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The Distinct Characteristics and Strategic Impact of Emergent Projects in Large Organizations
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business.
2009 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Despite the many researches made on emergent strategies and project portfolio management, one can hardly find studies on the link between them. It can easily be assumed that emergent strategies and market dynamics have considerable effect on the portfolio of projects in organizations and, supposedly, give rise to emergent projects. We defined emergent projects to be untypical or irregular projects for the organization which are at the borderline or even outside the mainstream of the current portfolio of projects. These types of projects impact the company’s strategy with the aim to increase the organizations competitiveness. This study will try to find out the possible distinct characteristics and strategic impact of emergent projects on large organizations so that these kinds of projects can be properly recognized for what they really are and managed effectively.


We used a semi-structured interview method to collect data from six international companies in four countries. The countries are Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, and Taiwan. Using template analysis method, we analyzed the collected data. The analysis confirmed our assumption that there is a correlation between emergent strategies and project portfolio management. Moreover, we found out some of the characteristics and strategic impacts of emergent projects. The results of the study, therefore, shows that emergent projects are kinds of strategic projects which have bigger significance and bring a higher sense of urgency to organizations than the normal projects in their portfolio. Furthermore, the study indicated that emergent projects do not need any different project management methodology than typical projects do. Nonetheless, emergent projects are characterized by rarity, disrupting routine operations, enhancing company-customer relationship, causing resource reallocation, bringing profit, demanding higher budget, opening both internal and external new opportunities, posing risk due to shorter planning phase and limited implementation time, and capturing higher attention from top management. The major result we have found out in the research about the strategic impact of emergent projects is that they have a higher potential to bring profit and new business opportunities which in total make organizations more competitive in their respective markets.

The theoretical and managerial implications of our research have a common idea that emergent projects should be recognized and categorized as strategic projects of organizations. Further studies should be carried out on how the dynamic situations of business environments and emergent strategies affect the project portfolio of organizations. Moreover, it is worth researching on how the idea of emergent projects are dealt in the studies of strategic project management and project categorization both in the academic and practitioners world. Overall, the study has brought the linkage between emergent strategies and project portfolio management into light through the discussion on emergent projects.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. , 83 p.
Keyword [en]
Emergent project, emergent strategy, strategic project management, project selection, project categorization system, project portfolio management
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-18402OAI: diva2:158873

Available from: 2009-02-10 Created: 2009-02-05 Last updated: 2010-03-16Bibliographically approved

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Chiu, Lang-HuaMinas, Henok
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