Improving the link between project management and strategy to optimise project success

Kolar, D 2017, Improving the link between project management and strategy to optimise project success, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Property, Construction and Project Management, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Improving the link between project management and strategy to optimise project success
Author(s) Kolar, D
Year 2017
Abstract Research indicates that the implementation of mega public sector infrastructure projects continues to fail to achieve most of their strategies and benefits, which causes tremendous loss in productivity and profitability, whilst impacting organisational performances and stakeholder morale. When it comes to implementing or taking a mega project policy into action, such as an economic or social mega infrastructure project, even though it may be clear and concise, it tends to go ‘out of control,’ changes or even becomes manipulated in varying degrees and intensity over varying periods of time. There is little information as to why these phenomena occur. It is estimated that the current spending on megaprojects is USD $6-9 trillion a year, roughly eight percent of global GDP, labelling it as the ‘biggest investment boom in human history,’ which can serve real needs, meeting the expected surge in the demand for food, water and energy. However, such effort is likely to be counterproductive and unsustainable, as a significant proportion of megaprojects have substantial cost and time overruns, which impacts productivity, profitability, organisational performances and stakeholder morale. This represents a rather disastrous situation for policy-makers, as public deficits are increasing, whilst institutional and non-institutional investors are reluctant to invest in such projects.

This research aims to investigate factors that influence organisational strategic decision-making on the implementation of mega public sector infrastructure program of projects. This also includes the exploration of an effective governance mechanism to optimise its success. Particularly with a focus on a muddled and strategic context i.e., complex, dynamic, intricate, plural and emergent properties of organisational strategic decision-making, intertwined in often unforeseen ways between different agency and actor (inter)actions. This research adopts an interpretivist worldview with an ontological stance, and focuses on case study as a methodological approach. The case selected is the AUD $14.7 billion Building the Education Revolution (BER) program (around 24,000 infrastructure projects for about 9,500 schools). The research then employs a grounded theory methodology to facilitate the generation of new theory.

Four Australian state government agencies and five non-government agencies were selected for this research. In-depth interviews were conducted with 17 participants from executives to project managers, and six subject-matter experts provided validation on the research propositions that emerged from the findings via a modified Delphi technique.

These results lead to a conceptual model for the successful implementation of mega public sector infrastructure program of projects. A key finding is that strategically shaping institutional project reality aligned at the front-end with the temporary uniqueness of the organisational change initiative is essential in achieving program strategies and benefits. In particular, significantly increasing megaproject performances.

This finding has implications for project management theory and practice. In particular, the importance of collective institutional leadership, informal and formal mechanisms of institutional project work, project reality, and entering a state as a rational agent for the successful implementation of mega public sector infrastructure program of projects. The outcome of this research will improve our understanding of how megaprojects, taken from a public policy perspective, and subsequent mandated or prosecuted action interacts: strategy development and its interpretation into action. Being in such a position, agencies including policy-makers will be able to identify the best courses of action and optimise choices in achieving project and program strategies and benefits.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Property, Construction and Project Management
Subjects Building not elsewhere classified
Building Construction Management and Project Planning
Built Environment and Design not elsewhere classified
Keyword(s) Megaprojects
Organisational strategic decision-making
Policy implementation
Institutionalisation theory
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Created: Fri, 26 May 2017, 12:30:38 EST by Adam Rivett
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