A study of forms of project organisation and matrix management : case studies from the construction industry
This study investigates the forms and processes of interaction that occur in the organisation and management of projects. It takes as its empirical focus of enquiry the situation in the UK construction industry; and uses, as its database, five case studies of medium to large-scale, 'one-off' construction projects. The literature on project organisation and management is reviewed, with attention directed towards the phenomenon of matrix forms of organisation and related processes of management. A critique is developed which assesses the implications of inter-organisational linkages in the coordination and control of project task work. This critique forms the basis for a model of construction organisation and management from which a series of propositions are derived for empirical investigation. Five case studies of construction projects, explored longitudinally and using qualitative research techniques, are described and analysed. The main finding to emerge from the study is that: the more there is a need for a more 'flexible' administrative arrangement and approach towards managing work that is complex, uncertain and interdependent, the less likely this is in fact to occur, to the extent that 'contractual' considerations inform the parties' approaches. This is contingent upon three sets of features: the form and basis of the relationship, and its meaning to those involved; the broader relationship between the organisations concerned (eg their goals, resources); and the internal setting within each organisational group. The implications of the findings for models of project and matrix organisation are assessed. A recommendation is made for the more explicit and separate treatment of interorganisational relationships, due to the differential motivational basis underlying interaction.