A project-as-practice perspective on helping behavior and reciprocity in an inter-organizational project

Anne Klitgaard, Stefan Christoffer Gottlieb

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Much research on project management links clear roles and responsibilities stemming from formal job descriptions to successful project performance and processes. However, research on discretionary behavior suggests that individuals’ voluntary commitments, which are not part of the contractual tasks, such as giving help, also contribute to organizational success. Drawing on ethnographic data and a practice theoretical perspective, we investigate the role and impact of helping on the social life of an inter-organizational project. We show how actors engaging in acts of helping assume roles of receivers and givers of help. We show that the establishment of these roles prompts behavior on behalf of the actors, which may have an adversarial impact on the contractually defined roles and thus pose central challenges for the rational management of projects. We conclude by arguing that the connection between practice and social life applies to all social practices, which means that project managers should pay close attention to the actualities of project practices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102577
JournalInternational Journal of Project Management
Volume42
Issue number2
Number of pages12
ISSN0263-7863
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

Keywords

  • construction, environment and energy

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