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Article

Inger Bergman, Sven Gunnarson and Christine Räisänen

The purpose of this paper is to describe and analyse the change trajectory in a large, global, project‐oriented company, with focus on standardization of project work, and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe and analyse the change trajectory in a large, global, project‐oriented company, with focus on standardization of project work, and on how the company's structure, processes and employment‐base changed in line with the company's increasing volume of projects.

Design/methodology/approach

The stance taken is to define firm‐based projects as temporary organisations embedded in, and coupled to their parent company. Narratives of employees' working history were combined with historical company data. The outcome is a trajectory of the company's history from four different perspectives, shown in parallel with the development of the company's project operations.

Findings

The projectification history was found to be connected with two parallel movements: a push towards project decoupling countered by a pull towards standardization of project management practices to tighten the coupling. The direction of the movements was influenced from current project management trends.

Research limitations/implications

The model of a projectified company as a looselycoupled system provides a novel way of analysing an organisation and its interfaces to its projects. Even though the work focuses on a unique company's projectification history, the intention is to provide a means to better understand the forces impacting the transformation of organisations increasingly using projects as a work‐form.

Originality/value

Adding the notion of coupling gives a new dimension to the transformation of project‐oriented companies. The model for analysing projects by means of their patterns of loose and tight coupling provides arguments for the shift in focus from the individual project to the interplay between structure, people and processes in the project‐oriented company.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 6 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

Keywords

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Article

Christopher Cullen and Brian Leavy

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the lived experience of the project leader and generate additional insight into the relationship between the social and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the lived experience of the project leader and generate additional insight into the relationship between the social and technical aspects of the actual practice of project leadership, focussing on a particular type of project that is prevalent in practice but largely overlooked in mainstream literature. It is referred to here as a “loosely coupled transient” (LCT) project.

Design/methodology/approach

Using an exploratory, inductive approach, the research investigates the lived experience of 30 project management (PM) practitioners to try to deepen the empirical and conceptual insight into the nature of the leadership challenge and what it takes to be successful in the LCT project setting. The research design includes an extra data-collection phase to allow the initial findings and their interpretation to be further validated and refined in the field.

Findings

The empirical findings highlight the importance of three socio-behavioural roles: context building, culture-bridging and political brokering, in addition to the more traditional technical coordinating role, and examine their implications for future research and practice.

Research limitations/implications

The findings emerging from this study are based on the insights provided by 35 exploratory interviews and while they provide the authors with useful insights into the socio-behavioural roles that practitioners consider necessary, they should now be further examined through more focussed, systematic research.

Practical implications

This study points up that project leadership requires new forms of ability and intelligence described in this study as contextual, cultural and political forms of intelligence. Practitioners suggest the findings have a potential usefulness in the selection and training of future project managers.

Originality/value

The study attempts to provide a fresh perspective on social phenomena that are context specific, of relevance to PM practice and of interest to the academic community. It contributes to previous PM research by furthering the analysis of actual PM practice that takes place within the project setting by giving explicit consideration to the importance of understanding the contextual, cultural and political influences on leadership in the project setting.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

Keywords

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Article

Mary Lundberg, Susanne Engström and Helena Lidelöw

In the construction industry, it has proven difficult to implement and realize innovation efforts, for example in the development of industrialized construction and use of…

Abstract

Purpose

In the construction industry, it has proven difficult to implement and realize innovation efforts, for example in the development of industrialized construction and use of platform concepts. Thus, the purpose of this study is to characterize the innovation diffusion process in the social system of a large Swedish contractor company. Specifically, the diffusion of three innovative industrialized house-building (IHB) platforms and factors affecting their adoption and implementation (particularly effects of their perceived radicality in relation to the company’s decentralized characteristics) are identified and discussed.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study approach was applied, using empirical material including semi-structured interviews and archival records (research reports from earlier studies at different points in time related to each innovation and annual corporate reports). The material was analyzed using Rogers’ (2003) five-stage innovation process model, acknowledging the importance of social systems’ structures.

Findings

Structural characteristics of the social system strongly affect innovation diffusion. In subsystems that had not been involved in initiation of the innovations, they were regarded as radical, which hindered their adoption and implementation.

Research limitations/implications

This study builds upon the recent findings that successful innovation implementation depends on a range of contingencies in the construction context. Although the diffusion of the innovations per se has been traced over a ten-year period, generalizability is limited because the results come from one construction company.

Practical implications

Contractors have invested substantially in the development of industrialized construction and use of platform concepts, but less in their implementation, so they have obtained little gain. How innovations are perceived and implemented in different subsystems affects the success of their implementation in the overarching social system.

Originality/value

This study adheres to previous calls for more research on firm level in the complex social system of construction companies by adopting a ten-year perspective on the diffusion of innovation at a large contractor addressing in particular the impact of the innovations perceived radicality in relation to the decentralized characteristics of the company.

Details

Construction Innovation , vol. 19 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-4175

Keywords

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Book part

Barry Wellman, Dimitrina Dimitrova, Zack Hayat, Guang Ying Mo and Lilia Smale

Long-standing traditions of long-distance collaboration and networking make scholars a good test case for differentiating hype and reality in distributed, networked…

Abstract

Long-standing traditions of long-distance collaboration and networking make scholars a good test case for differentiating hype and reality in distributed, networked organizations. Our study of Canadian scholars in the GRAND research networks finds that they function more as connected individuals and less as members of a single bounded work group, often meeting their needs by tapping into diversified, loosely knit networks. Their internet use interpenetrates with in-person contact: the more they use one, the more they use the other. Despite digital networking, local proximity is important for collaboration and seniority for inter-team and interdisciplinary boundary spanning.

Details

Contemporary Perspectives on Organizational Social Networks
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-751-1

Keywords

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Article

Enoch Sackey and Julius Akotia

The purpose of this paper is to study the interdependent boundary-spanning activities that characterise the level of permeability of knowledge, information flow and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to study the interdependent boundary-spanning activities that characterise the level of permeability of knowledge, information flow and learning among construction supply chains involved in the delivery of building information modelling (BIM)-compliant construction projects. Construction projects are mobilised through a number of interdependent processes and multi-functional activities by different practitioners with myriad specialised skills. Many of the difficulties that manifest in construction projects can be attributed to the fragmented work activities and inter-disciplinary nature of project teams. This is nevertheless becoming ever more pertinent with the rise of technology deployment in construction organisations.

Design/methodology/approach

The study combined experts’ sampling interviews and a case study research method to help offer better insights into the kind of emerging multilevel boundary practices as influenced by the rapidly evolving construction technological solutions. The experts’ sampling helped inform better understanding by unravelling the key changes in contemporary boundary configurations and related boundary-spanning practices within technology-mediated construction project settings. The case study also helped to establish the manifestation of best practices for managing multilevel boundaries in BIM-enabled construction project organisations.

Findings

The study has revealed that different generic organisational BIM strategies as developed in specialised boundaries are reconfigured as appropriate at the project level to produce project-specific BIM execution plan (BXP). The outcome of project BXP is dependent on the project organisational teams that cooperate in creating new solutions and on conceding space for negotiations and compromises which conflicting interests at the project level can find to be both desirable and feasible. The implementation effort is therefore contingent on mutual translation in which different actors with different insights instigate their practice through negotiation and persuasion which eventually are reinforced by contractual agreements and obligations.

Originality/value

The paper has presented a novel and well-timed empirical insight into BIM-enabled project delivery and best practices that span multilevel boundaries of construction organisations.

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Article

Meri Duryan and Hedley Smyth

The purpose of this paper is to determine the extent to which service design (SD) is addressed by the client and its supply chain at a program level into one functional…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to determine the extent to which service design (SD) is addressed by the client and its supply chain at a program level into one functional capability, knowledge management (KM), to share knowledge across projects and organizational actors.

Design/methodology/approach

The interpretative methodology employing two methods of engaged scholarship, namely, action research and engaged research, is applied. The data are analyzed using cognitive mapping to identify the extent of alignment of perceptions.

Findings

The findings show that the client and its supply chain are very transactional in their management minimizing investment in KM and program management. There is a lack of commitment and cultural leadership; hence, there is over-reliance on individuals to take responsibility for knowledge sharing and application. SD thinking can help develop a holistic approach to learning from projects.

Research limitations/implications

The study underlines the links between the concepts of SD and KM. The findings emphasize the importance of developing a holistic approach to KM through the lenses of SD. The organizations must view KM as a process and build capabilities at a program level to make knowledge sharing an integral part of the work culture across projects.

Originality/value

The study contributes to the subject of KM in the construction industry by mobilizing the concept of SD to examine how KM systems and procedures are embedded in the client and across its supply chain.

Details

Built Environment Project and Asset Management, vol. 9 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2044-124X

Keywords

Abstract

Details

Project Management
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-830-7

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Book part

Geoff Troman and Bob Jeffrey

There is currently a growth of interest and activity in the area of comparative cross-national partnership research. This is stimulated by methodological, ideological…

Abstract

There is currently a growth of interest and activity in the area of comparative cross-national partnership research. This is stimulated by methodological, ideological, political and economic developments particularly within the European Union, where European Commission funding has supported numerous projects. Whereas the ‘old’ comparative education focused solely on large-scale quantitative projects to establish differences in educational effectiveness of different nations, the ‘new’ comparative research is developing innovative methodologies in order to undertake studies which take account of tradition, context and national and local education policy (Broadfoot, 2002a, b; Osborn, 2004). Both these forms of research, however, are subject to broadly the same set of methodological issues surrounding their effectiveness.

Details

Methodological Issues and Practices in Ethnography
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-374-7

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Article

Timo Ala‐Risku, Jari Collin, Jan Holmström and Juha‐Pekka Vuorinen

This paper aims to describe how performance in the project supply chain can be improved by implementing information technology solutions that track site installation and inventory.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to describe how performance in the project supply chain can be improved by implementing information technology solutions that track site installation and inventory.

Design/methodology/approach

The case study was initiated after observing unexpected problems and subsequent performance improvement in a very large project delivery. Personnel involved in the project were interviewed and project documentation was analyzed to identify the reasons for initial poor performance and the changes that lead to the observed improvement.

Findings

As the scale and complexity of a delivery project increases the role of accurate and robust tracking of installation work and inventory increases. Alignment between participants breaks down in the absence of reliable inventory tracking with potentially very adverse effects on project delivery operations. Introducing reliable inventory tracking can very quickly re‐align participants and improve overall performance in a telecom delivery project.

Research limitations/implications

The findings are based on a case study, with particular characteristics: large number of dispersed installation sites, modular product, remote sensing. Topics for further research are suggested to assess the relevance of inventory tracking in different contexts.

Practical implications

The case shows how an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) can improve project delivery performance by investing in inventory tracking between inventory drop‐off and installation on the site.

Originality/value

Project delivery has received scarce attention in a supply chain management context. This paper contributes to the body of knowledge by showing how site inventory tracking affects performance and alignment of the whole project supply chain.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 15 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

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Article

Dindin Wahyudin, Khabib Mustofa, Alexander Schatten, Stefan Biffl and A. Min Tjoa

In response to the increasing number of open‐source software (OSS) project initiatives and the increasing demand of OSS products as alternative solutions by industries, it…

Abstract

Purpose

In response to the increasing number of open‐source software (OSS) project initiatives and the increasing demand of OSS products as alternative solutions by industries, it is important for particular stakeholders such as the project host/supporter project‐leading teams, and prospective customers to determine whether a project initiative is likely to be sustainable and is worth supporting. This paper aims to propose a concept of “health” indicators and an evaluation process that can help to get a status overview of OSS projects in a timely fashion and predict project survivability based on the project data available on web repositories.

Design/methodology/approach

For initial empirical evaluation of the concept, the indicators are applied to well‐known web‐based OSS projects (Apache Tomcat and Apache HTTP Server) and the results are compared with challenged projects (Apache Xindice and Apache Slide). The results are discussed with OSS experts to investigate the external validity of the indicators.

Findings

From a software project management point of view, a typical web‐based OSS project can be viewed as a web‐engineering process, since most OSS projects exploit the benefits of a web platform and enable the project community to collaborate using web‐based project tools and repositories such as mailing lists, bug trackers, and versioning systems (CVS/SVN) to deliver web systems and applications. These repositories can provide rich collections of process data, and artifacts which can be analyzed to better understand the project status.

Originality/value

The paper provides information of value about open‐source solutions.

Details

International Journal of Web Information Systems, vol. 3 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-0084

Keywords

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