An enquiry into team and individual effectiveness in a TEMPUS project (1993-1998)
The thesis is an evaluative case study in the interpretive paradigm of five-years of collaboration between three universities; one Belarusian, one British and one French. The collaboration, funded by the European Union's 'TEMPUS' programme, was intended to strengthen institutional mangement at the Belarusian host university following its foundation in 1992. The research proceeded responsively, adapting to circumstances and conditions as it sought to remain relevant and use appropriate research tools to progress with the enquiry. Eventually four phases were completed including the production of a thick description Case Record which was referred (0 constantly in dialogue with informants in the phases of the research. The analysis of the case considers the relevance of the standard project cycle management blueprint by examining the formal project cycle in the light of rich contextual information and reflecting upon the project's outcomes (planned and achieved) and the activities performed. Insight into the social psychology of intemational cooperation is also offered by the case study, drawing from and building upon theories of project management across cultures. The study shows that many of the by-products of the collaboration planned in the original project description were of doubtful relevance and were transitory or superficial although some changes tumed out to have long-term sustainability. The findings challenge perceptions of good practice at project. institution and programme level, which others may relate to their own experience. Of particular importance, the research established that the project cycle itself introduced operational weaknesses and imposed limitations which prejudiced team and individual effectiveness. The Tempus project began better to fulfil its potential when personal and cullurally based objectives were taken on board as well as the official ones.