Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to understand the collaborative aspects of the communication practice and illustrate the importance of role-related liaison devices for coordination in a project setting.
Design/methodology/approach – A case study was made of a large Swedish partnering project focusing on the coordinative and communicative activities carried out within the project. It consists of 18 semi-structured interviews, three days of observations, meeting participations, document analysis, and was analysed with a theoretically supported thematic categorisation.
Findings – The paper describes the communicative sub-processes of the project and analyses the link between them. The focus is placed on illustrating the importance of the project liaison as a crucial part of the coordination of the project. It is shown how the project liaisons; guides and coordinates the ongoing activities, translates and reduces information, creates space for the experience of the subcontractors, assists in coordinating unexpected situations, and therefore constitutes a crucial part of the success of the project.
Research limitations/implications – From a project management perspective it is suggested that it is beneficial to identify, acknowledge, and create legitimacy for project liaisons in order to facilitate the coordination of the project. As the project liaison is shown to be of major importance it is also suggested that there is a need to further study the existence and role of liaisons within project organisations.
Originality/value – The paper draws on organisational theory and therefore enriches the field of project coordination as it also includes and stresses the importance of the human actors.
Emerald , 2011. Vol. 4, no 1, 64-81 p.