Research

The researchers involved in the 08:23, have a far reaching interest in management and organization theory in general and the management and organizing of projects in particular. The empirical focus, projects as a social phenomena and way of organizing.

Project management is traditionally a sub-field of operations and engineering management with a focus on scheduling, forecasting and standardized management metrics while having been neglected by organization and management scholars at large (Lundin and Söderholm, 1995). It is however a fact that organizations and corporations today are heavily dependent on projects for their profits, innovative capacity and organizational change efforts (Ekstedt et al, 1999). Several global corporations report that around 2/3 of their annual income is generated through projects. Thus, projects have been recognized as an important organizational component in contemporary organizations that indicates a fundamental shift of the management agenda and corporate challenges faced by most categories of organizations from small innovative high tech or service companies to large transnational and global corporations as well as for many NGO’s and public organizations.

Scandinavian researchers have been instrumental in the change of the management research agenda to also include project issues. Researchers at USBE were the first movers in the area and developed the initial research agenda in the early 1990’ies under the heading of “temporary organizations” (used to highlight the link to organization science) (Lundin and Söderholm, 1995; Packendorff, 1995). It was first conveyed through a special issue in Scandinavian Journal of Management 1995. This publication followed the first organization theory conference network in the project management area founded by USBE researchers (see www.irnop.org). USBE has maintained a core position in the international network of project management researchers and has contributed widely to the development of the field (Wilson and Anell, 2002, Turner and Müller, 2007). The research approach represented by USBE is sometimes coined as the Viking approach to project management or the Scandinavian school of project management (Sahlin-Andersson and Söderholm, 2002; Engwall et al, 2002; Hällgren, Jacobsson and Söderholm, 2012).

The relevance of the research approach has also been validated by recent industrial and organizational developments. Shorter product life cycles, more demanding customers asking for complex system deliveries, increased globalization and a continuous growth of the professional services sector contribute to more companies becoming project dependent. Parallel to this, projects are more and more attended to in terms of the management and organization implications they carry, including strategic alignment of project portfolios, program management and project management offices (Blomquist and Müller, 2006a, 2006b). One important aspect, making our approach highly relevant, is a demand for a deeper understanding of the variety of project management practices being developed as the organizational form is diffused (Jacobsson and Söderholm, 2011). This is to go beyond planning and scheduling to understand, manage and develop the work performed (Hällgren and Maaninen-Olsson, 2005; Söderholm, 2008). Our research agenda is today focused on three broad areas within which most of our publications and empirical research fall.

You can find an overview of our publication here.