Mathcing the Project Manager's Leadership Styles to Project Type

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INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF

PROJECT MANAGEMENT
International Journal of Project Management 25 (2007) 21–32 www.elsevier.com/locate/ijproman

Matching the project manager’s leadership style to project type Ralf Muller ¨
b

a,1

, J. Rodney Turner

b,*

a ˚ ˚ Umea School of Business, Umea University, Sweden Groupe ESC Lille, Avenue WillyBrandt, F59777 Euralille, France

Received 21 March 2006; accepted 21 April 2006

Abstract We look into the interaction of the project manager’s leadership style with project type, and their combined impact on project success. We aim to show that different leadership styles are more likely to lead to a successful outcome on different types of project. A recently developed integrated model of intellectual, emotional and managerial competence (IQ, EQ, MQ, respectively) is used to identify project managers leadership styles. A web-based questionnaire was used to determine the leadership style of project managers and relate that to the success of their most recent projects. These are related to project types, using a recently developed categorization system for projects. These quantitative results are validated against qualitative results obtained using semi-structured interviews of managers responsible for assigning project manager to projects. Ó 2006 Elsevier Ltd and IPMA. All rights reserved. Keywords: Leadership; Emotional intelligence; Project type; Project success

1. Introduction Building on the behavioural, contingency and visionary schools of leadership, the emotional intelligence school [19] and the competency school (see for instance: [28,41,24,16] have shown in a general management context that the manager’s leadership style influences the performance of their organization, and that different leadership styles are appropriate in different contexts. On the other hand, the project management literature has almost studiously ignored the contribution of the project manager, and his or her competence to the success of their project [39]. Over the past twenty years, there has been a changing understanding of what constitutes project success [22]. In the 1980s, researchers focused on the application of tools and techniques [29,32]. More recently they have focused on risk manage* Corresponding author. Present address: Wildwood, Manor Close, East Horsley, Surrey KT24 6SA, UK. Tel./fax: +44 1483 282 344. E-mail addresses: ralf.mueller@usbe.umu.se (R. Muller), rodneytur¨ ner@europrojex.co.uk, jr.turner@esc-lille.fr (J.R. Turner). 1 Home Address: Sjobogatan 10, 212 28 Malmo, Sweden. Tel./fax: +46 ¨ ¨ 40 68 91 312.

ment and governance support the project receives from the parent organization [10,5]. Historically, research into project management has emphasized efficiency rather than behavioural or interpersonal factors, [31]. A recent research study suggested different project management approaches are appropriate for different types of project [14]. This would suggest that different project management styles, and thus different competency profiles and leadership styles for the project manager would be appropriate for different types of project. This would be consistent with findings in the general management literature. We have therefore undertaken a research project with the aim of determining whether: 1. the project manager’s leadership style influences project success; 2. different leadership styles are appropriate for different types of project. We conducted a web-based questionnaire in which we used a recently developed instrument for determining leadership dimensions and styles [16] to determine the leadership styles of 400 project managers. We also asked

0263-7863/$30.00 Ó 2006 Elsevier Ltd and IPMA. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.ijproman.2006.04.003

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R. Muller, J.R. Turner / International Journal of Project Management 25 (2007) 21–32 ¨

the respondents questions about their most recent project to determine its success and to be able to categorize it according to the...
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