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Investigation of the institutionalizing responsibility of project managers for project benefits realization

Mogens Frank Mikkelsen, Carl Marnewick

Abstract


The purpose of projects is to produce benefits, but who is responsible for project benefits realization? Project management practitioner-guiding frameworks are clear on the responsibility for benefits realization. The majority of scientific papers on the topic follows the same logic. However, watercooler conversations with practitioners reveal a more nuanced project reality. The purpose of the paper is to investigate the gap between theory and practice.

Given an opportunity for collaboration with a large-scale Danish survey among practitioners of project management we included clarification of the institutionalization of responsibility for project benefits realization. The investigation was conducted with institutional logic as a lens, and the contribution of this paper is a deeper understanding of the stakeholder diversity regarding responsibility for benefits realization and to the socio-political dimension of the complexity of project management. The findings from the survey demonstrate that one in three of the participants holds the project manager responsible for benefits realization – in contrast to the overall recommendations in guidelines and research literature. The value of the paper is the demonstration inconsistence and hereby assist the understanding of the complexity and diversity of responsibility of benefits realization.


Keywords


Benefits realization; Institutionalization; project managers responsibility

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