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The Projectification of University Research: A study of resistance and accommodation of projectmanagement tools & techniques
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management. (Industriell Teknik)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
2015 (English)In: International Journal of Managing Projects in Business/Emerald, ISSN 1753-8378, E-ISSN 1753-8386, Vol. 8, no 1, 9-32 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to discuss and critically examine how formal project management (PM) tools and techniques affect the organization of university research.

Design/methodology/approach - The paper is empirically grounded and explores how university researchers respond to an increasing emphasis on formalized PM methods to manage research work conducted within the university. The empirical material consists of 20 interviews with research staff working with engineering, natural and medical sciences at Uppsala University, Sweden. Describing how PM techniques are increasingly imposed upon the researchers, the paper analyses different modes of relating to the formalized toolsets, and discusses their accommodation and resistance within academia.

Findings - One key finding is how the PM formalization is resisted by partial accommodation and containment. This can be described in terms of an enactment of a front-and a backstage of the research organization. At the front-stage, formal PM technology and terminology is used by specially appointed research managers as means of presenting to funding agencies and other external parties. At the backstage, researchers carry out work in more traditional forms.

Practical implications - The findings indicate a challenge for research to comply with increased PM formalization and secure on-going open-ended research. Second, the paper points toward a risk of young researchers being nudged out into "front-stage" administration with little chance of returning to "backstage" research.

Originality/value - This paper builds upon a growing area of the critical analysis of PM practice, offering insights into the tension between the values and norms of university research and an on-going formalization of PM in some organizational contexts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2015. Vol. 8, no 1, 9-32 p.
Keyword [en]
Project management, Resistance, Accommodation, Front-stage-backstage, Management of university research, Project tools and techniques
National Category
Business Administration Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Engineering Science with specialization in industrial engineering and management
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-240688DOI: 10.1108/IJMPB-10-2013-0059ISI: 000355671400003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-240688DiVA: diva2:776928
Available from: 2015-01-08 Created: 2015-01-08 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved

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Fowler, NinaLindahl, MarcusSköld, David

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