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Managing the Unexpected in a Multi-project Environment
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering. (Produktrealisering)
2011 (English)In: The R&D Management Conference 2011: R&D, Sustainability & Innovation - the need for new ideas, initiatives and alliances. / [ed] Berggren, C. & Magnusson, T., 2011Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this paper is to present the results from a case study aimed at answering the following research question: How are decisions on managing deviations in a highly interrelated project made in practice?

The results are based on analysis of a single case study of a complex system development project, interrelated with eight other projects. It reveals the development team’s efforts to make sense of, and decisions on, deviating situations. The analysis reveals the characteristics of the sensemaking processes related to the consequences of the decision processes. This research contributes enhanced knowledge of how project managers cope with deviation in order to reach informed decisions involving four different types of sensemaking and four types of decision consequences. The results of this research can be used by project managers or other decision makers within product development to reflect upon how to manage unexpected deviations, proactively as well as reactively.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011.
Keyword [en]
Product development, deviation, decision-making, practice, sensegiving, and sensemaking.
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-13220ISBN: 978-0-9559367-3-9 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-13220DiVA: diva2:452676
Conference
R&D Management 2011, June 28 - 30, 2011, Norrköping, Sweden.
Funder
XPRES - Initiative for excellence in production research
Available from: 2011-10-31 Created: 2011-10-31 Last updated: 2012-10-08Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Coping with decisions on deviations in complex product development projects
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Coping with decisions on deviations in complex product development projects
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

A strong need for resource efficiency within manufacturing companies have been driven extensively through pro-active planning and methods which have naturally resulted in an increased amount of strong couplings between product development projects, their activities, and resources. These strong couplings mean a high level of complexity where deviations are likely to occur on a regular basis which can spread quickly and have far reaching consequences. Praxis related to treatment of such deviations in product development projects has not been widely discussed. The subsequent question is therefore How are decisions on managing deviations made in practice?

A Practice approach has been adopted in this research and led on to the use of context sensitive research methods in order to collect relevant data. The main amount of data has been gathered through one year of participant observations and document retrieval in a product development project. Also, a large amount of interviews have been used as a method for collecting data.

38 deviations have been analysed through the identification of praxis which has been primarily analysed by three theories. The first theory, decision roles, has been used to clarify the different types of uncertainties people within complex product development projects need to manage in practice. The second theory, loosely coupled systems, shows how temporary organizing by loose couplings enables parallel management of both planned and unplanned activities when deviations occur. The third theory, Sensemaking, have been used to characterise processes related to different types of uncertainties.

Conclusions are drawn regarding how people acts related to deviations are directly dependent on the types of uncertainties of the context as well as the situation itself. Uncertainties regarding choices, responsibilities, mobilization, and legitimization combined with the temporary organization leads to certain praxis patterns. The patterns can be used by project managers and other decision makers as a way of discussing temporary organization and how process emerge within the organization today, and how they would like resulting processes to be managed when deviations occur.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University, 2012
Series
Mälardalen University Press Dissertations, ISSN 1651-4238 ; 112
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-13224 (URN)978-91-7485-049-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-01-20, Raspen, Smedjegatan 37, Mälardalens högskola, Eskilstuna, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
XPRES - Initiative for excellence in production research
Available from: 2011-10-31 Created: 2011-10-31 Last updated: 2012-12-21Bibliographically approved

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