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Title: How managers in functional structures can improve project outcomes through organisation design: Three case studies from arts coucil England
Author: Shaw, Charles David
ISNI:       0000 0001 3400 3435
Awarding Body: Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2008
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In this thesis I examine how managers in organisations whose main business involves continuous, routine work, and which are organised in traditional, functional hierarchies (such as are common in Government bodies), can improve project outcomes through organisation design. This is an important problem as bodies whose main business does not involve project-based work increasingly use project management methods to tackle significant tasks. My research method has involved case study research into three projects that Arts Council England was undertaking during 200612007. The Arts Council was undergoing a major organisational restructuring during this period. These projects provided a distinct opportunity for comparative, longitudinal rese~rch into projects with contrasting characteristics in a common organisational setting, and where the influence of organisation design on project outcomes would be highly visible. I show that separation of projects from their parent organisations is helpful in resolving the conflicts between routine and project-based work where the primary concern is with timely completion of project tasks, but that engagement with the parent organisation is important in enabling the results of the projects to be adopted in practice. I show also that influence from Central Government on projects undertaken by its "arm's length" bodies may inhibit formation of motivated project teams if managers interpret that influence in ways that unduly constrain those teams' ability to have a voice in the formulation of their project objectives and to determine for themselves the means for pursuing them. Overlaying project-based organising across a traditional functional hierarchy increases the demands on senior management to set clear corporate objectives and to resolve conflicts. Adoption of project-based organising therefore increases transaction costs, and I show that these must be borne if the best project outcomes are to be achieved. Because of the existence of these costs, however, managers should avoid initiating projects when the tasks involved could be undertaken effectively within the normal, functional structure. Major projects often involve change in the parent organisation in order to achieve their objectives. Inertia or resistance to the project objectives from the parent organisation's prevailing culture may present a major barrier to project success in these circumstances. I show that management action to bring about change in the organisational context in which the results of those projects will be taken forward can be important in increasing the prospects for successful project outcomes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available