management as a function within
Monique Aubry, He
ne Sicotte, Nathalie Drouin,
ne Vidot-Delerue and Claude Besner
School of Business and Management, University of Quebec at Montreal,
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present a theoretical framework and the preliminary
results from a research programme on organisational project management. It aims at exploring how
organisational project management can be conceptualised as a function within the organisation.
Design/methodology/approach – The methodological framework is based on a constructivist
epistemology. This research programme contains two sequential phases based on a robust mixed
method. The ﬁrst phase of the qualitative approach, which is the focus of this paper, includes
20 interviews with executives and middle managers.
Findings – This approach is expected to be helpful in assessing the ﬁt between organisational
context, project management implementation and organisational strategy. The proposed theoretical
framework draws from the exploration of organisational project management as a function.
Preliminary results conﬁrm that organisational project management can be best understood as a
function within the organisation. Future research includes the second phase of this research
programme based on a quantitative approach.
Research limitations/implications – This research situates project management within the
theoretical ﬁeld of organisational design. It borrows from innovation literature the concept of function
that serve as a foundation piece in the proposed framework, to integrate the various activities
undertaken to manage multiple projects.
Practical implications – This research provides some evidence for the organisation design that
serves articulating different activities undertaken for the management of multiple projects into a
coherent function throughout the organisation.
Originality/value – This research explores what organisations really do when they face the
challenges of managing multiple projects while at the same time pursuing their operations. Interviews
with executives and middle managers clearly justify the identiﬁcation of a function dedicated to the
overall project management.
Keywords Organizations, Project management, Organizational project management,
Organisational function, Qualitative methodology, Utility company
Paper type Research paper
Following the recent economic crisis, expectations about the management of multiple
projects seem to have increased particularly in driving more value from investments.
Doing projects right does not sufﬁce. Doing the right projects at the right time is what
now needs to be increasingly managed (Dinsmore and Cooke-Davies, 2006).
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
A previous version of this paper was presented at the European Academy of Management in
2009. This research received a grant from SSHRC #864-2007-0253.
International Journal of Managing
Projects in Business
Vol. 5 No. 2, 2012
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited