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Title: Inter-organizational relationships in the programme management lifecycle
Author: Li, Qing
ISNI:       0000 0004 2745 5734
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2012
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The study explores the inter-organizational relationships (IORs) between one of the biggest utility companies in the UK and its first tier contractors in its asset management programme. UK utility companies exist in heavily regulated environments and lack direct market competition, however they still need to work collaboratively with suppliers and partners. The relationships between the utility company and contractors are complex given their and other stakeholders' interests vary. The utility company adopts a programme management approach to deliver thousands of projects with contractors to maintain existing, and establishes new, asset configurations according to a five-year cycle agreed with the lead regulator. The utility company has adopted different approaches to managing groups of projects in the past. Thus the complexity of the context can be rather intensive in terms of the large number of projects and imposed regulatory mechanism. The research question of the study can be addressed as "how do inter-organizational partnerships in a regulated utility's asset management programme evolve over the programme lifecycle?" The main methodology is mixed methods approach, a combination of qualitative (e.g. interview) and quantitative (social network analysis). Interviews help establish context and specify detailed research design. Social network analysis is used to map out IORs using sociograms The study has conducted two case studies. Case study 1 examines the social networks of the utility company's first tier contractor partners and a consulting company and explores the factors and context impeding the speedy closing down of projects. Case study 2 investigates how JORs evolve given organizational change to partner location and project grouping. Programme lifecycle sets the context for the two case studies where case study 2 looks at the definition/planning stage and execution stage of one programme and case study I examines the closure stage of another programme. The nature of programme lifecycle is rarely studied in the programme management literature. The findings show that the utility company's asset management programme faces high levels of complexity in a number of different dimensions including temporally along the programme management lifecycle. In particular, case study 2 also explores changes to the same organisation network over a period of months. The study contributes to the theoretical understanding of asset management programmes with two case studies at the definition/planning stage and execution stage and closure stage. In addition, it sheds light on the evolution of JORs along the programme lifecycle. The study contributes to the theoretical and empirical development of programme management literature, especially in the utility sector. The empirical nature of the research has direct contribution to practice, both for the UK utility sector, regulated industries and programme management practice in general.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available