Governing major transformation portfolios in practice: illustrations from the UK central government

Governing major transformation portfolios in practice: illustrations from the UK central government PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to examine major transformation portfolio governing practices. Previous research focuses on the structure of project portfolio governance and is relatively silent on micro-practices of governing. This paper intends to respond to this gap.Design/methodology/approachThis qualitative case study draws upon practice approaches and the theoretical lens of organisational routines. The empirical inquiry is conducted across six major transformation portfolios in two UK central government departments. The data are collected through conducting semi-structured interviews and gathering documentary reports and analysed by adopting an abductive approach.FindingsThe findings highlight that two governing practices that have not been previously discussed in the literature: structuring the policy relationship and structuring the business relationship. These practices can be associated with the complex ownership system of the UK central government. The findings also show that in complex ownership systems owners may have different governing and supporting orientations. The micro-dynamics of these governing practices illustrate that the ecology of governing practices is complex, both in terms of the co-existence of complementary and competitive relationships between practices, and in terms of bundles of practices enacting different control regimes.Research limitations/implicationsThis qualitative case study supports further inquiry into major transformation portfolio governing and complex ownership systems.Originality/valueThe paper adopts a governance-as-practice approach and examines governing major transformation portfolios. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Managing Projects in Business Emerald Publishing

Governing major transformation portfolios in practice: illustrations from the UK central government

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
1753-8378
DOI
10.1108/IJMPB-09-2018-0174
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to examine major transformation portfolio governing practices. Previous research focuses on the structure of project portfolio governance and is relatively silent on micro-practices of governing. This paper intends to respond to this gap.Design/methodology/approachThis qualitative case study draws upon practice approaches and the theoretical lens of organisational routines. The empirical inquiry is conducted across six major transformation portfolios in two UK central government departments. The data are collected through conducting semi-structured interviews and gathering documentary reports and analysed by adopting an abductive approach.FindingsThe findings highlight that two governing practices that have not been previously discussed in the literature: structuring the policy relationship and structuring the business relationship. These practices can be associated with the complex ownership system of the UK central government. The findings also show that in complex ownership systems owners may have different governing and supporting orientations. The micro-dynamics of these governing practices illustrate that the ecology of governing practices is complex, both in terms of the co-existence of complementary and competitive relationships between practices, and in terms of bundles of practices enacting different control regimes.Research limitations/implicationsThis qualitative case study supports further inquiry into major transformation portfolio governing and complex ownership systems.Originality/valueThe paper adopts a governance-as-practice approach and examines governing major transformation portfolios.

Journal

International Journal of Managing Projects in BusinessEmerald Publishing

Published: Sep 2, 2019

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