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Article
Publication date: 7 August 2017

Maqsood Sandhu and Asadullah Khan

The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to investigate project management dimensions while constructing the Panama Canal from the end of ninetieth century to the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to investigate project management dimensions while constructing the Panama Canal from the end of ninetieth century to the start of twentieth century and then benchmarking against the Palm Diera Island at the lapse of a century. Second, to highlight issues of project management, specially the risk management with its economic, social and political domains at the construction site and in France and America.

Design/methodology/approach

The case study research method of qualitative research has been adopted when comparing two mega projects executed in different time and space. For the Panama Canal project documentation investigation was performed. However, a semi-structured interview data collection method was adopted for the Palm Diera Island project. A comparative study of two projects helps in deeper understanding of cross-project management dimensions.

Findings

The research reveals that the French team failed to complete the Panama Canal construction project due to inadequate planning, inappropriate design, lack of risk management, health and safety of the staff and non-availability of finances. However, the Americans successfully completed construction of the canal within budget and time and this was due to the support of change in the purpose of the canal construction adding to achieve its commercial objectives and at the same time strengthen its naval presence. American took its construction as a national objective than the individual enterprise as executed by the French team.

Research limitations/implications

Data collection for the Panama Canal was limited to only historical data available from the literature as documentary investigation. The researchers visited the canal to get in-depth understanding of the construction practices and the scale of construction. However, for the Palm Diera project, data collection was limited to three key personnel interviews.

Practical implications

The Americans were successful in completing the canal due to the US Government control on management and finances of the canal construction and lessons learned during the French construction period. The paper serves as a benchmark for project management dimension in two different regions in different times. The paper bears economic implications for the construction of the mega projects both in South America and the Middle East. Cost overrun construction of the Panama Canal during the French period influenced political spectrum in France resulting into the defeat of the government. During the American period of construction first time out of country visit by the sitting president of the USA reflects its economic and social importance. The valley of death was converted into the valley comfort during the American period resulting into social welfare of the workers. Completion of the canal by the Americans helped them secure operations of the Panama Canal for the next 100 years, contributing to its economic and naval strength.

Social implications

The paper reveals that safety and social implications for the work place in two different regions and at two different times. The impact of safe and improved working conditions at Palm Diera Island resulted into no injury or loss of life, however, during the Panama Canal construction more than 30,000 workers died affecting not only families of the respective workers but their nations as well. The impacts of both the projects on the society were also significant. The public opinion against the construction of the canal during the French period of construction was so significant that they had to abandon their construction equipment at the site. On the contrary, completion of construction of the Panama Canal during the French period helped secured political mileage for President Roosevelt and his party.

Originality/value

The paper benchmarks two different mega projects with different scope executed in two different regions at the lapse of a century. No such research work was found to have compared project management dimensions of two mega projects at the lapse of a century and in two different regions.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 24 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 29 November 2018

Ra’ed Masa’deh, Jawaher Al-Henzab, Ali Tarhini and Bader Yousef Obeidat

The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between three variables of strategic orientation (market orientation, technology orientation entrepreneurial…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between three variables of strategic orientation (market orientation, technology orientation entrepreneurial orientation) and organizational performance in the Jordanian pharmaceutical sector.

Design/methodology/approach

This study employed a quantitative research design where 252 questionnaires were collected form respondents operating in various pharmaceutical companies in Jordan to obtain necessary data to test the hypotheses developed for the study. Multiple regressions were used to analyze the research data.

Findings

The results of the analysis revealed that strategic orientations were positively and significantly related to organizational performance. The findings also showed that market orientation contributed the most to the enhancement of organizational development followed by technology orientation and finally entrepreneurship orientation.

Practical implications

These findings contribute to the understanding of the importance of employing multiple strategic orientations in order to enhance organizational performance, particularly in pharmaceutical companies

Originality/value

This is the first study which adequately covers the relationship between three variables of strategic orientation (market orientation, technology orientation, entrepreneurial orientation) and organizational performance in the Jordanian pharmaceutical sector.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 25 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

Keywords

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