Collaborative research projects are highly complex organizational settings with specific needs and inherent risks that can endanger project success if not managed well. The purpose of this paper is to enlarge the knowledge of operational challenges in collaborative research projects to improve both project and conflict management.
On the basis of the concept of systemic conflict, this study conducts a conflict analysis of a collaborative research project on food security to establish how multiple conflict drivers interact.
The results show that multiple conflict drivers affect the operation of collaborative research projects and the drivers also interact and do not function in isolation. The study also finds that the importance of some drivers differs when comparing project members’ perceptions with the number of interlinkages between drivers. A conflict map is provided to visualize the results.
The empirical evidence provided in this study is limited because it relies on a single case study and on project members’ perceptions.
The research can help not only the research community and, in particular, project management but also funding bodies in dealing with the unpredictability of outcomes created by project dynamics. In addition, the results can feed into future research, project design and management strategies.
The study applies multidimensional conflict analysis to a field that is understudied.
This publication is a product of the Trans-SEC (www.trans-sec.org) project. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) funded and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) cofinanced Trans-SEC. The views expressed are purely those of the authors and may not in any circumstances be regarded as stating an official position of the BMBF or BMZ. The authors acknowledge the help provided by the Trans-SEC consortium throughout the data collection procedures. The authors would like to thank Michael Weinhardt for his valuable comments and advice during the planning and development of this study, Alexander Rybak for graphical help in preparing Figure 2 and the reviewers for their constructive feedback that helped to improve this research.
Löhr, K., Bonatti, M., Homem, L.H.I.R., Schlindwein, S.L. and Sieber, S. (2018), "Operational challenges in collaborative research projects: Addressing conflict multidimensionality", Kybernetes, Vol. 47 No. 6, pp. 1074-1089. https://doi.org/10.1108/K-04-2017-0124Download as .RIS
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