nep-ppm New Economics Papers
on Project, Program and Portfolio Management
Issue of 2013‒11‒22
eight papers chosen by
Arvi Kuura
Parnu College - Tartu University

  1. Testing whether major innovation capabilities are systemic design capabilities: analyzing rule-renewal design capabilities in a case-control study of historical new business developments By Pascal Le Masson; Sylvain Lenfle; Benoît Weil
  2. An examination of the factors influencing relationship building and performance in virtual R&D project teams By Nabila Jawadi; Dominique Bonet-Fernandez
  3. Safeguarding development aid against climate change: evaluating progress and identifying best practice By Nicola Ranger; Alex Harvey; Su-Lin Garbett-Shiels
  4. Project planning with alternative technologies in uncertain environments. By Creemers, Stefan; De Reyck, Bert; Leus, Roel
  5. A new approach for quantitative risk analysis. By Creemers, Stefan; Demeulemeester, Erik; Van De Vonder, Stijn
  6. Does competitive pressure spur or hinder corporate basic research?. By Ṧaljanin, Salem; Thorwarth, Susanne
  7. Economic and ethical challenges of "land grabs" in sub-Saharan Africa By Kleemann, Linda; Lay, Jann; Nolte, Kerstin; Ott, Konrad; Thiele, Rainer; Voget-Kleschin, Lieske
  8. Learning Study: Its Origins, Operationalisation, and Implications By Eric C.K. Cheng; Mun Ling Lo

  1. By: Pascal Le Masson (CGS - Centre de Gestion Scientifique - MINES ParisTech - École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris); Sylvain Lenfle (CRG - Centre de recherche en gestion - Polytechnique - X - CNRS : UMR7176); Benoît Weil (CGS - Centre de Gestion Scientifique - MINES ParisTech - École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris)
    Abstract: In this paper, we empirically test the proposition that major innovation (MI) capabilities are systemic, dynamic capabilities. We rely on design theories and characterize the systemic, dynamic capabilities as design capabilities that renew a core of stabilized design rules. For the specific case of projects leading to new business development, we conducted a case-control study of 46 historical projects; 26 of these led to new business development, and 20 do not lead to new business development. Utilizing this sample, we show that our measurement model, based on rule-reuse vs. rule-renewal design capabilities, has a good fit. We find that rule-renewal design capabilities are positively related to new business development, whereas rule-reuse design capabilities (maintaining an invariant set of design rules) are independent of new business development. We discuss different combinations of rule-reuse and rule-renewal design capabilities. This paper contributes to the literature on MI capabilities. It also theoretically and methodologically contributes to the analysis of the dynamic capabilities of design activities
    Keywords: major innovation; design capabilities; renewal design capabilities; history; project management principles
    Date: 2013
  2. By: Nabila Jawadi; Dominique Bonet-Fernandez
    Abstract: Recent research on virtual teams highlights the importance of high quality relationships to achieve high team performance. For research and development (R&D) virtual project teams, relationships characterized by cooperation and trust are expected to enhance creativity and innovation among team members. The purpose of this paper is to identify variables enabling high quality relationship building in virtual R&D teams and to analyze their influence on team performance. To this end, this study examines the effects of leadership, work organization and communication practices on the quality of the relationship between team members. The theoretical developments are illustrated through a case study of a car development project in a leading French car-making firm. Our findings show that dynamic and positive leadership plays an important role in enhancing relationships between team members. The results also highlight the importance of synchronous meetings and frequent and regular interaction to build cooperative and trusty relationships leading to high performance.
    Keywords: virtual R&D project teams, team performance, relationshipmanagement, leadership, communication.
    Date: 2013–11–14
  3. By: Nicola Ranger; Alex Harvey; Su-Lin Garbett-Shiels
    Abstract: Official development assistance (ODA) currently totals around $130 billion USD per year, an order of magnitude greater than international climate finance. To safeguard development progress and secure the long-term effectiveness of these investments, projects must be designed to be resilient to current variability and future climate change. Previous studies have identified where ODA projects are sensitive to climate. This paper goes further, to identify where action now might be justified to ‘future-proof’ these projects, given balance of risks and additional costs. We review 250 recent (since 2007) projects for three countries from two development organisations. In agreement with previous studies we find that around 30% projects have a medium or high potential risk from climate change. Between 5% and 55% of these projects (or 2% to 30% of the whole country portfolio) could require futureproofing now, given that they have long-lived outcomes that are difficult to adjust over time. We find that in many cases (80% for the World Bank and 13% for DFID) the risks associated with climate change are not mentioned in the documentation of these projects, but there are signs of improvements in integration over the past few years. More in-depth, project-specific study is required to better assess the true level of integration and the barriers that development professionals confront in this area. Finally, we identify best practice examples of how ODA projects can be made more resilient to long-term climate change.
    Date: 2013–12
  4. By: Creemers, Stefan; De Reyck, Bert; Leus, Roel
    Abstract: We investigate project scheduling with stochastic activity durations to maximize the expected net present value. Individual activities also carry a risk of failure, which can cause the overall project to fail. To mitigate the risk that an activity's failure jeopardizes the entire project, more than one alternative may exist for reaching the project's objectives, and these alternatives can be implemented either in parallel or in sequence. In the project planning literature, such technological uncertainty is typically ignored and project plans are developed only for scenarios in which the project succeeds. We propose a model that incorporates both the risk of activity failure and the possible pursuit of alternative technologies. We nd optimal solutions to the scheduling problem by means of stochastic dynamic programming. Our algorithms prescribe which alternatives need to be explored, and whether they should be investigated in parallel or in sequence. We also examine the impact of the variability of the activity durations on the project's value.
    Date: 2013–07
  5. By: Creemers, Stefan; Demeulemeester, Erik; Van De Vonder, Stijn
    Abstract: Project risk management aims to provide insight into the risk profile of a project as to facilitate decision makers to mitigate the impact of risks on project objectives such as budget and time. A popular approach to determine where to focus mitigation efforts, is the use of so-called ranking indices (e.g., the criticality index, the significance index etc.). Ranking indices allow the ranking of project activities (or risks) based on the impact they have on project objectives. A distinction needs to be made between activity-based ranking indices (those that rank activities) and risk-driven ranking indices (those that rank risks). Because different ranking indices result in different rankings of activities and risks, one might wonder which ranking index is best. In this article, we provide an answer to this question. Our contribution is threefold: (1) we set up a large computational experiment to assess the efficiency of ranking indices in the mitigation of risks, (2) we develop two new ranking indices that outperform existing ranking indices and (3) we show that a risk-driven approach is more effective than an activity-based approach.
    Keywords: Project risk management; Risk mitigation; Ranking index;
    Date: 2013
  6. By: Ṧaljanin, Salem; Thorwarth, Susanne
    Abstract: Corporate basic research is of great economic relevance. However, since potential payoffs of basic research activities are so long-term, firms facing competitive pressure may focus on more near-term, hence more applied research and development projects. This paper addresses the effect of market competition on firms’ in-house R&D investment and on its components basic research as well as applied research and development. We use the stated number of competitors as an indicator for competitive pressure. Our results indicate that increasing competitive pressure leads to a reduction of basic research activities and boosts firms’ expenditures in applied research and development.
    Keywords: basic research; R&D; competition;
    Date: 2013–04
  7. By: Kleemann, Linda; Lay, Jann; Nolte, Kerstin; Ott, Konrad; Thiele, Rainer; Voget-Kleschin, Lieske
    Abstract: For local people in sub-Saharan Africa, large land investment projects currently imply many risks and few benefits. Drawing on own ethical and economic research and using evidence from the authors' case studies in Kenya, Mali and Zambia and a new database of large-scale land acquisitions worldwide, this brief offers policy recommendations for host governments, investors and the international community so as to achieve a more favourable balance of risks and benefits in land investment projects. Our research suggests that the land governance systems of sub-Saharan African countries, comprising a multitude of sometimes contradictory laws derived from colonial and customary systems, privilege powerful actors and lead to violation of human rights. Legal uncertainty and an acquisition process that gives no voice to local land users can lead to displacements of farmers without compensation. Poorly enforced formal laws, neglect of built-in checks and balances, and power and information asymmetries between investors and local people can give rise to coalitions of investors and powerful rent-seekers. Displaced farmers and those unable to find jobs on the land investment projects migrate to other rural areas or the cities, and few and only low-skilled jobs are available to those who remain. We found limited evidence of positive spillovers from improved infrastructure and knowledge and technology transfer. Local food prices are likely to rise, as most of the production on investment farms is for export. Overall, when many farmers are displaced and investment projects are capital intensive the net welfare effect for the local population can be expected to be negative. Against this background, we propose a set of policy changes for promoting benefits for the local population and avoiding human rights violations. In contrast to proposals made by international guidelines and codes of conduct, we emphasize in particular the responsibilities of host country governments. --
    Date: 2013
  8. By: Eric C.K. Cheng; Mun Ling Lo
    Abstract: Learning Study is a collaborative, action-research approach to improve the effectiveness of student learning by enhancing the professional competence of teachers. This is achieved through the collaborative construction of the pedagogical content knowledge enabling them better to teach specific objects of learning. Through inquiry and authentic learning by the teachers, it takes account of students’ prior knowledge in the lesson planning and so creates an authentic learning environment for the students. This paper explains how the Learning Study approach relates to the set of approaches known as “Lesson Study” and how it incorporates the principles for high quality learning proposed by the OECD project on Innovative Learning Environments (ILE) in its design and implementation. It examines how Learning Study helps to integrate the factors comprising innovative learning environments. It analyses the critical conditions that support its development and practice in schools and in professional learning networks and education systems in general. L’étude sur l’apprentissage est un travail de recherche-action collaborative visant à améliorer l'efficacité de l’apprentissage des élèves, tout en renforçant la compétence professionnelle des enseignants. Cette étude est l'aboutissement d'une construction collaborative de la connaissance du contenu pédagogique, facilitant la transmission des objets spécifiques d'apprentissage. Grâce à un processus d'investigation et une authentique réflexion mené par les professeurs, les connaissances préalablement des élèves sont prises en compte pour la planification de leurs cours, créant ainsi un environnement d'apprentissage authentique pour les étudiants. Ce document explique par ailleurs comment l'étude sur l'apprentissage intègre, dans son design et sa mise en oeuvre, les exigences de haute qualité d'apprentissage identifiées par le projet des Environnements Pédagogiques Novateurs (ILE) de l'Organisation pour la Coopération Économique et le Développement (OECD). Elle décrit comment l'étude de l'apprentissage permet d'intégrer les facteurs composant les environnements pédagogiques novateurs. Elle analyse en outre les conditions critiques qui soutiennent son développement dans les organisations scolaires et les systèmes d'éducation.
    Date: 2013–11–04

This nep-ppm issue is ©2013 by Arvi Kuura. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
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