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Article
Publication date: 25 January 2011

Marion A. Weissenberger‐Eibl and Benjamin Teufel

Firms engaged in new product development (NPD) have to achieve a balanced portfolio of NPD projects. Despite the large number of models purporting to support portfolio…

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4253

Abstract

Purpose

Firms engaged in new product development (NPD) have to achieve a balanced portfolio of NPD projects. Despite the large number of models purporting to support portfolio optimization, most of them do not take into account political bias in project selection decisions. This paper aims to analyze approaches of organizational politics to NPD project selection and their implications for NPD portfolio management and future research.

Design/methodology/approach

A review is made of the current literature at the intersection between organizational politics and NPD project selection. With regard to the underlying assumptions of organizational politics, similarities, differences, practical implications, and research perspectives are identified.

Findings

From the paper, insights could be gained into explaining the effects of organizational politics on NPD project selection. However, the differences in assumptions that can be generally observed in organizational politics are also reflected in the studies analyzed. Future research could benefit from integrating different political and methodological perspectives.

Practical implications

In order to reach a balanced NPD portfolio, the potentially dysfunctional biases which characterize political processes from idea generation to project selection should be addressed. A concept of NPD portfolio management is proposed which considers the management of power and politics.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to a more comprehensive overview of political approaches of NPD project selection and serves as a sound basis for future research. The relevance and implications of politics for NPD portfolio management are demonstrated.

Details

European Journal of Innovation Management, vol. 14 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1460-1060

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Article
Publication date: 7 September 2012

Mats Engwall

The general purpose of this paper is to give Sapolsky's classical study of the Polaris Project, written in 1972, the credits it actually earns. In addition, there are two…

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2897

Abstract

Purpose

The general purpose of this paper is to give Sapolsky's classical study of the Polaris Project, written in 1972, the credits it actually earns. In addition, there are two more specific aims: to discuss the role and usage of project management techniques, such as PERT (programme evaluation and review technique), in the practices of project execution; and to display the power of thorough empirical case studies in order to deepen our understanding of the realities of project execution.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper constitutes a detailed review of the content and contributions of the book The Polaris Systems Development written by Harvey M. Sapolsky in 1972. The paper presents the main ideas of the book and discusses its implications for contemporary project management research.

Findings

Sapolsky's work, The Polaris Systems Development, is an important account of some of the most significant courses of events in the birth and formation of project management, especially the creation of PERT as a technique for project coordination. However, by going beyond the rhetorical surface of the project management, Sapolsky shows that PERT never played the role in Polaris that it is generally claimed to have had. The paper puts these findings in context and discusses why this has been ignored in project management research so far.

Research limitations/implications

Scholars focusing on project management research need to distance themselves from its historical tight bounds to project management textbooks and administrative project management techniques. There is a strong need for a broader empirical basis and pluralism in theoretical perspectives in the study of the realities of project execution.

Originality/value

The paper recapitulates a classic account of the formative period of project management, which so far has generally been ignored in project management research. In addition, it discusses three functions of project planning techniques: boundary objects for coordination, political features for legitimacy and trust building, and cognitive means for the social construction of a predicable future.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 5 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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Book part
Publication date: 7 May 2019

Gloria H. W. Liu and Cecil E. H. Chua

Top management support is recognized as the most critical factor for the success of large information system (IS) projects. However, getting this support is often…

Abstract

Top management support is recognized as the most critical factor for the success of large information system (IS) projects. However, getting this support is often difficult, because top management has multiple priorities and one has to compete with others to obtain such support. Political maneuvering is thus an integral and necessary part of the process of obtaining top management support. In this chapter the authors review current research on this topic and organize and synthesize our findings into a framework. The authors then propose four specific strategies which can be used to obtain top management support, including the following: (1) social capital, (2) social engagement, (3) rational persuasion, and (4) exchange strategies. While the authors argue that all four strategies should be applied, the specific circumstances in which they should be applied vary. A two-stage process is proposed that identifies the appropriate criteria for determining the most appropriate strategy. The criteria are: (1) the type of top management support needed (i.e., durable vs immediate) and (2) the level of top management-project team trust (i.e., high vs low).

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2004

Lynda Bourne and Derek H.T. Walker

Effective project managers are required to have both “hard” technical skills to help control the iron triangle of time, cost and functional scope as well as relationship…

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11041

Abstract

Effective project managers are required to have both “hard” technical skills to help control the iron triangle of time, cost and functional scope as well as relationship management skills to work effectively with people and get the best out of them. This paper argues that project managers also need a third skill: we refer to it as tapping into the power lines. This is a skill beyond the management of schedules, budgets and milestones, beyond leading project teams or managing suppliers and users, and even beyond what is commonly regarded as managing a project's senior stakeholders. The hypothesis, based on data gathered from three case studies, is that there is a need for project managers to be skilled in managing at the third dimension in large organizations; to understand the need for, have the ability, and be willing, to “tap into the power grid” of influence that surrounds all projects, particularly in large organizations. Without third dimension skills, project managers and their organizations will find delivering successful project increasingly more difficult. The second part of this paper will discuss how project managers might achieve competence in managing the third dimension both through individual effort and with the support of the learning organization.

Details

The Learning Organization, vol. 11 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-6474

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Article
Publication date: 25 February 2019

Jane Zheng

The purpose of this paper is to understand urban sculpture venues that emerged in the recent decade and their connections to the on-going entrepreneurial urban policies…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand urban sculpture venues that emerged in the recent decade and their connections to the on-going entrepreneurial urban policies and urban strategies in Shanghai. How does this phenomenon relate to Shanghai’s urban policies? How does urban sculpture development reflect the nature and characteristics of the urban sculpture authority?

Design/methodology/approach

Case study is the major research method used to achieve an in-depth understanding of the developmental processes, mechanisms and characteristics of urban sculpture projects. Three cases were selected and studied using purposeful sampling methods, including Duolun Road Sculpture Project (2002), the Shanghai International Sculpture Center (2006) and the Jing’an Sculpture Park (2009).

Findings

A twofold main argument is established in this paper. Urban sculpture venues emerged as a new type of instrument to advance urban entrepreneurial policies; the use of this instrument, however, also involves politics in that art politically transforms the features and functions of open spaces in Shanghai.

Originality/value

Although scholarly interest in exploring cultural development through urban planning in the Chinese context is evident, urban sculpture planning (termed as “urban sculpture” in the Chinese ideological context) in Chinese metropolitan cities, in particular, is an unexplored topic, and thus leaves a gap in the knowledge. This paper introduces a new conceptual model, i.e., “aesthetic regime,” to describe the role of the urban sculpture authority in the development of the urban sculpture scene. It looks at the artistic representation of artworks, design of the sculpture venues, functionality of the artworks and social mechanisms for the actualization of these projects. An evolutional trend of the three sites across the decade is concerned.

Details

Asian Education and Development Studies, vol. 8 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-3162

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Article
Publication date: 24 September 2019

James Prater, Konstantinos Kirytopoulos and Tony Ma

Despite the advent of sophisticated control methods, there are still significant issues regarding late delivery of information technology projects. The purpose of this…

Abstract

Purpose

Despite the advent of sophisticated control methods, there are still significant issues regarding late delivery of information technology projects. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the common causes of scheduling problems specifically in the information technology projects context.

Design/methodology/approach

Through a quantitative research, the importance of those causes, as well as the underpinning factors driving them, is explored. The causes are ranked according to their relative important index, and exploratory factor analysis is employed to reveal underlying dimensions (factors) of these causes.

Findings

From the analysis, four factors were extracted, namely, “Dataless Newbie,” “Technical Newbie,” “Pragmatic Futurist” and “Optimistic Politician.” These factors explain the different latent conditions that lead to scheduling problems in information technology projects.

Practical implications

The key contribution of this research is that it enlightens the latent conditions underpinning scheduling problems. Also, the evidence provides that schedule development for information technology projects is impacted by the same causes that impact engineering projects, and that applying a number of mitigation techniques widely used within the engineering area, such as reference class, would, no doubt, not only improve information technology schedules but also reduce the political pressures on the project manager.

Originality/value

This research provides a valuable insight into understanding the underlying factors for poor project estimation.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 14 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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Article
Publication date: 8 April 2020

Shankar Sankaran, Anne Live Vaagaasar and Michiel Christian Bekker

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how project managers, influence the assignment of project team members by directly assigning or specifying who they want or by…

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1178

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how project managers, influence the assignment of project team members by directly assigning or specifying who they want or by indirectly using lateral influence strategies to secure the appropriate resources. This study is part of a wider study investigating the balance between vertical and horizontal leadership in projects in which nomination (or assignment) was identified as a key event contributing to balancing the leadership. It focuses specifically on the nomination or assignment event at the start of a project.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on the philosophy of critical realism, case studies were used to collect data through 70 semi-structured interviews in Australia, Scandinavia and South Africa. Interviews were conducted with senior managers, project managers and project team members. Two project team members who worked with the same project manager were interviewed to gather diverse views. The data were analyzed individually by researchers from each location using a coding method proposed by Miles et al. (2014). The researchers then jointly analyzed the findings to arrive at five common themes from that explained how team members were assigned in practice.

Findings

Despite the recognized need for project managers to form their own teams, this study found that project team members were often assigned by others. This was because project managers lacked authority to secure their resources. Therefore, they used lateral influence strategies to help with assigning project team members. The study identified five lateral influencing strategies adopted by project managers to assign team members: creating an image of competence; creating coalitions; taking a gamble; waiting for the right moment; and reasoning with facts. Two of these lateral influencing strategies were not identified in the previous literature on influencing strategies used in organizations.

Research limitations/implications

The findings should not be viewed as representative of the respective continents where the cases were studied. However, this study contributes to the literature on project management, illuminating how project teams are assigned and by whom and, specifically, the role that influence plays during this event of the balanced leadership theory. It also identifies the types of lateral influence strategies used by project managers when assigning team members to their projects. It provides a pathway to explore the use of lateral influencing strategies by project managers beyond the assignment process.

Practical implications

This study will help project managers to become aware of influencing strategies that they can use in practice while assigning team members to their projects. It will also highlight the importance of assigning the right resources to projects with a view to achieving balanced leadership.

Originality/value

This research is of value to organizations using projects to successfully deliver their strategies by assigning suitable resources to their projects.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 13 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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Article
Publication date: 30 August 2018

Carlos F. Gomes, Michael H. Small and Mahmoud M. Yasin

The purpose of this paper is to assess the management of public-sector projects in Portugal paying particular attention to the extent to which total quality management…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to assess the management of public-sector projects in Portugal paying particular attention to the extent to which total quality management (TQM) principles are being utilized in such projects.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on an extensive review of the literature, nine propositions are advanced about the interrelationships among seven factors that were identified, in a previous study, as having some influence on the management process in the planning and implementation of public-sector projects in Portugal. Structural equation modeling was used to investigate these propositions using data obtained from 211 respondents to a survey of project managers from municipalities across Portugal.

Findings

The results of the structural equation model indicate that the TQM components working in tandem with project-management-specific variables provide a systematic means of managing the planning and implementation stages of projects, with technical items being critical in the planning stage and softer management items becoming important in the implementation stage.

Research limitations/implications

Readers should be careful not to generalize the findings in a global context or for private sector projects. However, researchers are encouraged to extend this study by including other planning and implementation variables with a view to discerning what particular characteristics of a project make it more amenable to TQM solutions.

Practical implications

The findings are presented to show how the key components of TQM, customer focus, employee involvement and continuous involvement, can be applied during the planning and implementation stages of projects.

Originality/value

The sample size of 211 is representative of the underlying population of project managers in municipalities across Portugal and is comparatively large in relation to other empirical project management studies from Portugal, lending credence to the generalizability of these finding to public-sector projects in Portugal.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 32 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

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Article
Publication date: 29 November 2018

Fatih Eren

The purpose of this paper is to explore top government hands-on megaproject management model applied to Istanbul’s new airport megaproject. The study aims to find an…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore top government hands-on megaproject management model applied to Istanbul’s new airport megaproject. The study aims to find an answer to this research question: “How is the organizational design and management of a megaproject that has been alive in a confrontational socio-political environment and whose national strategic importance is high?”

Design/methodology/approach

Organizational theory and critical theory perspectives are used in this study. Istanbul’s grand airport is chosen as the case study. Interview, focus group and document analysis methods are used together. The research yields data from qualitative resources. Verbal and written materials are organized into three major themes and 27 key subjects for content analysis.

Findings

A top level of organizational management can be attained in the state in order for the mega projects with high national strategic importance to survive without problems and with high performance. The top government-level organizational structure implemented at Istanbul’s new airport has reduced complexity, risk and uncertainty; increased performance and product quality; and strenghtened inter-organizational compatibility and communication within the megaproject organization. However, this structuring also increased centralization, reduced transparency and direct public participation in the decision-making process.

Research limitations/implications

The megaproject is run in strict confidence and limited information is shared gradually in a controlled way with public by the megaproject organization. Therefore, a qualitative methodology is followed and the usage of quantitative data remained limited in the research.

Practical implications

The study presents an exemplary top government-level megaproject management model for countries experiencing strong socio-political conflicts and aiming to perform megaprojects with high national strategic importance.

Social implications

The organization of Istanbul’s new airport megaproject offers an exemplary, flexible and innovative organizational management model for countries that want to realize mega projects with high national strategic importance and experience strong socio-political conflicts. The questions of how to cope with challenges, how to build management capabilities and how to improve the cooperation and coordination within megaprojects have found some answers with this study. In addition, this study provides an insight into how to make more effective objections to wrong megaproject practices and the right strategies that the opposing organizations can follow.

Originality/value

This empirical research widens and deepens the theoretical foundations of top government hands-on megaproject management. The study, which includes a process analysis, allows to better understand the philosophy, nature, success, planning process, social organization and dynamics of megaprojects and to explain them through the values and strategies of organizations.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 12 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 1997

Mahmoud M. Yasin, Thomas W. Zimmerer and Marwan A. Wafa

This study examined the differences among 76 American project managers and 36 of their Arab counterparts with regard to their perceptions of factors contributing to…

Abstract

This study examined the differences among 76 American project managers and 36 of their Arab counterparts with regard to their perceptions of factors contributing to effective project management. After reviewing the relevant literature, a conceptual framework was derived. Seven research hypotheses were formulated and tested. The results of this study tended to underscore the significance of cultural differences among these two groups of project managers.

Details

Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, vol. 4 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-7606

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