nep-ppm New Economics Papers
on Project, Program and Portfolio Management
Issue of 2011‒03‒05
nine papers chosen by
Arvi Kuura
Parnu College - Tartu University

  1. Sustainable Relations in International Development Cooperation Projects: The Role of Human Resource Management and Organizational Climate By Zanasi, Cesare; Rota, Cosimo
  2. An Invasive Weed Optimization Algorithm for the Resource Availability Cost Problem By V. VAN PETEGHEM; M. VANHOUCKE
  3. Factors Influencing Industry Adoption of R&D on Marketing: The Case of the Australian Seafood Cooperative Research Centre By Dentoni, Domenico; English, Francis
  4. R&D Projects Fostering Small Firmsâ Market-Sensing and Customer-Linking Capabilities: A Multivariate Statistics Approach By Dentoni, Domenico; English, Francis
  5. Changing the direction of environmental investment in Australia: Learnings from implementing INFFER By Marsh, Sally; Curatolo, April; Pannell, David; Park, Geoff; Roberts, Anna; Alexander, Jennifer
  6. Evaluating the sustainability of impounded river systems and the cost-effectiveness of dam projects: An ecosystem services approach By Tompkins, Jean-Marie; Hearnshaw, Edward; Cullen, Ross
  7. Conducting influential impact evaluations in China: The experience of the Rural Education Action Project By Boswell, Mathew; Rozelle, Scott
  8. ADOPT: a tool for predicting adoption of agricultural innovations By Kuehne, G; Llewellyn, Rick S.; Pannell, D; Wilkinson, R; Dolling, P; Ewing, M
  9. Ecotourism and the Development of Indigenous Communities: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly By Coria, Jessica; Calfucura, Enrique

  1. By: Zanasi, Cesare; Rota, Cosimo
    Abstract: The importance of organizational issues to assess the success of international development project has not been fully considered yet. An analysis of the literature on the project success definition, focused on the success criteria and success factors, was carried out by surveying the contribution of different authors and approaches. Traditionally projects were perceived as successful when they met time, budget and performance goals, assuming a basic similarity among projects (universalistic approach). However, starting from a nonâuniversalistic approach, the importance of organizationâs effectiveness, in terms of relations sustainability, emerged as a dimension able to define and assess a project success (Belassi W., Tukel O.I., 1996). Based on previous research contributions on the factors influencing the relations between organizations (Zanasi C., Rota C., 2009), the paper expands the analysis of the influence of human resource management on organizational climate that, in turn, influences the relation sustainability between project manager and project team involved in international cooperation for development. A detailed analysis of these relations is provided and a research hypothesis are built. A questionnaire on previous contributions was adapted to collect data for a Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) analysis. Five dimensions of organizational climate (Zeitz G. et al., 1997) (trust, communication, innovation, job challenge, social cohesion), four dimensions of human resource management (Snell S.A., Dean J.W, 1992) (staff recruitment, training, performance appraisal, reward system) and two dimension for sustainable relations (Fisher C., Reynolds N., 2008) (relations quality and strength) are reported and measured by using a 5 point Likert scale. The sample size is still in progress. The first results on internal consistency reliability coefficients (Cronbachâs alpha) are satisfactory.
    Keywords: Agribusiness, Agricultural and Food Policy, Farm Management, Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety, Production Economics, Research Methods/ Statistical Methods,
    Date: 2010–10
    Abstract: In this paper, an Invasive Weed Optimization (IWO) algorithm for the Resource Availability Cost Problem (RACP) is presented, in which the total cost of the (unlim- ited) renewable resources required to complete the project by a pre-specified project deadline should be minimized. The IWO algorithm is a new search strategy, which makes use of mechanisms inspired by the natural behavior of weeds in colonizing and finding a suitable place for growth and reproduction. In this paper, the algorithm is used for the first time to solve a project scheduling problem. All algorithmic compo- nents are explained in detail and computational results for the RACP are presented.
    Date: 2011–01
  3. By: Dentoni, Domenico; English, Francis
    Abstract: Researchers have widely analysed the economic, managerial, social and psychological drivers of industry adoption of R&D outputs both in the international (e.g. Rogers 2003) and Australian context (e.g. Pannell et al. 2006). Many of these studies have mainly focused on the drivers of industry adoption of technical research, whose value - increasing productivity or decreasing costs within a firm's boundaries - is generally more tangibly perceived by the industry (Pralahad 1993). On the other hand, research has not focused on the drivers of industry adoption of R&D outputs stimulating market development, whose value - identifying and exploiting a market opportunity outside the boundaries of the firm - is usually more uncertain and difficult to be perceived (Pralahad 1993). At the same time, the industry uptake of research for market development is crucial in current agri-food systems, where companies increasingly need to be consumer-responsive in order to sustain their competitive advantage and survive. To attempt to start filling this gap, we explored the factors influencing industry adoption of R&D in marketing by taking a case-based grounded theory approach (Glaser and Strauss 1967; Eisenhardt 1989). Thirty-five market development projects conducted by the Australian Seafood Cooperative Research Centre, in collaboration with a number of industry and research partners, provided the instrumental cases for this study. Although limited to the seafood sector, by comparing and contrasting cases in sub-sectors with very different characteristics (oyster, wild prawn, rock lobster, abalone, tuna, salmon, finfish, sardines, barramundi) this study empirically explores factors related to 1) individual firms' characteristics and capabilities, 2) firms' organization within their industry and with external stakeholders 3) the project scope of the value proposition and industry engagement process. Results show that although individual firms' characteristics and the governance and structure of their industry associations influences the industry uptake, the scope of value proposition and the process of industry engagement are in determining industry uptake. In particular, the focus of consumer/market research, the timely communication among partners and the industry acquisition of market-sensing capabilities are three key elements influencing the industry uptake of the public market development research outputs.
    Keywords: Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies,
    Date: 2011
  4. By: Dentoni, Domenico; English, Francis
    Abstract: A large number of empirical studies have recently explored the processes and the conditions under agri-food companies acquire and develop market orientation (e.g. Martin et al. 2009), entrepreneurship (e.g. Holster 2008) and innovation (e.g. Verhees 2005), which have been proven to have a positive relationship with their performance (e.g. Micheels and Gow 2008). A much smaller number of studies focused on how agri-food firms can acquire the capabilities that are necessary to become market-oriented and innovative (e.g. Anderson & Narus 2007), specifically market sensing and customer linking (Day 1994). As a number of public-private partnership projects are attempting to enhance agri-food companies' market orientation and innovation, it is useful to identify which research and dissemination methods effectively develop these capabilities and under which conditions. To attempt to start filling this gap, this study analyses under which conditions public-private projects based on research and dissemination manage to foster market-sensing and customer-linking capabilities of small agri-food firms. Fostering these capabilities in small firms is particularly challenging, as they have limited resources to absorb the new information, learn and apply strategic changes as a result of the learning process. The case of five knowledge-building Seafood Cooperative Research Centre projects based on supply chain mapping and benchmarking methods with the oyster, wild prawn, farmed prawn and finfish industries provides the instrumental cases to the study. We collected data both quantitatively and qualitatively to gain more insight on the cause-effect relationship among variables (Eisenhardt 1989). Then, we analysed data with a structural equation model, whose multivariate statistic approach allows a rigorous analysis of the relationships between latent variables such as market-sensing and customer-linking capabilities and attitudes. Preliminary results can be summarized as follows. First, an estimation of profit margins that different customers make along the chain and an assessment of customers' needs, when customers'concentration and rivalry along the chain is low, are crucial to foster small farms' capabilities. Second, informal networks play a key role for fostering these capabilities from few small firms to the majority of the target.
    Keywords: Agribusiness, Marketing,
    Date: 2011
  5. By: Marsh, Sally; Curatolo, April; Pannell, David; Park, Geoff; Roberts, Anna; Alexander, Jennifer
    Abstract: Investment in natural resource management (NRM) by regional organisations in Australia has been widely criticised for failing to achieve substantial environmental outcomes. The Investment Framework for Environmental Resources (INFFER) is a tool for developing and prioritising projects to address environmental issues such as water quality, biodiversity decline, environmental pest impacts and land degradation. INFFER is an asset-based, targeted, and outcome-focussed approach to environmental investment, and as such is a very different and more rigorous approach to prioritising possible environmental projects than used previously by most catchment management organisations (CMOs) in Australia. From 2008 to 2010 INFFER has been trialled with CMOs. Evaluation and benchmarking data obtained at 2-day INFFER training sessions with seven CMOs in three eastern Australia states are reported. Before commencing to use INFFER, CMO staff are generally confident about the current decision-making processes for environmental investment used within their organisation. In some cases, this initial perception challenges their acceptance of a new approach to investment decisionmaking. Key issues when implementing INFFER include concerns about changing the direction of CMO investment, concerns about compatibility with funder requirements, and various issues associated with specific aspects of the Framework. Perceived complexity of INFFER, existing institutional arrangements, and the legacy of past institutional arrangements remain serious barriers to the adoption of methods to improve environmental outcomes from NRM investment. Despite these difficulties INFFER is being used by a number of CMOs. However, it is likely that widespread adoption of INFFER, or indeed any other transparent and robust process, will only occur with greater requirement from governments for environmental decision making by regional NRM bodies that is more focused on outcomes and cost-effectiveness.
    Keywords: NRM investment planning, NRM investment prioritisation, regional catchment management organisations, NRM policy, environmental planning, environmental prioritisation, environmental policy, Environmental Economics and Policy, Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies, Q50, Q58,
    Date: 2011
  6. By: Tompkins, Jean-Marie; Hearnshaw, Edward; Cullen, Ross
    Abstract: In recent times, there has been increasing demand in the Canterbury region of New Zealand for the abstraction of water from rivers. The impact of this demand has lead to unacceptable minimum river flows and has adversely affected river ecology. In an effort to resolve these issues dams have been constructed. To evaluate the impact of these dam projects on all river values, an ecosystem services approach is developed. This ecosystem services approach coupled with various evaluation methods are applied for the purposes of assessing the cost-effectiveness of the Opuha Dam and the sustainability of the Opihi river system now modified by the Opuha Dam. To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of this dam project cost utility analysis is applied through the development of an ecosystem services index (ESI). The index is constructed from the aggregation of normalized indicators that represent each ecosystem service and preferential weights of each ecosystem service. The evaluation of sustainability is considered both according to weak and strong criteria. Weak sustainability is evaluated by a non-declining ecosystem services index over time. Strong sustainability is evaluated by the thresholds or safe minimum standards where an ecosystem service, as represented by an indicator, should not pass below. Fifteen ecosystem services provided by the Opihi river were identified and data for forty-two indicators was compiled to assess the provision of these services pre- and post-dam. Fifteen regional and six local stakeholder representatives were interviewed to elicit preferential weights for each ecosystem service. Assessment of both the ESI and safe minimum standards indicates that since dam construction the river has progressed towards both weak and strong sustainability in its provision of ecosystem services. The cost-effectiveness of the dam however was poor. While further work remains to refine the approach, namely to develop more effective indicators of river ecosystem services, the work does present a novel method to evaluate the impacts of dams on river systems.
    Keywords: Cost utility analysis, dam projects, ecosystem services, impounded river systems, indicators and sustainability., Environmental Economics and Policy, Q15, Q25, Q27, Q51, Q58, Q57,
    Date: 2011
  7. By: Boswell, Mathew (Stanford University); Rozelle, Scott (Stanford University)
    Abstract: Impact evaluation has become an increasingly integral part of development project design and execution in recent years. Many questions remain, however, about what methods yield the most compelling evaluations, and how best to implement them. The Rural Education Action Project (REAP) is among the most successful impact evaluation groups currently operating in China. The goal of this paper is to share five practical strategies that REAP has employed to maximize the effectiveness of its impact evaluations. These strategies include the use of randomization and other experimental and quasi experimental research designs; pursuit of local and international collaboration; strict attention to policy relevance; a modular, incremental research approach; and robust outreach.
    Keywords: impact evaluation; China; Rural Education Action Project
    JEL: L31
    Date: 2011–02–25
  8. By: Kuehne, G; Llewellyn, Rick S.; Pannell, D; Wilkinson, R; Dolling, P; Ewing, M
    Abstract: A wealth of evidence exists about the adoption of new practices and technologies in agriculture but there does not appear to have been any attempt to simplify this vast body of research knowledge into a model to make quantitative predictions across a broad range of contexts. This is despite increasing demand from research, development and extension agencies for estimates of likely extent of adoption and the likely timeframes for project impacts. This paper reports on the reasoning underpinning the development of ADOPT (Adoption and Diffusion Outcome Prediction Tool). The tool has been designed to: 1) predict an innovationâs likely peak extent of adoption and likely time for reaching that peak; 2) encourage users to consider the influence of a structured set of factors affecting adoption; and 3) engage R, D & E managers and practitioners by making adoptability knowledge and considerations more transparent and understandable. The tool is structured around four aspects of adoption: 1) characteristics of the innovation, 2) characteristics of the population, 3) actual advantage of using the innovation, and 4) learning of the actual advantage of the innovation. The conceptual framework used for developing ADOPT is described.
    Keywords: Adoption, Diffusion, Prediction, Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies,
    Date: 2011
  9. By: Coria, Jessica (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Calfucura, Enrique (Department of Economics, McGill University and CIREQ, Canada; and Facultad de Economia y Empresa, Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago. Chile.)
    Abstract: A large part of the literature analyzing the links between biodiversity conservation and community development assumes that nature-based tourism managed by indigenous communities will result not only in conservation of natural resources but also in increased development. In practice, indigenous communities have often failed to implement successful ecotourism projects due to a combination of factors, including isolation and a lack of financial resources, management skills, and infrastructure. Based on a review of experiences, we analyze the complex interaction among the factors shaping the success and failure of ecotourism experiences in indigenous communities, and we stress the need for a better approach to indigenous-based ecotourism. Moreover, use of complementary economics instruments and marketing of so-called charismatic species may be crucial elements for maximizing revenues of the ecotourism activities.
    Keywords: ecotourism; biodiversity; ICDP; indigenous communities
    JEL: Q50
    Date: 2011–02–23

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