The high wire balancing act of the IS project director

Abstract

The implementation of a cross-functional enterprise system requires a more sustained and comprehensive change management program than does classical Information System (IS) application development. The tools and techniques used in such projects will presumably differ accordingly, as will the roles and responsibilities of each project contributor. The objective of this exploratory research is to elucidate the main managerial roles played by internal project directors in the implementation of a cross-functional enterprise system. To this effect, we will compare the roles of project directors involved in high organizational transformation projects with project directors participating in IS projects involving little transformation.We found that in order to comply with the allotted budget and schedule, project directors alternately adopt transactional and transformational management styles. In an IS project marked by a high level of organizational change, the transformational roles of the internal project director are more prevalent than in IS projects that entail modest organizational transformation. The impact of this type of project on the organizational culture requires a new breed of project director, capable of mastering both the technological and the organizational complexity of such projects, while at the same time coordinating the involvement of numerous contributors such as end-users, functional managers, software package suppliers and integrators. Conversely, within a low organizational transformation project, the internal project director plays both transformational and transactional roles to differing degrees, yet transactional roles prevail. Contrary to our expectations, however, in high organizational transformation projects, the transactional roles and the transformational roles were manifested to a comparable extent.

DOI: 10.1145/1120501.1120504

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@article{Roy2006TheHW, title={The high wire balancing act of the IS project director}, author={Vital Roy and Carmen Bernier and Lucie L{\'e}veill{\'e}}, journal={DATA BASE}, year={2006}, volume={37}, pages={8-39} }