observes their shift of focus when moving from one lifecycle stage to another. Based on survey results the findings indicate that the quality of most business capabilities decreases in reaching the decline stage of the lifecycle, but project-related capabilities are improving. Rungi argues that the same cannot be concluded for project-led capability development techniques, as they decline, and the quality of traditional and business-led capability techniques are improving. The use of development techniques changes less throughout lifecycle stages than capabilities do – it is not so important how companies develop capabilities, capabilities themselves matter. The originality of the paper is demonstrated by the results providing lifecycle-specific information about which capabilities and their development techniques prevail at what stage of companies’ lifecycle. Thus far, learning, as the most important technique, has received the most attention while other techniques attract less attention. This research gives further information about a wider array of techniques. Furthermore, while prior research has been concentrated on a few specific capabilities or capabilities at an abstract level, this research focuses on a comprehensive set of capabilities. While the study is based on a small population country its findings may have wider PM implications on this important aspect of PM research.

Paper 8 entitled “The impact of relational norms on information technology project success and its moderation through project governance” by Ralf Müller from BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, Norway and Miia Martinsuo from Tampere University of Technology, Tampere, Finland. The paper identifies the impact of relational norms on project success in different project governance contexts. Using a worldwide web-based questionnaire 200 responses were gathered and analysed using regression analyses that 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. The paper extends insights of the importance of soft aspects in managing projects across organisational borders and different governance structures. Findings support the hypothesis that relational norms in the buyer-supplier relationship are positively associated with project success. This relationship is shown to be 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.

Paper 9 provides those of us with an passion for teaching PM with an interesting concept related to reflection and the reflective practitioner. The paper is entitled “Prayer: a transformative teaching and learning technique in project management” by Joseph Kaggwa Ssegawa from the University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana. He reports the perceptions of students taking the Master of Project Management Programme at the University of Botswana regarding their transformative experience called “prayer”. The term “prayer” was coined because of it being the first learning activity of the lecture; and at a conceptual level, to convey reverence towards the gift of learning. “Prayer” as a learning and teaching technique involves each student identifying material containing project management concepts or issues which they present to a class of peers using any appropriate means followed by discussion and peer assessment. It may be a personal documented story or a story told around a picture, artefact, poster or video relating to a project management issue. The originality of this paper lies in its packaging of a technique worth sharing among project management educators because the learning activity simultaneously engages students in research, review, presentation and communication as well as reflection, collaborative discourse and self- and peer assessment.

Paper 10 provides another paper from Africa. This paper is co-authored by Charles Teye Amoatey, Yaa Asabea Ameyaw, Ebenezer Adaku and Samuel Famiyeh from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration – GIMPA Business School, Accra. The paper is entitled “Analysing delay causes and effects in Ghanaian State Housing Construction projects”. There has been much written about performance of the construction industry in the USA, UK and countries in Europe for example but we see little on this subject coming out of African countries. This paper assess the causes and effects of delays in public sector housing projects in Ghana and provides some cultural and geographical context to broaden our understanding of PM success in this sector in this country. Results from the study showed that the critical factors that contribute to project delays in Ghana are: delay in payment to contractor/supplier, inflation/price fluctuation, price increases in materials, inadequate funds from sponsors/clients, variation orders and poor financial/capital market. The critical effects of delays are cost overrun, time overrun, litigation, lack of continuity by client and arbitration. It focus on the situation in Ghana, which has more recently been experiencing increased economic growth, provides useful historical insights for an economy undergoing transformation in a part of the world that is increasingly becoming an important part of the global economy.

This issue should provide another set of interesting papers that expand our global knowledge of project management and project organising.

Derek Walker

Related articles