Developing and sustaining project management as a strategic asset: a multiple case study using the resource-based view
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Abstract"Without specific competences related to reshaping the firm's future competences, corporate survival is no more than a chance event" (Turner & Crawford, 1994, p. 262). Increasingly, companies are turning to project management as a way of work. Project management is gaining ground as an important organizational asset. Some even claim that codified project management practices (as measured with project management maturity models) enable companies to achieve a competitive advantage. The connection between strategy and project management is relatively new, yet germane to many organizations from a competitive advantage perspective. For the most part, companies view project management as an operational construct and not one that merits attention as being critical to strategic directions. Within the management literature, the Resource-Based View of the firm focuses on a company's internal assets as sources of advantage. Strategic assets are heterogeneous resource bundles that are valuable, rare, inimitable, and have an organizational focus. The Resource-Based View serves as the theoretical foundation for this study. The study explores the characteristics of a strategic asset in project management and the processes companies use to develop and sustain the advantage. Senior, middle, and project managers from four international companies participate in interviews and a survey. The companies are Financial Institute, Telecom, Manufacturer, and Utility. The researcher conducts 67 interviews and gathers 28 responses to a project management maturity survey. The qualitative data is coded and textually analyzed using Atlas.ti® and the survey results analyzed using non-parametric tests with SPSS®. In addition to three research models, the study develops the VRIO-LDN Framework, Project Management Asset Profile, Strategic Asset Genome, and identifies 14 conceptual Organizational Elements. The findings show that it takes more than a superior reputation or high project management maturity level to achieve a strategic asset in the discipline. A strategic asset in project management is a complex construct. It involves 14 organizational concepts grouped as tangible resources (codified, explicit knowledge), intangible resources (knowledge-based assets, tacit knowledge, social networking, alignment), business and process backbones (leadership, link to strategy, trade-offs and integration points, continuous improvement), and isolating mechanisms (periods of stabilization, history, social complexity, causal ambiguity). This thesis can be encapsulated by stating that tangible and intangible resources in project management matter.
Bibliography: p. 356-394