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Understanding PMs' activities in a coopetitive interorganizational multi‐project setting

Understanding PMs' activities in a coopetitive interorganizational multi‐project setting Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to understand the character of activities performed by project managers (PMs) in the early phases of product development in an interorganizational, multi‐project setting. The aim is to contribute to the extant literature on boundary work in projects by providing a typology of boundary activities and by presenting a conceptual model in which the relationship between these boundary activities is established. Design/methodology/approach – This study is based on an explorative, in‐depth case study of a multi‐project setting where PMs assigned to three projects developed new products while simultaneously competing and collaborating. Each project's concept phase was followed by participative observations and ongoing interviews over a 15‐week period at two sites and in two countries. 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 intertwined dimensions of boundary activities: administrative, sharing, and tuning. These, in turn, are constructed through complementary micro activities. These micro activities are politically colored and do not necessarily 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 project settings should be further studied to better understand the early phases of product development. Practical implications – The political dimension of product development activities in the early phases 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 to collaborate and compete simultaneously. Originality/value – This paper takes a practice perspective and focuses on what people do in interorganizational new product development in situations characterised by coopetition. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Managing Projects in Business Emerald Publishing

Understanding PMs' activities in a coopetitive interorganizational multi‐project setting

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2012 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1753-8378
DOI
10.1108/17538371211192883
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to understand the character of activities performed by project managers (PMs) in the early phases of product development in an interorganizational, multi‐project setting. The aim is to contribute to the extant literature on boundary work in projects by providing a typology of boundary activities and by presenting a conceptual model in which the relationship between these boundary activities is established. Design/methodology/approach – This study is based on an explorative, in‐depth case study of a multi‐project setting where PMs assigned to three projects developed new products while simultaneously competing and collaborating. Each project's concept phase was followed by participative observations and ongoing interviews over a 15‐week period at two sites and in two countries. 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 intertwined dimensions of boundary activities: administrative, sharing, and tuning. These, in turn, are constructed through complementary micro activities. These micro activities are politically colored and do not necessarily 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 project settings should be further studied to better understand the early phases of product development. Practical implications – The political dimension of product development activities in the early phases 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 to collaborate and compete simultaneously. Originality/value – This paper takes a practice perspective and focuses on what people do in interorganizational new product development in situations characterised by coopetition.

Journal

International Journal of Managing Projects in BusinessEmerald Publishing

Published: Jan 20, 2012

Keywords: Europe; Product development; Project management; Coopetition; Boundary activities; Boundary actors; Iterations

References