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Article
Publication date: 4 January 2017

Anna-Maija Hietajärvi, Kirsi Aaltonen and Harri Haapasalo

The effective management of inter-organizational integration is central to complex projects. Such projects pose significant challenges for integration, as organizations…

1457

Abstract

Purpose

The effective management of inter-organizational integration is central to complex projects. Such projects pose significant challenges for integration, as organizations struggle with constantly changing inter-organizational interdependencies and must develop and adapt integration mechanisms to meet new demands. The purpose of this paper is to understand what kinds of integration mechanisms are used and how they are developed and adjusted during the infrastructure alliance projects.

Design/methodology/approach

This study provides empirical evidence of integration dynamics in project alliancing by analyzing two infrastructure alliance projects – a complex tunnel construction project and a railway renovation project. The research approach is an inductive case study.

Findings

This paper identifies integration mechanisms adopted in two case projects and three central triggers that led to changes in the integration mechanisms: project lifecycle phase, unexpected events and project team’s learning during the project.

Practical implications

Integration capability should be a precondition for alliance project organizations and requires the adoption of a wide range of integration mechanisms, as well as an ability to adjust those mechanisms in response to everyday dynamics and emergent situations.

Originality/value

Although unplanned contingencies and the responses to them represent important influences in organizations, there is limited amount of research on the dynamics of integration. The findings will be of value in supporting the management of inter-organizational integration in complex, uncertain and time-critical construction projects.

Details

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

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 4 January 2019

Andreas G.M. Nachbagauer and Iris Schirl-Boeck

Risk management and uncertainty in megaprojects is a flourishing topic in project management, while the unexpected is still a neglected matter. The purpose of this paper…

1256

Abstract

Purpose

Risk management and uncertainty in megaprojects is a flourishing topic in project management, while the unexpected is still a neglected matter. The purpose of this paper is to offer conceptual clarifications of the unexpected based on second-order-cybernetics and systems theory. While transferring findings from organisation theory to project management, the article provides fresh insights into managing the unexpected in megaprojects.

Design/methodology/approach

Being grounded on constructionism and systems theory, the conceptual paper explores selected research approaches from organisation theory: research on high-reliability organising, organisational resilience and organisational improvising, on contributions to managing the unexpected in megaprojects. Using the framework of meaning i.e. the factual, social and temporal dimensions, challenges of handling the unexpected are analysed and (effects of) decision-making structures for such projects are defined.

Findings

This paper argues that classic project management, while neglecting the fundamental distinction between risk, uncertainty and the unexpected, sticks to a planning-and-controlling approach. But the unexpected cannot be planned; however, organisations and managers can prepare for the unexpected. This requests a balance between structure and self-organisation in planning, communication, hierarchy and organisational culture. Understanding the contradictions inherent in managing megaprojects allows for smart decision-making when riding the waves of resilience.

Originality/value

The study adds to the literature on complexity and uncertainty in project management by enhancing the view to include the unexpected. While rejecting the universal applicability of rationality-based risk and controlling conceptions, shifting to second-order cybernetics and integrating elements of resilient organising increases the understanding of handling the unexpected in megaprojects.

Details

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

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 16 April 2018

Magali Simard and Danielle Laberge

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the development and outbreak of a crisis in a high-priority project within a large organization.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the development and outbreak of a crisis in a high-priority project within a large organization.

Design/methodology/approach

Single-case study using extreme case sampling, a type of purposeful sampling, because this case provides rich information on a rare research opportunity: a project crisis that emerged during the fieldwork. Research data are semi-structured interviews, observations, project and organization documentation, logbook, notes and memos.

Findings

The paper shows the relevance of notions from organizational crisis management to an internal crisis in a temporary setting. This allowed a deeper understanding of crisis development. The paper reveals the wealth of meaningful, transparent data that can be collected when a crisis emerges. It highlights the high potential of project crises to reveal parent organizations’ dysfunctions. Indeed, findings suggest that the parent organization’s usual project management practices greatly contributed to the crisis affecting this project, which was unusually large and complex.

Research limitations/implications

The main potential limitation relates to transferability. However, a single-case study is appropriate when it represents a rare phenomenon that is not easily accessible for researchers – a crisis outbreak.

Practical implications

Results can provide insights enabling practitioners to improve their understanding of the ambiguous, stressful situations created by a crisis.

Originality/value

The results show the relevance of notions from organizational crisis management to the development of a project crisis and demonstrate the potentially harmful impact of a parent organization’s “usual” practices, especially on “unusually” large and complex projects.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 11 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 30 March 2012

Sorin Piperca and Serghei Floricel

The purpose of this paper is to understand the origins and nature of unexpected events that affect complex projects, by relying on a view of projects as social systems…

1489

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand the origins and nature of unexpected events that affect complex projects, by relying on a view of projects as social systems. The authors argue that the project relation to its environment is mediated by a model of this environment that is embedded in the communications between project participants. The adequacy of this model to the causal texture of the environment inspired a first, epistemological, dimension for characterizing events: event predictability. The nature of the boundaries between system and environment inspired the second dimension: locus of generation.

Design/methodology/approach

This study followed a multiple‐case study approach. The authors collected data in 17 complex projects, in three types of industries: construction, IT/IS, and pharmaceutical.

Findings

In total, nine categories of unexpected events were identified from the intersection of two dimensions: event predictability and locus of generation.

Research limitations/implications

The empirically validated two‐dimensional framework sheds new light on the way organizations react to unexpected events and on the reasons for the eventual project performance.

Practical implications

The findings show that project managers tend to underestimate certain risks. This research will help managers better predict those types of risks. However, some risks are simply unpredictable, therefore the authors argue for the necessity to prepare projects for the unforeseen.

Originality/value

Analyzing the previous literature in unexpected events, the authors identified two main, but opposing, theoretical perspectives: one rooted in decision theory and the other that sees projects as social systems. The value of this paper comes from the original mode in which the authors propose to reconcile these perspectives, by viewing projects as networks of communicative couplings between actors.

Details

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

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 27 May 2021

Morten Wied, Josef Oehmen, Torgeir Welo and Ergo Pikas

Most complex engineering projects encounter unexpected events through their life cycle. These are traditionally attributed to inaccurate foresight and poor planning…

Abstract

Purpose

Most complex engineering projects encounter unexpected events through their life cycle. These are traditionally attributed to inaccurate foresight and poor planning. Outlining a nonanticipatory alternate, the authors seek to explain the ability to rebound from unexpected events, without foresight, using resilient systems theory. This paper seeks to outline the theoretical underpinnings of project resilience and to identify criteria for planning and selecting projects for greater resilience.

Design/methodology/approach

Investigating project resilience, this paper studies the relationship between unexpected events and project performance in 21 projects. The authors perform a systematic review of project ex post evaluations 3–12 years after project completion.

Findings

First, the authors find that all projects encountered unexpected events, even when discounting planning error. Second, the authors show that, as a consequence, projects underperformed, not necessarily relative to formal criteria, but in terms of subjective opportunity cost, that is, relative to competing alternates – known or imagined – foregone by their implementation. Finally, the authors identify four types of resilient projects – superior, equivalent, compensatory and convertible projects – as opportunities for building project resilience.

Practical implications

The properties of resilient projects provide opportunities for building resilience in complex projects.

Originality/value

Departing from traditional efforts to “de risk” plans and “de-bias” planners, this paper focuses on the properties of projects themselves, as an alternate to improved foresight and up-front planning.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 14 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 13 July 2015

Bo Rundh

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the international market development process in small- and medium-sized exporting firms (SMEs) and to examine the influence of …

2684

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the international market development process in small- and medium-sized exporting firms (SMEs) and to examine the influence of “unexpected market events” in relation to actual market activities.

Design/methodology/approach

The discussion is illustrated with a multiple case study. The data in the cases were collected by using secondary data, but also through face-to-face interviews with export executives in the firms. The cases for this research were selected on the basis of suggestions from the Swedish Export Council who applied their own interpretations of firms that have shown rapid export development.

Findings

SMEs are becoming more involved in international activities and exhibiting market behaviours not previously seen. The recognition that internationalization is affected by multiple influences has led to a growing interest in contingency approaches. The findings in the study are illustrated by a typology of international market behaviour.

Research limitations/implications

The study is limited to a few exporting firms within the manufacturing industry so the results of the study can only be tentative.

Practical implications

The number of SME firms operating in international markets has grown. The findings in this paper emphasize the importance of the fact that management has the interest, experience and commitment necessary for international activities.

Originality/value

The interest in the study is focused on capturing the steps in the development process that diverts internationalization in a firm from the traditional path of exporting in SMEs. The multiple case studies illustrate the fact that unexpected market events can influence the firm’s marketing behaviour and the international marketing strategy.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 53 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 August 2005

K.E. van Oorschot, J.W.M. Bertrand and C.G. Rutte

This paper aims to describe three exploratory field studies investigating which characteristics add to later time to market and/or low product functionality of newly…

1201

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to describe three exploratory field studies investigating which characteristics add to later time to market and/or low product functionality of newly developed products. The studies are conducted at the level of developments tasks, or work packages. The first and second studies investigate to what extent the unpredictability of the project's outcome is the result of the unpredictability of the completion time of individual work packages, and of the instability of the total network of work packages.

Design/methodology/approach

Statistical analysis of the empirical data about the progress of three design projects carried out in the development department of a high‐tech capital equipment manufacturer was used. The third study examines the reasons that members of the product development teams in this firm give for the unpredictability of time and quality of the project's outcome.

Findings

The results result indicate the existence of three very different sources of unpredictability: the usual uncertainty about the duration of a design task, the discovery of unexpected new problems in a design task, and the reprioritization of a work package by project leaders due to new problems in other work packages.

Originality/value

Together the three studies provide a detailed account of the operational characteristics of time‐paced product development projects in a particular firm and suggest ways to effectively manage such a project.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 25 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 November 1999

David R. Moore and Andrew R.J. Dainty

Growing emphasis on meeting client needs and improving project performance within the construction industry has led to increasing use of fully integrated “design and…

4042

Abstract

Growing emphasis on meeting client needs and improving project performance within the construction industry has led to increasing use of fully integrated “design and build” (D&B) construction project teams. Advocates of the D&B system contend that integrating design and construction this way leads to a seamless procurement process, improved team relationships, and a more efficiently delivered product. This article reports on research which explored the operational efficiency of such integrated project teams. The findings suggest that despite the benefits of integration, cultural and professional interfaces remain which impair team performance and undermine structural change management protocols. This effectively leaves the team operating as work‐groups in a similar way as they would under a traditionally procured contract, with the construction team excluded from the change management process. A methodology is proposed for exploring these discontinuities in detail, and addressing intra‐work‐group conflicts which threaten the continued development of D&B within the sector.

Details

Team Performance Management: An International Journal, vol. 5 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-7592

Keywords

Content available
Book part
Publication date: 30 July 2018

Abstract

Details

Marketing Management in Turkey
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-558-0

Article
Publication date: 1 April 1986

The Nature of Business Policy Business policy — or general management — is concerned with the following six major functions:

1641

Abstract

The Nature of Business Policy Business policy — or general management — is concerned with the following six major functions:

Details

Management Decision, vol. 24 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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