nep-ppm New Economics Papers
on Project, Program and Portfolio Management
Issue of 2021‒10‒04
eight papers chosen by
Arvi Kuura
Tartu Ülikool

  1. Exploring Critical Risk Factors of Office Building Projects By Nguyen, Phong Thanh; Phu Pham, Cuong; Thanh Phan, Phuong; Bich Vu, Ngoc; Tien Ha Duong, My; Le Hoang Thuy To Nguyen, Quyen
  2. The case for greater project-level transparency of the UN's development work By Baumann, Max-Otto
  3. Assessing potential effects of development cooperation on inequality By Negre, Mario
  4. Municipal development policy in Germany: Current status and prospects By Wingens, Christopher; Marschall, Paul; Dick, Eva
  5. Informality, innovation, and knowledge co-creation: characterising collaborative creativity and adaptation in rural development By Tasker, Alex
  6. Bridging the gaps: An integrated approach to assessing aid effectiveness By Janus, Heiner; Marschall, Paul; Öhler, Hannes
  7. Unpacking the management of Oligo-coopetition strategies in the absence of a moderating third party By Frédéric Le Roy; Sea Matilda Bez; Johanna Gast
  8. Earmarked funding for multilateral development cooperation: Asset and impediment By Baumann, Max-Otto; Lundsgaarde, Erik; Weinlich, Silke

  1. By: Nguyen, Phong Thanh; Phu Pham, Cuong; Thanh Phan, Phuong; Bich Vu, Ngoc; Tien Ha Duong, My; Le Hoang Thuy To Nguyen, Quyen
    Abstract: Risks and uncertainty are unavoidable problems in management of projects. Therefore, project managers should not only prevent risks, but also have to respond and manage them. Risk management has become a critical interest subject in the construction industry for both practitioners and researchers. This paper presents critical risk factors of office building projects in the construction phase in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Data was collected through a questionnaire survey based on the likelihood and consequence level of risk factors. These factors fell into five groups: (i) financial risk factors; (ii) management risk factors; (iii) schedule risk factors; (iv) construction risk factors; and (v) environment risk factors. The research results showed that critical factors affecting office building projects are natural (i.e., prolonged rain, storms, climate effects) and human-made issues (i.e., soil instability, safety behaviors, owner’s design change) and the schedule-related risk factors contributed to the most significant risks for office buildings projects in the construction phase in Ho Chi Minh City. They give construction management and project management practitioners a new perspective on risks and risk management of office buildings projects in Ho Chi Minh City and are proactive in the awareness, response, and management of risk factors comprehensively.
    Keywords: Construction Management, Office Buildings Projects, Risk Management, Project Management
    JEL: G32 L74 O18
    Date: 2020–08–04
  2. By: Baumann, Max-Otto
    Abstract: There is a case to be made for greater transparency of the United Nations' (UN) development work at the country level. Transparency can, in the simplest terms, be defined as the quality of being open to public scrutiny. Despite improvements in recent years, UN organisations still only partially meet this standard. Only the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and, with limitations, the World Food Programme (WFP) systematically publish basic project parameters such as project documents, funding data and evaluations. Others do not even publish project lists. Only the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) publishes evaluations - a key source on performance - in an easily accessible way next to programme or project information. Lack of project transparency constitutes not only a failure to operate openly in an exemplary way, as should be expected of the UN as a public institution with aspirations to play a leadership role in global development. It also undermines in very practical ways the development purposes that UN organisations were set up for: It reduces their accountability to the stakeholders they serve, including executive boards and local actors; it hampers the coordination of aid activities across and beyond the UN; and it undermines the learning from both successes and failures. In principle, the UN and its development organisations (which in many cases also provide humanitarian assistance) have fully embraced transparency. All nine of the UN's funds and programmes had joined the International Aid Transparency Index (IATI) by 2019; four of them have also set up their own transparency portals that provide information on country-level work. The UN Secretary-General has made greater transparency and accountability key priorities of his ongoing reform efforts to strengthen the UN development system (UNDS) and win the trust of governments, both as hosts and donors. However, existing transparency arrangements in many cases fall short - either through their design or implementation - in creating a meaningful degree of transparency at the operational level of projects. It appears that both UN organisations and member states, for whom transparency comes with (perceived) downsides, have accepted improvements in project transparency in recent years as a kind of mission accomplished. Ongoing reforms focus on the level of country programmes, where they promise greater transparency on financial allocation patterns and aggregated results. This focus on programme-level transparency should be complemented by full transparency on how the UN works and achieves results at the level of projects. The following actions are recommended: Member states should request full project-level transparency in the UN General Assembly and the executive boards of UN development organisations. Member states should, in the executive boards, review agency-specific rules and mechanisms regarding transparency and monitor compliance. The UN Sustainable Development Group (UNSDG) should ensure that a system-wide UN transparency standard exists.
    Date: 2021
  3. By: Negre, Mario
    Abstract: With inequality reduction now being officially and broadly recognised as a key development objective with its own Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 10), there is a need for simple, economical and quick methodologies with which to focus on this area and assess progress. This paper presents such a methodology, which allows a rough assessment of the potential impacts of development cooperation on income, consumption and wealth inequality. This is important, as a rigorous causal analysis of the contribution development cooperation makes to reducing a partner country's inequality is complex and costly. First, the relative contribution of targeted development cooperation programmes and projects to the economies of partner countries tends to be small (though admittedly not in all cases). Second, a myriad of factors contribute to changes in inequality in any given country, and assessing the impact of all of them is a complex, imprecise, time-consuming and resource-intensive exercise. The proposed methodology therefore makes use of SDG 10's focus on the poorest 40% of the population to assess whether development cooperation in a given partner country has been directly targeted at them. This Briefing Paper presents a simple methodology to support donors or multilateral development cooperation institutions in assessing, addressing and mainstreaming inequality in their operations. The first step of the methodology recommends that development agencies identify a country's needs in terms of inequalities as a basis for providing support for policies and interventions to address them. The second step consists of making sure that inequality has been taken into account in key strategic documents. Subsequent steps aim to assess whether the design and implementation of specific programmes, projects and budget support operations targets inequalities. In the case of projects and programmes, the recommended assumption is that if their direct beneficiaries are in the bottom 40%, then these projects and programmes can be considered to address inequality. For the sake of simplicity and practicality, this does not account for general equilibrium or indirect effects. In the case of budget support of any kind, any indication of the distributional profile of government expenditure in the area of support can be used as a proxy for the support's distributional profile. As a complement to this, it may be possible in many cases to analyse whether the subnational geographic allocation of funds corresponds to the location of the national bottom 40%. Despite many good reasons why funding should not always go to poorer areas, this information may provide important insights. A key limitation of this approach is that disregarding indirect or general equilibrium effects does not establish any causal link between targeting and macroeconomic effects on inequality. Yet it does allow an assessment of the degree to which portfolios (or parts of them) are potentially addressing inequality, thereby providing important feedback for development actors.
    Date: 2021
  4. By: Wingens, Christopher; Marschall, Paul; Dick, Eva
    Abstract: German municipalities are getting increasingly involved in development policy work in Germany and abroad, with the nature of that involvement becoming ever more diverse. However, very little is known about the background or the type of these activities. Against this backdrop, the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) has conducted a study of municipal development policy (MDP) in Germany. Financed by the Service Agency Communities in One World (SKEW) of Engagement Global, this research drew upon a previous study carried out by DIE in 2009 (Fröhlich & Lämmlin, 2009) with the aim of identifying the current status of and trends in development for this policy area. To this end, DIE collaborated with the German Institute for Development Evaluation (DEval) to conduct a survey of municipalities throughout Germany. In addition, semi-structured qualitative interviews were held with representatives of municipalities and relevant national and federal-state institutions. As the results show, involvement in MDP on the part of German municipalities is increasing in the context of enabling national policies and changing frameworks for international cooperation (e.g. 2030 Agenda). Large municipalities engage far more often in development policy than small municipalities. The latter often focus on low-threshold activities with fewer requirements for project management, such as the promotion of fair trade. In a number of cases, small municipalities carry out projects based on inter-municipal cooperation. MDP covers many different topics, from information and education work to diverse forms of partnerships with municipalities in the Global South. The number and variety of stakeholders involved in the municipal administration partnerships are increasing, along with the functions they carry out. Municipalities serve as implementing agents, facilitators and networkers. They are partly motivated in their international work and corresponding activities by self-interest. Their involvement, for instance, may allow them to take on international responsibility or increase their appeal as an employer to new recruits. Development policy is a shared responsibility of the German national government, federal states and municipalities. MDP is a voluntary municipal activity and is thus not practised everywhere. Human resources are often insufficient and the required knowledge is difficult to obtain. In some cases, municipalities consider the expenditure associated with the management of MDP projects to be too high. Nonetheless, municipalities make a key contribution to transnational sustainability policy through their work, most especially by enabling global objectives to be localised and/or contextualised. One of the specific benefits of MDP is its proximity to citizens and direct contact with local stakeholders in Germany and abroad. However, when measured using conventional metrics and indicators for development cooperation (such as Official Development Assistance, ODA), the municipal contribution is still insufficiently discernible. It is important to continue providing support to municipalities, with as little red tape as possible, in order to fully exploit the potential MDP has in municipalities that are already involved in this work and those which are not yet involved.
    Date: 2021
  5. By: Tasker, Alex
    Abstract: This article characterises informal knowledge creation and co-creation between development and pastoralist actors, drawing on qualitative data gathered during an in-depth case study in Northern Kenya. Using thematic analysis, this article identifies three intersecting narratives: knowledge and exchange, barriers and drivers, and risk and uncertainty. These concepts are interpreted using wider literature on knowledge dynamics and co-creation to evaluate the suitability of existing analytical frameworks for further research on pastoralist development. The study results highlight the value of cross-cultural informal knowledge co-creation for pastoralist development, and the need for more robust future research.
    Date: 2021–09–18
  6. By: Janus, Heiner; Marschall, Paul; Öhler, Hannes
    Abstract: Does aid contribute to development? If so, under what conditions and to what extent? These questions are as old as the field of development policy itself and they have been controversially discussed among researchers and policymakers ever since. Yet, two main trends put questions related to aid effectiveness high on the political agenda again. First, development actors want to understand and improve their contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Second, populist parties on the radical right fundamentally question the relevance of aid and thereby bring development policy to the fore of public debates in donor countries. In response, donors feel more pressure to demonstrate and communicate the success of aid. Since the early 2000s, donors' efforts to meet their commitments under the international aid and development effectiveness agenda have contributed to a plethora of knowledge on what works, what doesn't work, and why. In parallel, academics have contributed new insights through the study of, for instance, macro effects, impact measurements and research on donor organisations. Increasingly, though, the debate on aid effectiveness has become compartmentalised and fragmented. This briefing maps these fragmented discussions and proposes an integrated approach to aid effectiveness in research and policymaking. We argue that only an integrated perspective can match the new demands for why, when and how aid can make a difference. Typically, policymakers and researchers operate in one or more of four (often disconnected) communities, working on: 1) macro effects of aid; 2) global principles for development cooperation; 3) the structure and instruments of organisations; 4) the impact of individual interventions. The first community focuses on research comparing the effects of aid across countries, especially regarding the effect of aid on economic growth or other development indicators. Recently, this analysis has extended to subnational levels and development actors who do not report development finance as per Official Development Assistance (ODA) guidelines, such as China. The second community engages in the promotion of global principles of effectiveness agreed on by 'traditional' providers of aid and partner countries. Five principles of aid effectiveness were enshrined in the 2005 Paris Agenda. As a follow-up, the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC) was created in 2011. The third community is concerned with managing development organisations. Development organisations have increasingly applied results-based management tools to steering operations, accountability, learning and communicating. The fourth community focuses on development interventions and the effectiveness of specific development projects. There has been a shift towards more rigorous methods for evaluating project impacts and efforts to aggregate evidence through systematic reviews. The key insight from our analysis is that an integrated approach to assessing aid effectiveness across the four communities can help to leverage synergies and avoid unintended consequences. For instance, it can improve coordination within development organisations and foster joint knowledge creation among researchers. Finally, an integrated perspective can help to clarify the contribution made by aid to the SDGs vis-à-vis that of other policy fields, and can assist in better communicating the effects of aid to the public.
    Keywords: Sustainable Development Goals,Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness
    Date: 2020
  7. By: Frédéric Le Roy (Groupe Sup de Co Montpellier (GSCM) - Montpellier Business School); Sea Matilda Bez (Labex Entreprendre - UM - Université de Montpellier); Johanna Gast (Groupe Sup de Co Montpellier (GSCM) - Montpellier Business School)
    Abstract: Recent research has highlighted the importance of management for the success of dyadic coopetition strategies. Coopetition, however, does not always occur in dyadic settings. Oligo-coopetition strategies, i.e., coopetition strategy among more than two but only a small number of coopetitors, and its management remain largely understudied. Oligo-coopetition strategy simultaneously increases both the potential benefits and risks of coopetition. Past research highlights the key role of third parties in managing oligo-coopetition. However, what happens when there is no such third party? We investigate this question through a longitudinal case study of Total Group in its oil and gas exploration and production projects. The results outline how companies manage oligo-coopetition strategy without third parties. More precisely, the results first highlight three strategies of oligo-coopetition: (1) "shareholder" coopetition, (2) "vertical" coopetition, and (3) "combined vertical and horizontal" coopetition. The results, second, outline the specific organizational designs and management principles associated with these three strategies of coopetition.
    Keywords: Oligo-coopetition strategies,Coopetitive projects,Coopetition management,Organizational design
    Date: 2021
  8. By: Baumann, Max-Otto; Lundsgaarde, Erik; Weinlich, Silke
    Abstract: Multilateral cooperation means that states can collectively achieve more than they can through individual and bilateral efforts alone. Multilateral organisations are important instruments for this: they have a greater geographic and thematic reach, operate at a larger scale and stand for multilateral norms and values. Funding provides an important basis for multilateral development cooperation - only with sufficient core funding at their disposal can multilaterals effectively and independently perform the functions member states expect. This includes a problem-driven allocation of resources, strategic orientation, and flexibility in the implementation of and advocacy for internationally agreed values, norms and standards. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has demonstrated the need for international cooperation to deal with multiple crises that affect all societies. It has also proved the value of multilateral organisations that can combat the spread of COVID-19 worldwide and support countries where health systems are weakest. Over the last three decades, the funding trend for multilateral organisations has been towards ever greater shares of earmarked funding, whereas core funding has grown much more slowly or has even declined for some organisations. A contribution is earmarked when a contributor directs it to a specific pooled fund, programme or - most typically - a project in a specific country. The substantial increase in such earmarked (also 'restricted', 'bi-multi') funding has certainly buoyed organisations and helped to close many funding gaps. However, such atomised funding practices come with the risk of instrumentalising multilateral organisations for project implementation purposes, and by doing so, reducing their programmatic coherence, effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy. For contributors, earmarking has often been a politically convenient choice. It provides them with control over the use of their resources and visibility for results achieved, all at attractively low implementation costs. However, both the direct implications of earmarking for specific interventions and the more systemic effects on the effectiveness and efficiency of the multilateral organisations tend to be overlooked. At the scale we see it today, earmarking may actually undermine the ability of multilaterals to fulfil the member states' expectations and make full use of their unique assets to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. To fully harness the potential of multilateral development cooperation, both member states and multilateral organisations have to change course. * A larger number of contributors - also beyond the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development/Development Assistance Committee (OECD/DAC) - should contribute additional funds to the multilateral development system. * Contributors should reverse the trend of growing shares of earmarked funding by increasing core funds across organisations. * Contributors should use earmarked funding more prudently to support rather than undermine multilateral functions. Multi-donor pooled funds are a viable alternative. * Multilaterals should invest in transparent institutional mechanisms that provide checks for resource mobilisation.
    Date: 2020

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