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Understanding PMs’ activities in a coopetitive interorganizationalmulti-project setting
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE).
2012 (English)In: International Journal of Managing Projects in Business/Emerald, ISSN 1753-8378, Vol. 5, no 1, 27-50 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to understand the character of activities performed by projectmanagers (PMs) in the early phases of product development in an interorganizational, multi-projectsetting. The aim is to contribute to the extant literature on boundary work in projects by providing atypology of boundary activities and by presenting a conceptual model in which the relationshipbetween these boundary activities is established.

Design/methodology/approach – This study is based on an explorative, in-depth case study of amulti-project setting where PMs assigned to three projects developed new products whilesimultaneously competing and collaborating. Each project’s concept phase was followed byparticipative observations and ongoing interviews over a 15-week period at two sites and in twocountries.Findings – It is understood that PMs in organizations collaborate and perform balancing activities.These balancing activities are part of a refinement process, which is created through three intertwineddimensions of boundary activities: administrative, sharing, and tuning. These, in turn, are constructedthrough complementary micro activities. These micro activities are politically colored and do notnecessarily follow a prescribed and orderly path; instead, they are situation contingent and iterative in their character.

Research limitations/implications – The character of boundary activities in coopetitive projectsettings should be further studied to better understand the early phases of product development.Practical implications – The political dimension of product development activities in the earlyphases of product development should be acknowledged. By acknowledging the presence of politics,PMs will be more prepared to deal with the complexity and ambiguity that follows when trying tocollaborate and compete simultaneously.

Originality/value – This paper takes a practice perspective and focuses on what people do ininterorganizational new product development in situations characterised by coopetition.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2012. Vol. 5, no 1, 27-50 p.
Keyword [en]
Europe, Product development, Project management, Coopetition, Boundary activities, Boundary actors, Iterations
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Business Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-51289DOI: 10.1108/17538371211192883OAI: diva2:478767
Available from: 2012-01-16 Created: 2012-01-16 Last updated: 2012-02-03Bibliographically approved

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Burström, Thommie
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