بررسی نقش رهبری تحول گرا مدیران مجموعه در عملکرد پروژه
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|20010||2013||13 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Project Management, Volume 31, Issue 4, May 2013, Pages 485–497
Research into the role of transformational leadership in project based organisations has generally focused on project managers or senior managers and less so on portfolio managers who oversee multiple projects to achieve business objectives. This study examines the impact of transformational leadership behaviour of portfolio managers on project performance directly and indirectly through other intervening variables such as climate for innovation and innovation championing. Using a questionnaire survey, data were obtained from 112 project managers in a UK project based organisation. Transformational leadership behaviour of portfolio managers was found to have a positive and significant relationship with project performance. Innovation championing and climate for innovation both partially mediated the relationship between transformational leadership and project performance. The study confirms the importance of portfolio managers in enhancing project performance and identifies the need for project based organisations to cultivate transformational leadership behaviour among them for enhanced performance. It also highlights the need for further exploration of the role of portfolio managers in improving project performance.
The need for organisations to respond to the rapidly changing and often conflicting expectations from clients and remain competitive in the current harsh economic environment has resulted in a continuous search for innovative approaches aimed at improving project performance (Kissi et al., 2009 and Koch and Bendixen, 2005). Although research suggests behavioural concerns fundamentally influence project performance, limited behaviour-related research has been undertaken in project organisations (Tuuli and Rowlinson, 2009). The focus of research has traditionally been on deriving efficiencies (Muller and Turner, 2007). Leadership behaviour in general and transformational leadership in particular has long been considered an important individual factor that influences innovation and performance in the workplace (Keegan and Den Hartog, 2004 and Yang et al., 2010b). Most studies investigating the impact of transformational leadership in organisational performance have however tended to focus on senior management (e.g. Jung et al., 2003, Jung et al., 2008 and Sarros et al., 2008) or project managers and less so on middle level managers generally and portfolio managers in particular (Kissi et al., 2009, Kissi et al., 2010a and Styhre and Josephson, 2006). In project-based organisations, leadership behaviour of portfolio managers is important in facilitating improved project performance. Portfolio managers in this study are middle level managers running divisions of the company under study. Their role involves having strategic overview of projects led by different project managers which are not necessarily inter-related. Their primary aim is to ensure business objectives are achieved. They are distinguished from programme managers in that programme management involves managing a group of related projects in a coordinated way to achieve benefits not possible if managed individually (PMI, 2004). In the context of this study, the projects could be coming from different clients. Portfolio managers have the responsibility of ensuring projects collectively meet the organisation's and the clients' objectives. They also hold regular project progress review meetings with project managers. As they are in regular contact with the project managers, it is expected their workplace behaviours would have a direct or indirect effect on how project managers and project team members conduct themselves in delivering projects. Ultimately that is expected to reflect on project outcomes. However, limited research has been undertaken on this important constituency and their impact on project success, (Cheng et al., 2005, Jonas, 2010 and Muller and Turner, 2007). The emphasis of our study is therefore on the transformational leadership behaviour as a managerial competency (Turner and Muller, 2005) exhibited by portfolio managers and how that influences project performance directly as well as indirectly through other intervening variables. This study draws from the concept of direct and indirect transformational leadership defined in relation to how distant the subordinate is from the leader (Shamir, 1995 and Yammarino, 1994). Two aspects of indirect leadership underlie this study; the bypass and the cascading effect (Yang et al., 2010a). The bypass effect is where transformational leadership directly influences the performance of followers further removed from the leader in the organisational hierarchy while the cascading effect of transformational leadership occurs where the leader impacts on the performance of frontline employees indirectly by influencing the leadership behaviour of the immediate follower who in turn influences the performance of their subordinates. Leadership can also impact performance through other intervening variables such as workplace climate. The study sought to contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms through which transformational leadership behaviour of portfolio managers influence project performance. Our study had three primary objectives. Firstly, to investigate the direct effect of transformational leadership of portfolio managers on project performance bypassing project managers. Secondly, to investigate the cascading effect of transformational leadership on project performance by influencing the innovation championing behaviour of project managers, and thirdly, to examine the effect of transformational leadership on project performance acting through the work place climate. Consistent with Schneider and Reichers' (1983) suggestion that climate studies should be facet specific to yield meaningful and useful results, we focused on “climate for innovation.” Climate for innovation is considered as creating the enabling environment that encourages project team members to adopt innovative approaches to delivering projects. Innovation championing behaviour in this study is defined as “the project manager's observable actions directed towards seeking, stimulating, supporting, carrying out and promoting innovation in the projects” (Dulaimi et al., 2005: 566). Project outcomes have often been measured on the basis of financial, budget and quality performance (Salter and Torbett, 2003 and Shenhar et al., 1997). Beyond these traditional measures, we recognise that projects generally have different stakeholders with varying expectations and views on project success (De Wit, 1988). Project performance in this study is therefore multi-dimensional in nature incorporating both short and long term measures (Dulaimi et al., 2005 and Shenhar et al., 1997). In subsequent sections we discuss the hypothesised relationship among the key constructs derived from extant literature, outline the statistical analyses undertaken and present key findings together with their theoretical and practical implications.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The primary objective of this research was to examine the role of portfolio managers in improving project performance directly as well as indirectly through climate for innovation and innovation championing. The results from this study demonstrate that high levels of portfolio managers' transformational leadership positively effect on project performance explaining 10% of the variance in project performance. This is consistent with the results of Waldman and Atwater (1994) who in a study of R&D project teams found that transformational leadership of higher level managers positively influence project outcomes. Also, Keegan and Den Hartog (2004) found transformational leadership of managers did have a positive impact on employees' commitment and motivation which could in turn influence employee performance in project environment. Our findings suggest that transformational leadership behaviour of portfolio managers could potentially bypass the hierarchical link between portfolio managers and project managers and be experienced directly at the project team level and consequently impact on project performance. The direct effect of transformational leadership on performance of employees at lower levels of organisations is supported in previous studies (Dvir et al., 2002). Yang et al. (2010a) provide further evidence of the bypass effect of transformational leadership. Yang et al. (2010a) explained the bypass effect of transformational leadership behaviour of middle managers on the employee performance drawing on Bandura's (1986) theory of social learning and suggested that employee's identification with their organisation provides an important psychological avenue through which leaders directly influence the behaviour of their teams. Our findings suggest that by articulating a clear strategic objective for their division, portfolio managers could inspire delivery teams to put in the “extra effort” required to achieve the desired goals. Furthermore high performance expectation expressed during project reviews could motivate the team members to aim at achieving higher standards of project performance. Given that previous research by Keegan and Den Hartog (2004) as well as Waldman and Atwater (1994) found no significant relationship between transformational leadership of project managers and project outcomes, it is possible that benefits of transformational leadership in the project environment could be derived from higher up the organisational hierarchy at the portfolio manager level rather than the project manager level. We found that transformational leadership of portfolio managers had a positive and significant relationship with championing behaviour, uniquely explaining 8% of the variance in innovation championing behaviour. This finding is consistent with previous studies which found transformational leadership engenders commitment and trust (Podsakoff et al., 1990 and Podsakoff et al., 1996), innovative behaviour among immediate followers (Pieterse et al., 2010) and performance beyond the expected level (Bass and Avolio, 1994). The study demonstrates this relationship holds within the project environment as trust in portfolio managers who exhibit transformational leadership is likely to encourage innovation championing behaviour among project managers in the knowledge that their managers will stand by them should they fail in their efforts to implement innovative solutions. This could lead to improved project performance. Although research has shown that the leadership behaviour of project managers influences project outcomes (Yang et al., 2010b), there is no clear indication as to the type of leadership which will yield the desired project outcomes. Our study highlights a significantly positive effect of innovation championing behaviour on project performance in line with findings made by Dulaimi et al. (2005), accounting for 16% of the variation in project performance. Similarly, Waldman and Atwater (1994) found that championing behaviour had a positive effect on project effectiveness in a research and development project environment. By exhibiting championing behaviour project managers facilitate the generation of ideas among team members and promote the advantages of an innovative idea. Furthermore, by demonstrating commitment and taking ownership of the process, project managers are likely to engender support and commitment among team members to make the project successful. A Study by Howell and Higgins (1990) on the personality characteristics of innovation champions found they exhibit transformational leadership to a greater extent than non-champions. It is therefore possible that the cascading effect of transformational leadership could influence the innovation championing behaviour of project managers who in turn influence project performance. This could result from the tendency of the direct subordinate to emulate portfolio managers (Yang et al., 2010a). This finding corroborates the cascading effect of transformational leadership in the project environment. The evidence also suggests that transformational leadership of portfolio managers exerts a positive influence on climate for innovation, uniquely explaining 34% of the variance in climate for innovation. The result is consistent with findings by Sarros et al. (2008). In a study of 1158 managers in the private sector in Australia, Sarros and his colleagues found that transformational leadership accounted for 26% of the variance in organisational climate for innovation. The study particularly found that transformational leadership in organisations was linked to the provision of adequate resources, which enhances the perception of an environment encouraging of innovation. We also found climate for innovation influenced project performance and explained 10% of the variance. This is consistent with previous research that has shown that resource availability and support from management help to create a climate for innovation which in turn induces improved performance (Scott and Bruce, 1994). Kissi et al. (2012a) reviewed three types of innovative projects and concluded that middle level managers in project environment influence project performance by helping to create a climate conducive to innovation. This indirect relationship is in line with findings by Panuwatwanich et al. (2008) whose study of 181 professional designers in the construction industry found that leadership for innovation has an indirect effect on performance. Climate for innovation therefore provides an avenue through which transformational leadership can influence project performance. The results from this study further corroborates findings by Kissi et al. (2012b) who in a qualitative study identified individualised support as the most influential transformational leadership dimension influencing project performance both directly and indirectly though the organisational climate and championing behaviour. Articulating vision and fostering the acceptance of group goals both influenced climate for innovation and project performance while high performance expectation, modelling behaviour and intellectual stimulation were found to influence innovation championing and project performance. Findings from this study have a number of significant theoretical implications. Firstly they deepen our understanding of the process through which transformational leadership of portfolio managers influences performance in the project environment. The study demonstrates that the bypass effect of leadership holds in the project environment as transformational leadership of portfolio managers had a direct effect on project performance, bypassing the influence of project managers. In addition the mediating influence of innovation championing behaviour supports the cascading effect of transformational leadership in project settings (Yang et al., 2010a). Portfolio managers could influence the delivery team as a whole through the climate for innovation. Our study highlights the importance of portfolio managers in enabling higher levels of performance in project based organisations. The study adds to the limited number of research on portfolio managers in literature and provides an insight into the role of this important constituency. It further identifies the need to further explore their influence in achieving project success. This is even more important given that context-related behaviours have in recent times been identified as one of the key factors that influence project success (Tuuli and Rowlinson, 2009). The findings also highlight a departure from the negative reporting of the role of middle level managers (Dopson and Stewart, 1993 and Thomas and Linstead, 2002) and suggest they have an important function in enhancing project performance. The findings from this study have a range of practical implications for project based professional services firms and particularly for portfolio managers. It is important that portfolio managers are aware of the impact of their work place behaviour on the performance of project managers and project team members. Portfolio managers can achieve this by modelling the kind of behaviour that will be expected of their project teams. In addition, intellectually stimulating their teams through intelligent questioning and expressing high performance expectation during project delivery could encourage creativity and innovative behaviour among project teams. Transformational leadership is most likely to be attractive to professional services organisations comprising mainly of individuals with a reasonably high level of education and an aspiration for challenging work which could stimulate professional development (Keller, 1992). Portfolio managers should therefore be conscious of this and adopt transformational leadership style in leading their teams. The position portfolio managers hold between the strategic decision making senior managers and operational delivery teams offers them the opportunity to influence the perceptions of their teams and send the right signals in respect of the expected innovative behaviour which could result in improved project performance. Investigations conducted by Keegan and Turner (2002) into project based organisations in various sectors including the engineering and procurement sector on their approach and attitude towards innovation revealed that irrespective of the industry, they do not create a climate conducive for innovation. Their findings suggested that the processes and procedures associated with the successful management of projects serve to stifle innovation, noting that “the efficient use of personnel time has become the critical criteria against which all projects were judged and the measurement system focused all efforts on making people accountable for their time” (Keegan and Turner, 2002: 375). Portfolio managers could therefore take steps to provide support for innovation and make the necessary resources including time available to their teams to help create the right environment that could lead to improved project performance. Given the direct and indirect impact of transformational leadership on performance, it is important that organisations make efforts to invest in developing transformational leadership competencies among portfolio managers. In spite of the significant findings of this study, it is not without limitations. The cross-sectional nature of the study implies that no definitive causal inferences can be drawn among the constructs. For example, although the findings suggest that transformational leadership has a positive effect on climate for innovation, it is also possible that the nature of the work environment could influence the leadership behaviour of the portfolio managers. A longitudinal research design in the future could help establish the causal relationships among the constructs. The study adopted a quantitative approach and that has its disadvantages in that it fails to capture the nuances of, and complexities within the relationships studied. Future qualitative research design should examine in greater detail the processes through which the bypass and cascading effect of transformational leadership practically occurs in the workplace to influence project performance. Whereas our study argues portfolio managers positively influence project performance, it is also possible the level of innovation contributed significantly to the project performance measures observed. Future research should control for the level of innovation in order to clarify the degree of portfolio managers' direct impact on project performance. Common source bias could be an issue in this study as project managers were the only source of data. Future studies should include social desirability measures and obtain data from different sources including team members and portfolio managers to address this bias. At 8% the explanatory power of transformational leadership on innovation championing behaviour is relatively weak. Moreover, the level of correlation between transformational leadership and climate for innovation was higher than expected. This could be because transformational leadership has been found to match closely with the determinants of innovation such as encouragement, recognition and challenge in the workplace place (Gumusluoglu and Ilsev, 2009). Future studies should therefore adopt a different instrument for measuring transformational leadership or better explanatory measures for innovation championing and climate for innovation to explore these relationships in more detail. Finally, we based the study on one organisation. Although the size and diversity of the company mitigates this limitation, future research should focus on an industry wide survey to confirm the generalisability of the relationships identified in this study of a single but large project organisation.