برخورد با مشروعیت: یک چالش کلیدی برای تصمیم گیرنده های مدیریت پرتفولیو پروژه
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|22074||2014||10 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Project Management, Volume 32, Issue 1, January 2014, Pages 30–39
Previous research has considered combining different decision-making approaches to be critical to achieve flexibility in Project Portfolio Management (PPM). Lacking flexibility, i.e., making decisions only by rational and formal approaches, might lead to a deficient balance between different types of ideas and projects, and this may lead to innovation opportunities being missed. However, the challenges that decision makers might face in achieving that flexibility have not been investigated thoroughly. In an interview study of three industrial companies, we explored how different decision-making approaches are combined in PPM. We found that rational and formal decision-making processes are experienced as more legitimate than informal and non-rational ones. Decision makers deal with legitimacy by certain mechanisms that allow them to bypass high accepted approaches and legitimizing decisions made by low accepted ones. We discuss how these mechanisms, while contributing to achieving flexibility, might also cause a bias in decisions and destabilization in resource allocation.
Project Portfolio Management (PPM) aims to provide a coherent basis on which to judge the development projects that should be undertaken by an organisation (Jonas, 2010, Killen and Hunt, 2010 and Tidd and Bessant, 2009). PPM can be seen as a decision-making process in which ideas for new products are evaluated and selected, development projects prioritised and resources allocated between development activities (Cooper et al., 1998). Since development projects that are run today are the products of tomorrow, PPM is considered to be central to implementing the business strategy (Meskendahl, 2010) and strongly influencing the future competitive position of companies (Cooper et al., 1998 and Dawidson, 2006). In their influential works, Cooper et al. (1998) and Wheelwright and Clark, 1992 and Wheelwright and Clark, 1999 stated that to implement a business strategy companies needed to evaluate, select and commit resources to different types of development projects. This is because each type of project has a different role and provides a different competitive contribution. However, they also stated that different types of projects imply different challenges for decision making. For example, evaluating and selecting projects that aim to develop products based on new technological platforms or focusing on new markets is much more comprehensive, ambiguous and uncertain than projects that focus on improving existing products for existing markets (Wheelwright and Clark, 1992). Accordingly, since Simon's classical contribution of “bounded rationality” (Simon, 1979), it has been widely accepted in decision-making theory that, because of cognitive limitations and the nature of the decision situations, it is not always possible for people to make decisions in a pure rational way (March, 1978 and Sadler-Smith and Sparrow, 2008). It implies that, in some situations, alternative decision-making approaches that are non-rational could be considered to be appropriate (March, 1978). Thus, both studies of PPM practice and decision-making theory support the fact that, since different types of ideas and projects imply different challenges for decision making, PPM decision makers would benefit from combining formal and rational behaviour with other decision-making approaches in order to be able to cope with various decision situations. However, while it has been generally accepted in PPM research that different decision situations require different decision making approaches it has not been thoroughly investigated how people in companies deal with managing simultaneously different decision-making approaches. Some authors have asserted that combining decision-making approaches that based on different logics might be difficult (Floricel and Ibanescu, 2008) and it might lead to conflicts within the organisation (Bessant et al., 2011). Furthermore, it has been pointed out that more research is needed to fully understood the challenges of combining different approaches when evaluating and selecting ideas and projects (Aubry et al., 2007, Bessant et al., 2011, Floricel and Ibanescu, 2008 and Geraldi, 2008). Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to explore how decision makers combine different decision-making approaches when facing different decision situations in PPM. It is aimed to investigate the process of evaluation and selection of ideas and projects from the perspective of the decision makers, focusing on how they combine formal and rational decision-making processes with alternative decision-making approaches. This paper is based on an explorative study with interviews to people involved in the evaluation, selection and prioritization of ideas and projects. It focuses on the development of complex technological products, i.e. products that require qualified personnel in several technological areas, e.g. due to the integration of mechanical, electronic and software components. It implies that product development presents both technological and commercial challenges and requires the participation of several organisational functions such as engineering, financing, manufacturing, and marketing. The results indicated that a crucial aspect for understanding PPM is the legitimacy of decision-making approaches, that is, the fact that different decision-making approaches encounter different levels of acceptance within an organisation. Therefore, the dynamics by which an idea or project evolves is affected by the way in which decision makers deal with the legitimacy of the decision-making approaches that they plan to put into practice. Furthermore, it is discussed how legitimacy and the way decision makers deal with it, can be seen as a key challenge for decision makers, influencing which ideas and projects are, actually, selected and further developed in companies. First, we present a theoretical exposition from which research questions are drawn. Then, we introduce the research methodology. Further, we present the results of the empirical study and the analysis that answers the research questions. Finally, we discuss the empirical analysis in relation to previous studies, and implications for the practice of PPM are considered.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This paper contributes to the research field of PPM by shedding light on the issue of legitimacy of decision-making approaches and the implications that it has for the management of project portfolios in product development. It was found that different decision-making approaches display different levels of legitimacy, that is, encounter different levels of acceptance within an organisation. Therefore, the dynamics by which an idea evolves is affected by the way in which decision makers deal with the legitimacy of the decision-making approaches that they plan to put into practice. Thus, the fact that an idea becomes selected and developed in the form of a project depends on how decision rules are negotiated and accepted. However, the level of acceptance of decision-making approaches is affected by some factors that are outside the control of decision makers. As a consequence, decision makers put into practice some mechanisms that allow them to avoid drawing exclusively on the highly accepted approaches when they are not considered to be suitable, and to give legitimacy to the decisions that have been made by the less accepted ones. These findings contribute to a new way of understanding the problems that have traditionally been addressed in PPM literature: the risk that poor ideas are developed for too long and the problems for fulfilling the planning for allocation of resources among projects. A flexible decision making process enables the achievement of balance between different types of innovations, but at the same time, both informal activities and the subjective nature of some non-rational approaches imply the risk of biases and alteration of how the resource allocation of product development is planned. It leads to the question of whether problems in fulfilling resource allocation plans and the risk of biases in decision making are problems that arise due to poor decision-making practices, and whether they should, instead be understood as probable consequences of a flexible process. The implication for PPM research is the need to broaden its focus of attention, integrating as object of investigation the legitimacy of decision-making approaches and the way decision makers deal with it. Furthermore, it also implies the need to integrating to the analysis of empirical data decision-making theories in order to allow behaviours that deviate from rational decision making to be understood as forms of rationality and to discuss their appropriateness in certain circumstances. The findings indicate that a flexible decision-making process implies that decision makers might put in practice certain approaches that are less accepted within the organisation. Thus, managers should be aware that, some aspects of the evaluation and selection process might be difficult to be designed from the outside or managed at the moment it happens. This implies that only building up formal structures for organising and supporting decision making as it is suggested in PPM literature is not enough for facing the challenge of evaluating and selecting different types of ideas and projects. An issue for future research is to support decision makers in achieving a dynamic in which approaches with different legitimacy are put into practice. The nature of some of these approaches involves difficulties, for example, supporting an informal process without eliminating its spontaneous and self-organising nature, supporting intuitive decision-making process which, in part, people may be unaware of or supporting the first steps in the development of an idea generation without removing its chaotic and ambiguous character.