رفتار سهام داران داخلی در مدیریت پرتفولیو پروژه و تاثیر آن بر موفقیت
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|22043||2013||17 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||10820 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Project Management, Volume 31, Issue 6, August 2013, Pages 830–846
Stakeholder behavior and stakeholder management are key success factors within project portfolio management (PPM). This empirical study of 197 project portfolios investigates the effect of the intensity of engagement (IoE) of portfolio-internal stakeholders on project portfolio success. We show that the effect of stakeholders is phase-specific and that role clarity as a measure of PPM maturity affects the nature of the relationship between the IoE of stakeholders and portfolio success. The effects of the IoE of senior managers on success are not clearly positive with regard to strategic portfolio structuring and are even negative in operative portfolio steering in established PPM systems. In immature PPM systems, line managers tend to take advantage of their position in resource management. Surprisingly, the influence of portfolio managers in portfolio steering is insignificant. Altogether, this paper shows the diverse effect of the IoE of stakeholders on portfolio success. This study enriches project research by applying stakeholder theory to the project portfolio context and offers practical guidance for further professionalizing PPM.
Increasingly, companies have driven the projectification of their activities, which has been reflected in substantially increasing shares of spending for project-organized ventures (Dahlgren and Söderlund, 2010 and Lundin, 2011). However, the assumed advantage in the controllability of single projects comes along with a loss of transparency and thus the effectiveness of the entire collection of projects in a firm (Elonen and Artto, 2003). Therefore, companies that handle numerous projects simultaneously require a structured management approach for project portfolios, and project portfolio management (PPM) thus becomes a key competence to implement strategies and remain competitive (Dietrich and Lehtonen, 2005, Killen et al., 2008 and Martinsuo and Lehtonen, 2007). Both research and practice suggest that stakeholders with the ability to influence projects play a crucial role in the successful management of projects (Aaltonen, 2011, Assudani and Kloppenborg, 2010 and Wang and Huang, 2006). Moreover, in the professional and academic management literature, a common view is that stakeholder management and performance are strongly related (Donaldson and Preston, 1995). Additionally, stakeholders and their interests may be affected by projects or project outcomes; thus, from an ethics and sustainable management perspective, they must not be ignored in project management, which is reflected in some definitions of project success (Freeman et al., 2007 and Turner, 2009). For programs of projects, which can be understood as a specific type of project portfolio (Artto and Dietrich, 2004, rephrased from OGC, 2003), the crucial relevance of stakeholders in successful management has been discussed in the literature (Lycett et al., 2004 and Pellegrinelli et al., 2007). In fact, Lycett et al. (2004) view stakeholder management as the basis of effective program management. Stakeholder management as a discipline has been integrated into program management guidelines (e.g., Pellegrinelli, 2008 and Project Management Institute (PMI), 2008b), although research on the topic remains relatively scarce. Building on the literature on project, program, and general management, we argue that the relevance of stakeholders for success also applies to project portfolio management, which is supported by the work of several scholars (Levine, 2005 and Turner, 2009). The management of an entire portfolio of projects is a distributed process (Jonas, 2010) that is often located in more than one organizational unit and thus directly or indirectly involves, affects, and is affected by several groups and individuals. Hence, not only stakeholders of single projects affect the success of a portfolio but also stakeholders of the portfolio as a whole who are either directly involved in the PPM process, can influence the success of the portfolio otherwise, or are affected by the portfolio. Scholars in stakeholder research have developed various conceptualizations and definitions of stakeholders (for an overview, see Mitchell et al., 1997). However, the pioneer work of Freeman (1984) defined a stakeholder as “any group or individual who can affect or is affected by the achievement of the organization's objectives” (p. 46; similar wording in Freeman et al., 2010), and this definition is still widely used and forms the basis for many other definitions. Thus, drawing on stakeholder theory, we define project portfolio stakeholders as any group or individual in a relationship with a project portfolio, such that the group or individual can affect or is affected by the achievement of the portfolio's objectives (similar definition for program management in PMI, 2006). Because PPM is a distributed process ( Jonas, 2010), in one context related parties can be part of the management of “the organization” (in Freeman's, 1984, hub and spoke definition) that manages (for) stakeholders. In another context, those related parties can be stakeholders. Therefore, the portfolio (and its objectives and decision making) that is represented by different players in the PPM process could be perceived as being in the middle of this hub and spoke system. Hence, our stakeholder definition includes all groups that “have a stake in” such a portfolio acknowledging that these groups may also be part of the organization that is managing (for) stakeholders ( Evan and Freeman, 1988, pp. 75–76). Goodpaster (1991) has noted that Freeman's definition (1984) implies the notion of two types of stakeholders: strategic (affecting) and moral (being affected). Further, Freeman (1984) differentiated with respect to organizational aspects between firm internal and external stakeholders. The focus of this paper is on strategic stakeholders (i.e., those affecting project portfolios) while acknowledging that moral stakeholders can also become strategic over time (Goodpaster, 1991) and that, from a normative perspective, management actions should follow ethical guidelines and also serve moral stakeholders (Freeman et al., 2007). Further, we focus on portfolio-internal strategic stakeholders (i.e., those who are directly involved in the PPM process) because they constitute the core of PPM. As such, we expect these stakeholders to be a major source of influence with respect to project portfolio success. Thus, we define four strategic internal stakeholders of PPM: senior managers, mid-level line managers, project portfolio managers, and project managers. The fairly new area of project portfolio management research has thus far focused on formalization. The extant literature focuses on describing what project portfolio management comprises or should comprise. Numerous scholars address the processes, tasks, and instruments of PPM (e.g., Cooper et al., 2001, Levine, 2005, Project Management Institute (PMI), 2008a and Teller et al., 2012). This rather technocratic view provides valuable and necessary yet insufficient knowledge for the successful management of project portfolios. As scholars have discussed in the strategic management domain (Freeman et al., 2007) and for program management (Lycett et al., 2004), also in PPM we must obtain a better understanding of stakeholders, their behavior, and its effect on success to be able to manage project portfolios effectively and efficiently. As a first step, this requires an assessment of stakeholder behavior and its consequences. As a second step, we must explain the choices of specific behavior by identifying the antecedents of stakeholder behavior. Surprisingly little research addresses organizational stakeholder behavior in a strategic management or project context (Aaltonen and Kujala, 2010, Frooman, 1999 and Rowley and Moldoveanu, 2003), and almost no studies specifically address the PPM context with very few exceptions that cover only single aspects of stakeholder behavior and PPM (e.g., Unger et al., 2012). Furthermore, the current stakeholder research provides only a limited number of empirical analyses. The described research deficits are consistent with the recommendation of Freeman and McVea (2001) to apply the insights of stakeholder theory to “real-world problems” rather than focusing entirely on the development of theory. To address this deficit in stakeholder and project portfolio research, this article takes the first step in understanding stakeholder behavior by analyzing its consequences and posing the following general research question: How does the behavior of internal stakeholders influence project portfolio success? To reduce the complexity of our analysis, we divide the research question into three more specific questions. Describing stakeholder behavior in greater detail with respect to PPM, the most basic question addresses the extent to which stakeholders engage themselves in PPM activities. Q1. How does the intensity of engagement of stakeholders influence project portfolio success? In this question and in the overall paper, the engagement of stakeholders refers to the involvement and activity of stakeholders themselves and not to the often used understanding as management actions to increase stakeholder involvement. Project portfolio management definitions are often based on a process with several activity clusters, steps, or phases (e.g., Thiry, 2007). For example, Levine (2005) noted that the right stakeholders should be involved in the right PPM process steps. Thus, we ask: Q2. How does stakeholders' influence on success vary across different PPM phases? Because PPM is a fairly new management system that involves several internal stakeholders, we expect that stakeholder role clarity may influence the relationship between stakeholder behavior and project portfolio success. Hence, we ask: Q3. How is the influence of stakeholder behavior on success affected by role clarity? We use data from a large sample of project portfolios in German, Austrian, and Swiss firms to analyze the effect of the intensity of stakeholder engagement on project portfolio success. Because the level of analysis is the portfolio level rather than the project level, the relevant stakeholders include senior managers, line managers, and project portfolio managers. Project managers are also included because they are involved in PPM and represent project teams and customer interests at the portfolio level. The contributions of this paper are threefold. First, we contribute to stakeholder theory by applying this theory to PPM, integrating it with other management approaches and thus fostering its explanatory value and relevance. Second, the current study contributes to PPM research by helping to explain the relevance of stakeholders to PPM and shifting the current focus in the extant literature from formalization toward understanding further aspects that are critical for successful PPM. Finally, the current findings contribute to practice by enabling managers to address stakeholders more effectively through increased understanding of stakeholder behavior and its consequences. Thus, our findings also provide guidance for further establishing and professionalizing PPM.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The objective of this study is to investigate the effect of the engagement of strategic internal stakeholders in the different PPM phases on project portfolio success considering varying degrees of PPM maturity. The imperative for this detailed analysis is underlined by examining average engagement over all phases with average levels of role clarity. We found that only two stakeholders significantly influence project portfolio success. The positive influence of line managers on strategic fit demonstrates their function as an interface between strategy and operations (Shi et al., 2009). Moreover, line managers also provide the resources for projects in portfolios, provide functional knowledge as domain experts, must subsequently implement the results of such projects, and possess the political power to support or oppose projects. Hence, the engagement of line managers on average supports the PPM process, and the absence of their engagement can constitute a significant obstacle. The positive influence of project managers on average project success is rather obvious, as they are responsible for running the projects in portfolios and represent their projects in the PPM process. Consequently, an increased engagement in the PPM process (e.g., to obtain qualified resources for their projects or to become aligned with other project managers) positively affects the success of their projects. More differentiated findings will be discussed below. (1) Senior managers. A wide range of studies has shown a positive effect of the engagement of senior managers on project success (e.g., Gomes et al., 2001 and Swink et al., 2006). In view of these findings, it is initially surprising that the engagement of senior managers has no significant influence in their germane phase of portfolio structuring, especially in terms of strategic fit. According to the work of Bonner et al. (2002) or Unger et al. (2012) on project termination within PPM, senior managers' effect may be of an inverted U-shaped nature (see also Onyemah, 2008). This shape could be explained by the tendency of senior managers to mentor their “pet projects” (i.e., projects that are personally important to senior managers). Such mentoring may result in allocating more resources than are justifiable based on strategy or may result in continuing to pursue failing projects ( Biyalogorsky et al., 2006 and Schmidt and Calantone, 2002). The so-called “escalation of commitment” ( Brockner, 1992 and Staw, 1981) has not only been discussed as a factor that negatively affects success in general management and new product development but also has been demonstrated as a success factor for projects and project termination in the PPM process ( Unger et al., 2012). In particular, the termination of projects is strongly connected to the recurring selection of projects in the portfolio structuring phase. Our rationale is further supported in the resource management phase at low levels of role clarity when line managers are not fully clear with regard to their responsibilities or do not actually fulfill their responsibilities. Then, senior managers can easily overrule line managers and use the opportunity to promote their “pet projects” by privileging them in staffing. Senior managers in PPM may overcome barriers of will through their hierarchical potential, similar to the role of power promotors in the innovation management literature (Gemünden, 1985, Gemünden et al., 2007 and Hauschildt and Kirchmann, 2001). With increasing role clarity, the power of senior managers is channeled, and negative effects are mitigated. As observed in the portfolio steering phase, this issue can worsen. When all stakeholders know and fulfill their responsibilities, senior managers' meddling and micromanagement in portfolio steering negatively affect PPM success (Bonner et al., 2002). The rationale for this observation becomes clear when we consider that the engagement of senior managers in portfolio steering is not part of their formally defined key responsibilities (except final decisions on project termination) but actually conflicts with the role of project portfolio managers. Further, portfolio steering is an operative rather than strategic task; therefore, it is not assumed to be a core competence of senior managers, especially compared with project portfolio managers. Only in immature PPM systems with low role clarity can the interventions of senior managers be understood as supportively compensating for the lack of role clarity among the more operative stakeholders, particularly project portfolio managers, and not properly defined roles regarding PPM needs. (2) Line managers. Generally, line managers attempt to optimize their sub-portfolio of projects that is predominantly relevant for their own department and its sub-strategy ( Platje et al., 1994). Additionally, as resource owners, they hold the greatest knowledge of resources. Given a situation lacking role clarity, immature PPM systems provide line managers with opportunities to pursue their personal interests and act like manorial lords rather than servants of the overall PPM process who contribute to the overall strategic fit. Higher role clarity regulates opportunities for control and forces line managers to pursue their formally defined interests in the portfolio context. Therefore, increasing role clarity causes this negative influence to disappear. The direct negative effect on average project success reflects the classical conflict between line organization and projects ( Payne, 1995). With respect to portfolio steering, line managers play a crucial role as long as the PPM system is in a build-up state with low to average maturity. The positive influence on strategic fit may stem from the line managers' superior knowledge of their business and familiarity with the specifics of the environment in which projects run. Line managers know where problems can occur, know where attention and steering is needed most, and can identify conflicts first—particularly within their own departments—given their experience, expertise, and function as resource owners. In contrast, project portfolio managers with limited empowerment and expertise (in immature PPM systems) may not know the specifics of projects and may thus be able to steer on an overarching level that may be rather general and potentially insufficient. Further, line managers can act as an interface between senior management strategy and operative project scope during this build-up (Shi et al., 2009). (3) Project portfolio managers. Surprisingly, the results do not show a significant positive effect of the intensity of engagement of project portfolio managers on strategic fit or average project success. There may be two explanations, as PPM is still new in many firms and is not yet a fully established management system. First, even with increasing role clarity, some project portfolio managers may still have problems with their new role because they lack the required qualifications, knowledge, and experience. Second, in the firms in our sample, roles may have not yet been defined in a manner that renders them significantly beneficial to the PPM process. The core responsibilities of project portfolio managers in the PPM process are more operational in nature, and they should not serve as visionaries focusing on strategy. However, they must not be pure administrators who solely focus on data and operations. Rather, project portfolio managers need both a strategic orientation (i.e., understanding and buying in to portfolio strategy) and operational transparency (i.e., collecting and analyzing relevant information) to be able to steer project portfolios successfully. Generating transparency and steering portfolios are rather operational tasks, where respective competences can be developed. A strategic orientation can be viewed rather as a necessary requirement to enable project portfolio managers to steer a portfolio successfully. Hence, our results show that involving project portfolio managers in portfolio structuring can be beneficial to generate the necessary strategic understanding and buy-in and thus enable them to successfully perform their major task of portfolio steering. Further, these managers can also provide relevant information for portfolio structuring (Raes et al., 2011). However, we also observe that this approach applies only in situations of very high role clarity. On the contrary, in immature PPM systems in which project portfolio managers may not know or completely fulfill their formal PPM responsibilities, their engagement in portfolio structuring negatively affects strategic fit. This can be further explained by their more operational and less strategic mindset as well as their lack of overall business knowledge. In summary, this study contributes to both PPM and stakeholder literature. For PPM, this study shows the differential effect of stakeholder engagement on portfolio success. Stakeholder theory is enhanced by integrating different contributions within stakeholder theory, testing the theory with empirical data, and applying the theory to the context of PPM. For example, in our study, one model integrates the notion of different degrees of activity as reflected in Mitchell et al.'s (1997) degrees of salience and described by Rowley and Moldoveanu (2003), with the network view of Rowley (1997) and the work of Neville and Menguc (2006), who emphasized interactions between stakeholders. Our work strengthens the relatively weak basis of empirical work on stakeholder behavior and stakeholders' effect on success. Thereby, our research enhances the contributions, that have been offered with respect to the influence of specific stakeholders on success, particularly senior management involvement (e.g., Unger et al., 2012), to a larger group of key stakeholders. Overall, our work addresses the fact and weakness of stakeholder theory: many theorizing efforts have been made, but only a few empirical studies have been presented to date (Freeman and McVea, 2001). This study shows that stakeholder engagement affects performance only in environments with sufficiently defined roles and responsibilities. In firms with low PPM maturity and unclear roles, stakeholder engagement may be misguided. 6.1. Managerial implications From our results, we derive guidance for senior, line, and project portfolio managers. Senior managers should adapt the intensity of their engagement to the requirements in each phase of PPM. This means specifically to focus on senior managers' major phase (i.e., portfolio structuring by definition) and also to accompany the further process ensuring that objectively most important projects are assigned the key resources. However, while focusing on portfolio structuring and aiming for PPM success, senior managers should ensure that “pet projects” do not persist through, for example, process definitions, objective criteria and increasing transparency. Moreover, with increasing operational tasks and decreasing strategic content from portfolio structuring to steering, senior managers should reduce their engagement and delegate to line and project portfolio managers. Thus, senior managers avoid over-steering and micro-management by choosing an appropriate management style, which is crucial for successful PPM ( Fricke and Shenhar, 2000). In parallel, senior managers must further build up, strengthen, and enforce the PPM system; specifically, they must enable and empower project portfolio managers. It is not only senior managers' responsibility to ensure the basic conditions for a functioning PPM process besides their tasks within the process, but due to their institutional power they also have the ability and authority to enact PPM rules and processes and to enforce their effective application ( Chakrabarti, 1974). This means specifically to make transparent and clear formal role descriptions to all stakeholders and ensure that all stakeholders fulfill their responsibilities and obey defined rules and processes. Otherwise, for example, senior managers may drown in firefighting in portfolio steering and therefore lack time to invest in effective portfolio structuring and resource allocation. Additionally, line managers may take advantage of their broker role and follow their tendency to optimize their sub-portfolios at the cost of reduced portfolio success. Line managers can also provide support in phases other than their major phase, particularly during the build-up of PPM systems. During the transition, when responsibilities are being transferred to project portfolio managers but role clarity remains relatively low, line managers can bridge a potential power and competence vacuum in portfolio steering and thus contribute to PPM success. However, in turn, it is crucial for these managers to significantly reduce their engagement in portfolio steering when PPM is further established. For their major phase (i.e., resource management), line managers should demand and support an increase in role clarity, including obeying defined processes and refraining from pursuing their departmental interests but rather balancing them with overarching PPM goals. Additionally, the latter must be enforced through the increased monitoring of line manager decisions through, for example, mutual control among line managers, frequent steering committees with senior managers, and challenging decisions by senior managers. Project portfolio managers must actively demand that required competences for their relatively new role are built up and that they receive training, for example. Further, by building on their hub position and connected observation potential, project portfolio managers should continuously ensure transparency for senior managers with respect to discrepancies between current and targeted PPM processes and identify potential levers for improvement. Thus, deficits in PPM maturity become more transparent to senior managers, and project portfolio managers can assist in establish their role and the overall PPM system, contributing to project portfolio success. In summary, our findings suggest that the average level of PPM maturity that was observed is insufficient with respect to project portfolio success. In particular, senior managers must increase their efforts to further improve role clarity and professionalize PPM. 6.2. Limitations and future research As in every empirical study, this study has certain limitations that must be considered when interpreting the results. Although we use a sample of firms from diverse industries and the sample size is satisfactory, the specific characteristics of the participating firms might not represent all firms. In particular, the sample consists only of medium to large firms. Thus, the results may not be directly applicable to small firms, in which stakeholder communication may be easier, more direct, and less complex. Furthermore, we gathered our data in German-speaking countries (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland) among firms that already apply project portfolio management. Hence, the ability to generalize the results is limited to larger and more project-oriented firms in these countries. By concentrating on the project portfolio management process and stakeholder interactions, we first focused on the intensity of their engagement. Further research could extend this effort by analyzing the quality of stakeholder engagement, for example, in the sense of supportiveness (McElroy and Mills, 2007) with respect to the goals of PPM phases or the PPM process as a whole. Second, we did not explicitly consider the competencies held by the managers involved. Although it can be assumed that with increasing project portfolio management role clarity, the competence of the involved managers increases as well, the current study did not explicitly test for these effects in the present study. Such an analysis represents a potential area of future research. Third, we focused on internal key stakeholders who are directly involved in the PPM process. Future research could place more emphasis on project managers as the interface to the projects in a portfolio or even extend the analyzed stakeholder network by including portfolio-external stakeholders, such as experts within a firm, or firm external stakeholders, such as suppliers and customers.