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Article
Publication date: 4 April 2017

Nathalie Drouin

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332

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International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 10 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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Article
Publication date: 2 July 2018

Nathalie Drouin, Ralf Müller, Shankar Sankaran and Anne Live Vaagaasar

The purpose of this paper is twofold: to identify how horizontal leaders (within project teams) execute their leadership task in the context of balanced leadership; and to…

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1876

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is twofold: to identify how horizontal leaders (within project teams) execute their leadership task in the context of balanced leadership; and to pinpoint scenarios that can occur when horizontal leaders are identified and empowered by the vertical leader (senior or project managers) and a project task is handed over to them to lead. This research is based on the concept of balanced leadership, which conceptualizes leadership as a dynamic, situation-dependent transition of leadership authority from a vertical leader (like a project manager) to a horizontal leader (a project team member) and back again, in order to contribute positively to a project’s success. Balanced leadership consists of five events (nomination, identification, empowerment, horizontal leadership and its governance, and transition). This paper focuses on the fourth event, and its specific aspect of leadership distribution between horizontal and vertical leader. This event begins when a team member(s) accepts the empowerment to assume the role of horizontal leader. This paper explicitly links the leadership style of the vertical leader based on Frame’s (1987) leadership styles and the nature of decisions taken by both the vertical and horizontal leaders to deliver the project.

Design/methodology/approach

The method used for this paper is the qualitative phase of a sequential mixed methods (qualitative-quantitative) study. Data were collected through case studies in four different countries, using a maximum variety sampling approach. Data collection was through interviews of vertical leaders (senior leaders who were often sponsors of projects or members of senior management or project managers) and horizontal leaders (team leaders or members) in a variety of industry sectors. Data analysis was done through initial coding and constant comparison to arrive at themes. Thematic analysis was used to gain knowledge about the split of leadership and decision-making authority between the horizontal and vertical leader(s).

Findings

The results show that for Canadian and Australian projects, a combination of autocratic and democratic leadership styles were used by vertical leaders. In the case of Scandinavian projects, a democratic leadership style has been observed. Linked to these leadership styles, the horizontal decision making is predominantly focused on technical decisions and to daily task decisions to deliver the project. Delegation occurs most of the time to one specific team member, but occasionally to several team members simultaneously, for them to work collaboratively on a given issue.

Research limitations/implications

The paper supports a deeper investigation into a leadership theory, by validating one particular event of the balanced leadership theory, which is based on Archer’s (1995) realist social theory. The findings from this paper will guide organizations to facilitate an effective approach to balancing the leadership roles between vertical and horizontal leaders in their projects. The findings can also be used to develop horizontal leaders to take up more responsibilities in projects.

Originality/value

The originality lies in the new leadership theory called balanced leadership, and its empirical validation. It is the first study on the leadership task distribution between vertical and horizontal leadership in projects. Its value is new insights, which allow practitioners to develop practices to find and empower the best possible leader at any given time in the project and academics to develop a more dynamic and, therefore, more realistic theory on leadership as it unfolds in projects.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 11 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 5 March 2018

Nathalie Drouin

Abstract

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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Article
Publication date: 6 July 2020

Marie-Andrée Caron, Camélia Radu and Nathalie Drouin

The complexity of the integration of non-financial benefits (NFB) in major infrastructure projects (MIP) engenders the formulation of networked knowledge between…

Abstract

Purpose

The complexity of the integration of non-financial benefits (NFB) in major infrastructure projects (MIP) engenders the formulation of networked knowledge between researchers and practitioners. The authors’ research question is as follows: To what extent does scientific knowledge about the integration of NFB into MIP support engaged scholarship or co-construction of knowledge between researchers and practitioners?

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses a review of literature published in academic journals on the integration of NFB in MIP. Nearly 300 papers are analysed in depth, based on categories (aspects and sub-aspects) inspired from engaged scholarship and paradoxical participation approaches. The culture of collaboration and the notion of boundary objects are the two main aspects of this categorization of journal papers.

Findings

First, research on the integration of NFB into MIP is either project-oriented or society-oriented but in a larger proportion for society-oriented. Second, a lot of researches favour an analytic over a holistic approach, despite their openness to dialogue with practitioners through the complexity and conflict.

Practical implications

It contributes to the theorization of the engaged scholarship. It also provides insights about research avenues to be exploited where these aspects were not sufficiently exploited, as it is often the case with sustainability, for a better collaboration between researchers and practitioners. Linking the culture of collaboration, boundary objects and knowledge co-creation in the engaged scholarship setting encourages a better understanding of the needs (problem to be resolved) of practitioners, by themselves and the researchers.

Originality/value

The systematic review was conducted in parallel with the organization of two workshops with participants concerned by the integration of NFB into MIP. The paper identified four clusters from their level of compatibility with engaged scholarship.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 14 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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Article
Publication date: 30 March 2012

Nathalie Drouin and Claude Besner

The purpose of this paper is to introduce the papers comprising a special issue of the journal. The central theme of this special issue is “Projects and organisations…

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2743

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to introduce the papers comprising a special issue of the journal. The central theme of this special issue is “Projects and organisations: adding rungs to the ladder of understanding project management and its relationship with the organisation”. It is dedicated to research that explores and proposes different avenues to contribute to the development of the field of project management from this perspective of projects and organisations.

Design/methodology/approach

The Guest Editors solicited academics and collaborators of the Project Management Research Chair at the École des sciences de la gestion, Université du Québec à Montréal (ESG UQAM). Following a call for papers, five were selected that underwent a double‐blind peer‐review process.

Findings

The five selected articles each provide unique perspectives and insights. Viewed as a set, their contributions view projects and organisations from three main perspectives: project management governance issues; management of innovative and IT projects; and processes, practices and tools. The set brings new empirical data, ideas and theoretical frameworks to bear that justify the extension of the current project management paradigm, and suggest that project management be viewed as a critical function of the organisation.

Practical implications

The set of papers encourages scholars to continue to examine organisational concerns related to project management with the goal of explaining and enhancing important relationships among organisational phenomena and the project management field.

Originality/value

By bringing this special issue together, the Editor played an important role in adding rungs to the ladder of understanding project management and its relationship with the organisation.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 5 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 4 January 2017

Nathalie Drouin

Abstract

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 10 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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Article
Publication date: 12 November 2020

Shankar Sankaran, Ralf Müller and Nathalie Drouin

The purpose of this article is to investigate collaboration in project management research. Although the literature shows an increase in collaboration between scientists…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to investigate collaboration in project management research. Although the literature shows an increase in collaboration between scientists and social scientists for various reasons, it is unclear how and why such collaboration takes place in project management research. The literature does show that co-authorship of articles published in project management journals is on the rise due to increased collaboration between researchers in developed countries and emerging economies as well as developing countries. However, no detailed study has been conducted to investigate how such collaboration occurs in practice in project management research. This article addresses this gap.

Design/methodology/approach

We use a multi-method approach (action research as a meta-methodology and surveys) using qualitative data to reflect on a successful collaborative externally funded research project. At the end of the study, a survey was used to investigate how collaboration occurred among the 26 researchers involved, who were spread over nine countries to collect data on a sponsored research project led by the authors who were the principal investigators. We also compare our findings from the original project with findings from a second survey of a purposeful sample of ten project management researchers who have conducted or are conducting collaborative research in order to validate our findings.

Findings

Through this study, we were able to compare the reasons for increased collaboration in scientific research reported in the literature with what we learnt from our own experience in collaborating on a large-scale project across geographical boundaries and cultures around the world. We were also able to get some insights on enablers and barriers to collaboration from peers who have collaborated on project management research from the second survey. We found that, although some of the reasons explained in the literature were confirmed in our study (e.g. the reputation of lead researchers), some other reasons (e.g. the prestige of institutions) were not that important. The conclusions section of this article provides a more detailed comparison. We also found that using a project management approach would deliver better outcomes. The literature on scientific collaboration was divided on the value of a project management approach and preferred a combination of firmness and flexibility. We found that using action research as a meta-methodology to reflect on our research gave us further insights into why we did what we did at certain critical points in our research that moved us forward.

Research limitations/implications

Our study used two surveys with a limited number of researchers to compare what was found in the literature on reasons for collaboration in scientific research and how research outcomes were measured using citation rates. Conducting interviews or focused groups could have provided more nuanced findings. However, our findings did show that collaboration is beneficial to both experienced and early career researchers and helps them to publish in higher-ranked journals resulting in better visibility for the research. This is an interesting observation and merits further investigation. Theoretical implications: Findings from this research contribute to the broad literature on collaborative research in science and social science with a focus on practice-based fields such as project management where collaboration between academics and practitioners is becoming important.

Practical implications

The study provides some insights into the reasons for processes used and benefits from collaboration in project management research. Our findings have also been validated with our peers. Thus, this study will be useful for setting up and managing collaborative research in project management.

Social implications

Effective collaboration in research can provide social value through mentoring of early career researchers.

Originality/value

This is the first detailed study of collaborative research in project management. It also proposes an action research model that can be used to retrospectively analyse long-term research projects to reflect upon and improve.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 14 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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Article
Publication date: 9 August 2013

Nathalie Drouin and Mario Bourgault

Work in distributed project teams is always a challenge for organizations. Many researchers have studies different aspects of distributed project teams, as witnessed by…

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4150

Abstract

Purpose

Work in distributed project teams is always a challenge for organizations. Many researchers have studies different aspects of distributed project teams, as witnessed by the impressive number of papers published in the last decade. However, it appears that the dimensions related to organizational support have still not received much attention in empirical studies. This study investigates the dimensions of organizational support in distributed project teams that contribute most to the quality of the decision‐making process and teamwork effectiveness in distributed project teams.

Design/methodology/approach

The initial intent of this research was to test a theoretical model on the basis of data from the field, namely real‐life situations. A two‐step approach (qualitative and quantitative method) was used. The research model was tested in a sample of experienced project managers on distributed project teams.

Findings

The results suggest that strategic staffing and training and tools provided to team members have a positive impact on the quality of decision making and teamwork effectiveness. Team autonomy is more salient and influential in fostering decision quality in a highly culturally diverse context. Our findings also re‐confirm the link between the quality of decision making and team effectiveness. Thus, teams are perceived as vehicles for identifying and integrating various individual viewpoints and combining knowledge.

Practical implications

This study underscores the importance of selecting practices that enhance the recognition of team members’ contributions in the context of distributed project teams. It is now clear that managers cannot treat these distributed project teams in the same way as conventional teams. Several intervention and support methods are possible. This research contributes to identifying which of them are the most appropriate in this context.

Originality/value

This study contributes to research on distributed project teams and on organizational support theory. It highlights the importance of understanding the processes or dimensions underlying the consequences of perceived organizational support. It bolsters the need to select practices that enhance the recognition of team members’ contributions and treat them favourably in the context of distributed project teams.

Details

Journal of Management Development, vol. 32 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0262-1711

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Article
Publication date: 14 September 2010

Nathalie Drouin, Mario Bourgault and Caroline Gervais

Virtual project teams are teams whose members use technology to varying degrees in working across locational, temporal, and relational boundaries to accomplish an…

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2459

Abstract

Purpose

Virtual project teams are teams whose members use technology to varying degrees in working across locational, temporal, and relational boundaries to accomplish an interdependent task. Work in virtual project teams is a challenge for many organizations. Having studied the issue for several years, the authors propose in this paper to delve deeper into the question from the point of view of organizational support. More specifically, this paper seeks to focus on the organizational support systems and mechanisms provided by firms to their virtual project teams and their impacts on the components of these teams. The objective is to identify the structural factors and processes related to virtual teams that are affected by organizational support systems and mechanisms.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reports exploratory empirical case studies of two Canadian‐based international high‐tech companies. In‐depth interviews were conducted with managers with experience in virtual project team management.

Findings

The same organizational support systems and mechanisms were found to exist in both companies. Functional processes were found to be the virtual team components that were most affected by the implementation of support systems and mechanisms. They are followed by communicational processes, which were substantially supported by various support systems and mechanisms in Company A but less supported in Company B. To a lesser extent, the relational processes of both firms were also affected, while structural factors affecting virtual project teams were almost entirely unsupported.

Practical implications

Virtual project teams require various kinds of commitments by corporate management. For example, we find that top management supports virtual project teams by means of human resources (HR), resource allocation, coordination, and communication support systems. These support systems facilitate project coordination and monitoring, information exchange and access, trust building and cohesion between team members. These findings enable practitioners to better understand the effects of organizational support on the components of virtual teams, so that greater attention is paid to the configuration of these components and support systems can be better designed to improve virtual project team performance.

Originality/value

Organizational support is considered to have a strong impact on project success. Few publications have examined organizational support for virtual project teams, and even fewer have focused on its effects on such teams. This paper should contribute to fostering a better understanding of the effects of organizational support on the components of virtual project teams.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 3 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2014

Nathalie Drouin and Kam Jugdev

The purpose of this paper is to examine relevant issues within the strategic management domain related to concepts and terms used within the resource-based view and…

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1701

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine relevant issues within the strategic management domain related to concepts and terms used within the resource-based view and dynamic capabilities (DC) theory. The paper explains how these theories from strategic management can be translated for organizational project management (OPM). The paper also shares lessons learned by the co-authors as used in project management.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on a literature review and research experience of co-authors, the paper bridges two theories from the strategic management field to OPM and demonstrates conceptual challenges experienced.

Findings

From a translational perspective, the paper outlines how theories from strategic management can be adopted to OPM. Since OPM is evolving, there is merit in drawing from a solid theoretical foundation such as those found in strategic management.

Research limitations/implications

This paper is conceptual and makes a case for further empirical research using strategic management literature. Only recently has research in project management raised the important topic of translating knowledge from more established fields (the giants) to project management research.

Practical implications

Strategic management theories offer insights that can be leveraged to make OPM environments more effective through improved research foundations.

Originality/value

By critically exploring and assessing the resource-based view and DC bodies of literature, this paper's value rests in applying learnings from these fields to OPM and to develop a clearer understanding of concepts and emphasize their importance.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 7 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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