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Paradigms in project management research: Examples from 15 years of IRNOP conferences
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business.
BI Norwegian School of Management, Oslo, Norway.
2011 (English)In: International Journal of Managing Projects in Business/Emerald, ISSN 1753-8378, Vol. 4, no 1, 82-104 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the philosophical stances and relatedmethodologies used within the last 15 years of project management research using The InternationalResearch Network on Organizing by Projects (IRNOP) conference papers.Design/methodology/approach – Utilizing a systematic sampling approach, IRNOP conferencepapers from 1994, 2000 and 2007 were analyzed for prevalent philosophical streams in projectmanagement research.Findings – Results show a dominance of ontological subjectivism and epistemologicalinterpretivism, with a preference for case studies and qualitative methods. Trends indicate agrowth of positivist studies and, at the same time, an increase in multi-case studies.Research limitations/implications – This paper’s contribution to knowledge lies in theidentification of predominant research paradigms for research reported at project managementconferences using IRNOP as an example. The study shows trends, preferences, and potential differencesbetween published research and conference papers.Originality/value – Information on the quality, quantity and timely trends of underlyingphilosophies in project management research are lacking an insightful exploration of the projectmanagement research field. This is necessary for a better understanding of the past, present andpossible future of research paradigms in project management. The paper’s findings can be used toimprove the interpretation of the state of knowledge in project management research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited , 2011. Vol. 4, no 1, 82-104 p.
Keyword [en]
Project management, Research work, Epistemology, Philosophical concepts
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-39408DOI: 10.1108/17538371111096908OAI: diva2:392437
Available from: 2011-01-27 Created: 2011-01-27 Last updated: 2011-10-26Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Capabilities for frequent innovation: Managing the early project phases in the pharmaceutical R&D process
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Capabilities for frequent innovation: Managing the early project phases in the pharmaceutical R&D process
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Despite their recognized significance for project success and innovation, the management of the early project phases is still an under-researched area in project management. For organizations to secure a continuous stream of innovation, the utilization of capabilities is crucial for managing the early phases of R&D projects.

The purpose of this dissertation is to advance the understanding of the management of the early project phases in hypercompetitive environments. The thesis addresses the research question of how organizations manage the early project phases of R&D in hypercompetitive environments for frequent innovation by taking a dynamic capabilities perspective.

The first conceptual study reviews the literature covering organizational change in hypercompetitive environments with a focus on projects as the vehicle to create the necessary flexibility. The study found that organizational aspects and capabilities have to go hand in hand as enabler and facilitator for a successful emergent change process.

The second qualitative study investigates how organizations organize the early project phases of R&D in the pharmaceutical industry for an outcome of frequent innovation. The findings show that an optimization of combinative capabilities that balances dynamic, project and multi-project capabilities can be used as a powerful leverage to boost the outcome of frequent innovation.

The third study investigates the philosophical stances and related methodologies used within the last 15 years of project management research at the example of IRNOP conferences. The findings show that ontological subjectivism and epistemological interpretivism are dominating. Moreover, case studies and qualitative methods were the most common methods, whereas mixed method studies were lacking despite their value for developing an increasingly complex research field.

The final mixed method study explores how absorptive, innovative and adaptive capabilities within the early phases of pharmaceutical R&D affect project and portfolio performance. Based on the results of quantitative study, the set of capabilities has an overall effect on the set of performance outcomes and thus confirms the results of the qualitative study that a distinct capability mix is needed in the pharmaceutical R&D process.

To conclude, the dissertation has comprehensively explored the management of the early project phases through four studies and by applying a multitude of methodologies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå School of Business, 2011. 109 + 4 papers p.
Studier i företagsekonomi. Serie B, ISSN 0346-8291 ; 80
Project management research, early project phases, dynamic capabilities, project capabilities, multi-project capabilities, pharmaceutical innovation, hypercompetition, R&D
National Category
Business Administration
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-48634 (URN)978-91-7459-312-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-11-17, Samhällsvetarhuset, Hörsal s213h, Umeå University, Umeå, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2011-10-27 Created: 2011-10-26 Last updated: 2011-10-26Bibliographically approved

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Biedenbach, ThomasMüller, Ralf
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