Can a project champion bias project selection and, if so, how can we avoid it?

Can a project champion bias project selection and, if so, how can we avoid it? Purpose – This paper sets out to empirically investigate whether a “project champion” can have an undue influence at the project selection stage and, if so, how this can be both identified and controlled. Design/methodology/approach – The research methodology is based on a single case study and is part of a much wider research investigation. Findings – The case clearly shows that a “project champion” can have a biased influence on project selection. It was shown that in this particular case the “project champion” deemed the project‐specific risks to be lower than that suggested by other appraisal team members and that the strategic benefits to be derived from the project to be higher. Both these influences make the project look more attractive and can result in a project being accepted, which may not be in the best interests of the organisation. By using the financial appraisal profile (FAP) model the organisation was able to identify this bias and reduce its influence. Research limitations/implications – Generalisability is an issue with case studies. It is believed that this paper not only provides empirical evidence confirming what may have intuitively been suspected, but also provides a solution to the problem. Practical implications – By empirically identifying the adverse influence a project champion may have at the project selection stage will allow practitioners to take account of this bias. Originality/value – This paper presents a model and case study that shows how project champions play a role and how this role may be used in evaluation of projects. Project champion roles in this environment have been only rarely studied. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Management Research News Emerald Publishing

Can a project champion bias project selection and, if so, how can we avoid it?

Management Research News, Volume 29 (4): 10 – Apr 1, 2006

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2006 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0140-9174
DOI
10.1108/01409170610665031
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – This paper sets out to empirically investigate whether a “project champion” can have an undue influence at the project selection stage and, if so, how this can be both identified and controlled. Design/methodology/approach – The research methodology is based on a single case study and is part of a much wider research investigation. Findings – The case clearly shows that a “project champion” can have a biased influence on project selection. It was shown that in this particular case the “project champion” deemed the project‐specific risks to be lower than that suggested by other appraisal team members and that the strategic benefits to be derived from the project to be higher. Both these influences make the project look more attractive and can result in a project being accepted, which may not be in the best interests of the organisation. By using the financial appraisal profile (FAP) model the organisation was able to identify this bias and reduce its influence. Research limitations/implications – Generalisability is an issue with case studies. It is believed that this paper not only provides empirical evidence confirming what may have intuitively been suspected, but also provides a solution to the problem. Practical implications – By empirically identifying the adverse influence a project champion may have at the project selection stage will allow practitioners to take account of this bias. Originality/value – This paper presents a model and case study that shows how project champions play a role and how this role may be used in evaluation of projects. Project champion roles in this environment have been only rarely studied.

Journal

Management Research NewsEmerald Publishing

Published: Apr 1, 2006

Keywords: Project evaluation; Project management; Investment appraisal; Financial risk

References

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