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Project Manager to Project Leader? and the Rocky Road Between...

01 Jan 2002-

AbstractIn recent years there has been a spate of publications on "Leadership" and “Team Building” bynumerous authors such as Bennis, Drucker, Covey, Depree, Byham, McLean and Weitzel,Dilenschneider, Fisher, Batten and others. Much of this has been directed to the "Captains of NorthAmerican Industry". However, in our opinion, leadership, management and team building, while allclosely allied, are sufficiently different in the project environment that they require special study.The old image of a powerful project personality with a burning vision of the future state rounding up thetroops and charging off to Nirvana, is hardly consistent with modern management thinking.Consequently, some of the current concepts of leadership and attributes required of the leader of anenterprise need to be carefully rethought when applied in the project context. That is, if a project is tosucceed and be viewed as successful. So the question is: What sort of leadership or management is themost relevant to project management in the decade of the 1990s and beyond?Considering the extent of management literature published in recent years, it might be thought that thisis no longer an issue. However, few writers actually define leadership and the context is generally not inthe project environment. To understand the difference, it is necessary to examine both the requirementsof a project team and the changes that occur through the project life cycle.

Topics: Project management triangle (68%), Project team (68%), Project stakeholder (67%), Project charter (66%), Project manager (64%)

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01 Apr 2005
Abstract: Changes in management personnel - variously termed displacement, succession or just turnover- have been found by many to have significant negative effects on project performance. However, researchers have often ignored the organizational context of succession, the timing of succession relative to the organizational life cycle, and the type of transfer undertaken in control surfaces. It has also been suggested that the idea of specifically choosing a project manager to see the project completely through its life cycle needs to be discarded in favour of selecting at each phase point, a new project manager best suited to the anticipated project environment. To examine this further, a web-based survey was designed and developed from a detailed literature review, with 67 completed surveys collected, equating to a 45% response rate. This aimed to: find the reasons for project management turnover; examine the extent to which project management turnover is associated with a particular phase of the project life cycle; and investigate the effects of project management turnover on project performance. The most significant findings are that project management turnover occurs predominantly in the execution phase of the project life cycle and that the main reasons for the turnover event are career motives, including the need for personal development, and dissatisfaction with the organisational culture and project management role. The results confirm that the turnover event disrupts and negatively affects the performance of the project team, the project, and potentially negates the competitive advantage of organisations in which it occurs.

107 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The preliminary results generally support the proposition that effective leadership behaviors in any context are partly explained by leader traits, skills, and personality.
Abstract: Effective project team leadership theory is explored from the perspective of leader traits, skills, roles, and behaviors. Existing leadership traits and behaviors are examined from organization science empirical studies, they are differentiated from management functions, and the gap between extant theory and the project management domain is highlighted through this research. Leadership principles are examined from actual organizational work settings, specifically dynamic projects, with a view to discovering what actually happens as compared with espoused theory. The underlying research question is whether these theories hold up and can be effectively integrated to the project management domain. The significance of leadership behavior differences at the project and organizational levels is grounded on empirical evidence. The reflection of integrated organizational science and project leadership theory using qualitative and quantitative research methods contributes to the body of knowledge by sharing and learning in professional and academic communities of practice. Design/methodology/approach . Contemporary and alternative trait-based leadership theories are discussed, such as task/relationship orientations, emotionality maturity, Leadership Virtual Reality , Level 5 Leader Trait Hierarchy , charisma, emotional maturity, and personality traits are discussed. Multiple theories and typologies such as Managerial Roles , Leadership Roles Model , and Competing Values Framework , as well as the Meta-Category Leadership Taxonomy are explained using models, diagrams, and matrices. Theoretically sampled case studies are analyzed using several typologies to explore leadership behavior and traits across leaders in different projects and organizations. Participant assessments and 360° peer reviews are triangulated with qualitative and quantitative statistical measures to test hypotheses and analyze correlation between leader skills, traits, and behaviors across their projects. Findings and research value. This research identified a gap between extant organizational leadership theory and applied leadership behavior in effective projects. The preliminary results are surprising in a few cases but they generally support the proposition that effective leadership behaviors in any context are partly explained by leader traits, skills, and personality. The most unusual finding was these projects actually show that leadership principles from management science are not universally applicable (observable) in effective and efficient projects – instead the project leaders exhibited self-management theory and applied specific leader behaviors according to the situation. These findings, albeit on a small statistical scale of global significance, are a catalyst for continued and broader reflective leadership research using case study methods and hypotheses replication with these constructs.

74 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: Changes in management personnel – variously termed displacement, succession or just turnover – have been found by many to have significant negative effects on organisational performance. This paper provides the results of a web-based survey designed to examine this in the project management context. The main findings are that turnover occurs predominantly during the execution phase of the project life cycle, with the main causes being related to career and personal development and dissatisfaction with the organisational culture and project management role. The results also confirm that turnover disrupts and negatively affects the performance of the project team, the project, and potentially negates the competitive advantage of organisations concerned.

70 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: Purpose – Aims to examine effective and ineffective leader behaviors from direct participant observations in several cases of a large multiyear cross‐industry international research project to prove the hypothesis that effective team performance management requires strong transformational leadership.Design/methodology/approach – Transformational and charismatic leadership theories are briefly discussed from management science to explain how their principles can apply to and be analyzed in the project domain and other fields. Several popular and proven group leader behavior measurement constructs are discussed to show how they can be applied for assessing group leader behavior in any field. Two flexible taxonomies are built for assisting in quantitatively and qualitatively explaining stakeholder perceptions of group leader behaviors and team performance. Four theoretically sampled case studies are analyzed. The taxonomies are analyzed quantitatively and the results are qualitatively evaluated.Findings – Th...

47 citations


Cites background from "Project Manager to Project Leader? ..."

  • ...Instead, effective leadership is the ability to get things done through others while winning their respect, confidence, loyalty, willing cooperation and commitment ( Verma and Wideman, 1994...

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Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: Purpose – The purpose of this research was to explore the leadership style of graduate project management students vs other MBA students.Design/methodology/approach – Graduate project management and MBA students attending a regional comprehensive university in USA returned surveys that assess their leadership style emphasis of concern for task or concern for people.Findings – Project management students rate themselves significantly higher on the concern for people leadership style and were found to have a balance between the concern for task and concern for people leadership style vs MBA students.Practical implications – Individuals exhibiting a concern for people leadership style and those with a balance between concern for task and concern for people leadership styles are good candidates for project management positions as well as training/education in project management.Originality/value – The paper shows that the selection and training of project managers based on bahavioral tendencies can relate to ...

33 citations


References
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