Date of Award

4-26-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Degree Program

Global Leadership - with a specialization in Corporate and Organizational Management

Department

College of Business and Management

First Advisor

Robert Green

Second Advisor

John Cipolla

Third Advisor

Vittal Anantatmula

Abstract

Ever since Pinto and Slevin (1988) identified the project manager as having more than a moderating effect on project success, researchers have been trying to unveil the identity of "successful" project managers. Studies have focused on the leadership aspects of the project manager (Shenhar et al, 1997; Pinto, 1988; and Prabhakar, 2005), but researchers have theorized that effective project management is more than just project leadership (Kotter, 2001; and Jacques, Garger & Thomas, 2008). A theoretical framework for project success is presented that reflects organizational and project characteristics, including project life cycle phase, project manager roles, and the project manager profile. The framework is derived from Shenhar et al.'s (2007) Multi-Dimensionality Theory of project success, Adams and Barndt's (1978) four-phase model of the project life cycle, and Mintzberg's (1990) Role Typology.

The purpose of this study was to explain the relationship between organizational characteristics, project characteristics, project manager roles, the project life cycle, project manager characteristics and project success. The proposed research strategy was to conduct a non-experimental, comparative (exploratory) and correlational (explanatory) online survey designed to address three research questions and to test five hypotheses. The web-based survey collected data from the entire target population of approximately 307,000 worldwide PMI project managers currently working on projects. Methods of data analysis include descriptive statistics (frequency distribution, measures of central tendency, and variability), exploratory factor analysis, internal consistency reliability (coefficient alphas), Pearson's r correlations, ANOVA, and multiple regression analysis using the stepwise (forward) method.

In this study, project manager roles explained 18% of project success. The entrepreneur, monitor, resource allocator, and transformational leader roles are significant explanatory variables to project success. These roles address: allocating resources, managing change, filtering information, and maintaining/increasing team cohesiveness. Implications are that effective project managers need to be good managers, as well as good leaders. They need to be able to manage change (the entrepreneur role), plan and budget work (the resource allocator role), inspire and motivate the team to action (the transformational leader role), and constantly scan, filter, and disseminate information (the monitor role).

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