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Title: Reconciling views of project success : a multiple stakeholder model
Author: Davis, Katherine
ISNI:       0000 0004 5918 3841
Awarding Body: Kingston University
Current Institution: Kingston University
Date of Award: 2016
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Organisations use projects to manage customised, one-off events across a wide range of functions. Project management is an essential operational tool and process that is utilised to effectively and efficiently manage resources, tasks and activities, and associated timelines. Since each project is considered unique, it is essential to control the project's outcome parameters to minimise the chances of failure and the likely major financial and managerial ramifications for the organisation. As a consequence, project management literature has been dominated by discussions on the various critical success factors that are used to maximise the probability of a project's success. However, there is no single formula for success. In a recent report, it was found that 19% of completed projects fail and 52% were challenged in terms of meeting the time, cost, and quality constraints. The purpose of this study was to investigate the possibility that failure is a result of different interpretations of the criteria and factors used for success (termed 'success dimensions' within this study) by multiple stakeholder groups. Currently, there is no recorded theory to determine project success within the project management literature, which includes both the perspective of multiple stakeholder groups and shared use of success dimensions for a given project. This omission is the basis of the current work, which explores the impact of using all stakeholder views as opposed to a selected few to define project success. The research outcomes are important for informed managerial decision making that enables the minimisation of major financial losses. This study drew on previous research undertaken on project success and combined technological solutions (in the form of software packages, such as the Web of Science database, Bibexcel, NVivo, and Excel) to facilitate the identification, selection, and analysis of data sources relating to the success dimensions for project management. The results of the systematic literature review identified the 'diagnostic behavioural instrument' as the most frequently recognised measure of project success. This broadly argues that there are ten success factors that must be considered for successful project implementation. The literature also highlights the limitations of the 'diagnostic behavioural instrument', which forms part of the current gap in the literature regarding project success. These limitations were used to design a qualitative study to identify the additional attributes regarding project success as perceived across different stakeholder groups (i.e., senior management, project core team, and project recipients), as well as identifying which stakeholder perspectives are considered important in judging project success and which ones are being ignored. The findings of the qualitative study were extended to a quantitative study to confirm whether the initial findings were similar across a larger sample of stakeholders. The results from both studies were used to create an idealised, multiple stakeholder model, considering all the critical attributes to measure project success. This model was tested with a focus group to identify the extent of ease and the barriers that adopting this new perspective would present in practice. The results of the qualitative and quantitative studies showed clear differences between the project performance attributes that were considered important across the different stakeholder groups. The focus group results demonstrated a clear difference in opinion within and among the stakeholder groups, indicating their potential use for project managers to align stakeholders' views to increase project success. There is some indication that the model could be applied to projects from any field, but testing this assumption is beyond the scope of the current work. However, the preliminary results would support its use to increase the shared, multiple stakeholder perception of project success. Through use of the model, organisations can be more precise in their choice of success dimensions used to judge project success, leading to more informed decision making and subsequent motivation of employees and hence a more productive organisational culture.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Business and management studies