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Project Managers as Senior Executives: How the Research Was Conducted

Project Managers as Senior Executives: How the Research Was Conducted

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Project Managers as Senior Executives: How the Research Was Conducted

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May 1, 2011


Project Managers as Senior Executives maps out a model for advancement for program and project managers and contributes new thinking on the emerging leadership of project managers as senior executives. The research is published in two volumes. Volume I—Research Results, Advancement Model, and Action Proposals presents the results and proposals from the study and Volume 2—How the Research Was Conducted: Methodology, Detailed Findings, and Analyses contains the research-oriented materials from the study.
May 1, 2011

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Project Managers as Senior Executives - Russell D. Archibald, PhD (Hon), Msc, PMP



Research Study Background

Those who measure the value created by an organization are accorded a career path, whereas those who help to actually create that value, namely its project managers, are not.

Malcolm Wheatley

8.1.   Research Objectives, Research Questions, and Hypotheses

8.1.1.   Research Objectives

The project manager's career has been discussed frequently. Some good articles have been published in PM Network and the book People in Projects (Project Management Institute [PMI], 2001) is another good source on that topic. In addition, PMI has launched Career Framework, which is an assessment tool, on its website.

The project manager profession is very important. Estimates show that there are more than 16 million professional project managers of varying levels of competence throughout the world. To date in the United States, there is a deficiency of more than 25% in the supply of project managers¹, while the growth rate for the number of project manager job openings is one of the highest; it is comparable to job vacancies for computer specialists’ growth rate. PMI, with over 300,000 members, is one of the leading professional membership associations for project management, and it has one of the best growth rates.

However, there is one question that troubles the proponents of project management and project managers: Why aren't project managers promoted to higher responsibilities? Furthermore, why don't project managers reach, or reach only with difficulty, the top of the hierarchy in their organizations? Indeed, very symbolically, John Roecker's (2007) project managers’ career path stops below the top level—below the apex of the organizational structure.

However, this wording needs to be toned down or modified, both depending on the meaning we give to the apex (only one chairman or only one CEO, or the level of senior executives) and depending on the nature of the activity of the organization in relation to program/project management: project driven or project dependent organizations.

The most common opinion is that few professional project managers become top managers, chairpersons, or CEOs and that climbing the higher rungs of the ladder is most often very difficult. This is explored further in Chapter 4.

This is why PMI, with its fundamental mission in developing and promoting project management and project managers, launched a request for proposal (RFP) on this subject, for which our team, representing the ESC-Lille Graduate School of Management, was selected as a co-sponsor with PMI for this present research project.

For PMI, the response to this RFP should address fundamental questions such as: Are there opportunities for project managers to move into senior-level positions? What are the odds? How can a project manager better design his or her career development to take advantage of these opportunities? Issues to be studied could include, but are not limited to the following:

What is the progression of project managers into upper management? Is it reality or myth?

What is the evolution of the project manager evolution—tacticians vs. strategist (technical, managerial, leadership)?

What project manager competencies are essential for effective enterprise management in organizations?

What are the career paths for project managers (project manager to program manager, vice president/general manager, senior company executive, etc.)

What skills, competencies, and experience should a project manager develop to be considered for these positions? Examples of areas to be considered are: tactician vs. strategist; business communication; MBA and other degrees; etc.

What, if any, are best practices in developing and promoting project managers to corporate leaders?

Differentiate data, identify trends and make recommendations by major industries.

Our research questions have been elaborated in our response to the PMI® request for proposal as shown in the next section.

8.1.2.   Research Questions and Hypotheses

Research questions. Several apparent similarities exist between the roles and responsibilities of top level executives of various large organizations and those of large, complex program and project managers of various program and project categories. However, little research has been conducted to compare the roles and responsibilities of these two groups of managers and to answer the following questions:

Does experience as a successful program and project manager prepare the person for top level executive positions?

What experience exists that demonstrates that program and project managers progress to higher level executive positions?

What are the typical career paths followed by top-level executives in reaching their senior positions?

Do program managers typically hold broader strategic decision-making responsibilities than project managers, and if so does this improve their chances for moving into higher level executive positions compared to project managers?

How can a program or project manager better design their career development path to improve their chances of moving into top management positions?

Are the leadership, communication, and interpersonal skills needed by top managers similar to those needed by successful program and project managers?

What, if any, best practices can be identified in developing and promoting program and project managers to corporate leaders?

Are there different answers to these questions for different industries and categories of programs and projects and for project-driven versus project-dependent organizations?

What lessons are available from current research in human resources management as related to the career development of top executives that can be applied to the career development of project managers who wish to move up to more senior manager positions?

This research project is intended to provide empirical evidence regarding the similarities and differences and to produce documented answers to these and related questions.

The primary sources of this evidence will be personal face-to-face interviews with CEOs and other senior executives, and with program and project managers in a number of industrial sectors, and in different countries. The secondary sources will be the questioning of a larger sample of project and program managers using online questionnaires.

Hypotheses and research objectives. The objectives of this research project are to substantiate or refute these three underlying hypotheses:

Program and project managers face greater difficulties in reaching top executive positions—at least in some industrial sectors—compared to more traditional well-established functional positions (finance, sales, marketing, engineering, manufacturing, etc.). If this hypothesis holds true, then special emphasis will be needed to train project and program managers in recognizing and overcoming these difficulties.

Those project management positions that usually report more closely to top executive levels, such as director of project management, senior project sponsors, and program managers, are more likely to lead to top executive positions compared to the lower level project manager positions. If this premise is valid, then career paths that include these positions will prove to be advantageous.

There are significant similarities between integrative and other functions, as well as the roles and responsibilities of project and program managers and those of senior managers and executives in all complex organizations. If this can be shown to be a valid hypothesis, then it readily follows that successful experience as a project or program manager is excellent preparation to become a successful senior executive.

8.2.   Key Definitions

The key definitions used in this research are as follows:

Activity: A component of work performed during the course of a project. This word is sometimes used in this report to identify the type of work being done by the person in question (PMI, 2008, p. 426).

Career: The career is the evolving sequence of a person's work experiences over time (Arthur, Hall, & Lawrence, 1989, p. 7).

Chairman (of the Board): The chairman is the highest office of an organized group such as a board, committee, or deliberative assembly. The person holding the office is typically elected or appointed by the members of the group. The chairman presides over meetings of the assembled group and conducts its business in an orderly fashion. When the group is not in session, the chairman's duties often including acting as its head, its representative to the outside world and its spokesperson. The terms chair and chairperson are sometimes used to avoid the perceived sexism of ‘chairman’ (Robert Dictionary 2005).

Chief Executive Officer (CEO): The executive with the chief decision-making authority in an organization or business). A chief executive officer (CEO) or chief executive is one of the highest-ranking corporate officers (executives) or administrators in charge of total management. An individual selected as president and CEO of a corporation, company, organization, or agency, reports to the board of directors (JP. Debourse).

C-Level Executives: Common associates includes a chief financial officer (CFO), chief operating officer (COO), chief technical officer (CTO), chief marketing officer (CMO), chief information officer (CIO), chief creative officer (CCO), chief compliance officer (CCO), and director or vice president of human resources (JP. Debourse).

Functional Manager: Someone with management authority over an organizational unit within a functional organization. The manager of any group that actually makes a product or performs a service. Sometimes called a line manager (PMI, p. 436)

Functional Organization: An hierarchical organization where each employee has one clear superior, staff are grouped by areas of specialization and managed by a person with expertise in that area (PMI, p. 436).

General Manager: A manager whose work encompasses all areas of an organization. A general manager is traditionally a non-specialist, has a working knowledge of all aspects of an organization's activities, and oversees all operating functions. In large companies and the public sector, specialist managers with expert knowledge may control departments, while a general manager provides unifying leadership from the top (JP. Debourse).

In France, this term usually refers to the Directeur Général category of managers who have the following characteristics:

Oversees the executive committee

Assigned by the board or the chairman or by the CEO and is responsible for the strategic development of the organization.

Enjoys a high degree of autonomy in the organization and a real power for decision making.

Belongs, in most cases, to the category where the methods of assignment and remuneration are specific. (Roussillon, 2003). In addition, the primary author of this report states that these managers (Directeurs Général) often have, in large organizations, an hierarchical position equivalent to level 1 or level 2 from the chairman top (General Manager, n. d.).

This definition corresponds to the French functional hierarchy. General manager in the United States is usually not the same as Directeur Général in France. In the United States, this title is usually much lower in rank and responsibility. There can be a general manager for a small division, for example.

Knowledge: Knowing something with the familiarity gained through experience, education, observation, or investigation; it is understanding a process, or technique, or how to use a tool.

Networking: Developing relationships with people who may able to assist in the achievement of objectives and responsibilities.

Operations: An organizational function performing the ongoing execution of activities that produce the same product or provide a repetitive service.

Organization: A group of persons organized for some purpose or to perform some type of works within an enterprise.

Portfolio: A collection of projects or programs or other work that are grouped together to facilitate effective management of that work to meet strategic business objectives. The projects or programs of the portfolio may not necessarily be interdependent or directly related (PMI, p. 441).

Portfolio Management: The centralized management of one or more portfolios, which includes identifying, prioritizing, authorizing, managing, and controlling projects, programs, and other related work, to achieve specific strategic business objectives. (PMI, p. 441)

President: An executive officer of a firm or corporation.

Program: A group of related projects managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits and control not available from managing them individually. Programs may include elements of related work outside of the scope of the discrete projects in the program. (PMI, p. 442)

Program Management Office (PMO): An organizational body or entity assigned various responsibilities related to the centralized and coordinated management of those projects under its domain. The responsibilities of a PMO can range from providing project management support functions to actually being responsible for the direct management of a project. (PMI, p. 443)

Project: A temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result. (PMI, p. 443)

Project Management (PM): The application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirement. (PMI, p. 443)

Project Management Office (PMO): An organizational body or entity assigned various responsibilities related to the centralized and coordinated management of those projects under its domain. The responsibilities of a PMO can range from providing project management functions to actually being responsible for the direct management of a project. (PMI, p. 443)

Project Management Professional (PMP®): A person certified as a PMP® by the Project Management Institute (PMI®).

Project Management Team: The members of the project team who are directly involved in project management activities. On some smaller projects, the project management team may include virtually all of the project team members.

Project Manager (PM): The person assigned by the performing organization to achieve the project objectives. (PMI, p. 444)

Project Team: All the project team members, including the project management team, the project manager and, for some projects, the projects sponsor.

Projectized Organization: Any organizational structure in which the project manager has full authority to assign priorities, apply resources, and direct the work of persons assigned to the project.

Scope: The sum of the products, services, and results to be provided as a project. (PMI, p. 448)

Skill: Ability to use knowledge, a developed aptitude, and/or a capability to effectively and readily execute or perform an activity.

Sponsor: The person or group that provides the financial resources, in cash or in kind, for the project. (PMI, p. 449)

Stakeholder: Person or organization that is actively involved in the project, or whose interest may be positively or negatively affected by execution or completion of the project. A stakeholder may also exert influence over the project and its deliverables. (PMI, p. 450)

8.3.   Research Approach

There were nine phases in the life cycle of this research project, from the step before sending the proposal to the writing of the final report. These phases were:

The phase prior to submittal of the proposal.

The literature review, which began when the proposal was accepted by PMI, and the contract was signed by both parties.

The determination of members of the focus group to conduct the investigation.

The first interviews of CEOs and PMs and the elaboration of the face-to-face interview questionnaire. The realization of the conduct and documentation of the different interviews.

The definition of a preliminary analytical model.

The elaboration of the two web-based questionnaires, their testing and dissemination.

The analysis of the answers from the face–to-face interviews.

The analysis of the web-based questionnaires results (quantitative and qualitative aspects).

The writing of the final report.

8.3.1.   The Phase Prior to Submittal of the Proposal

Generally this phase is not included in research reports; however, it is an essential one for this project. This phase was conducted by R. D. Archibald and J. P. Debourse. It was based on their project management and project managers’ experiences, as well as from their CEO experiences and from discussions with other CEOs. In addition, a dialogue was established with the two other main researchers, R. J. Turner and G. Prahbakar, and with other members of the research project team.

In this phase, the main research questions were determined and tested in their wording through several indirect interviews. In addition, tests of the pertinent literature were conducted:

From a scientific database (EBSCO, Business Source Complete, and Science Direct), but with little success as to a specific theme.

From two publications on project management: the Project Management Journal and the International Journal of Project Management, but without much success.

8.3.2.   The Literature Review Phase

An extensive collection of literature was chosen from four sources:

Project management literature (articles in journals, magazines, and conference proceedings, books on project/program management and careers), which yielded few results. PM Network had the most information;

Project management standards;

Elements from the major (nonproject management) professional standards;

Project management handbooks and books².

Detailed lists of the literature that was reviewed are given in Chapter 9.

We did not find any academic articles directly related to the research subject, which is both distressing and encouraging for the results of our research. At the end of our project, we received Lila Carden's (2007) study Report of Pathways to Project Management Success as Perceived by Project Managers, which allowed us some triangulation.

A review of the characteristics of the CEOs and of the senior executives. We know this literature well as it is an old and abundant one. The main difficulty was choosing the best literature. We added CEO's succession to the literature. This analysis was conducted by P. Pailot, a human resources management (HRM) specialist.

The analysis of the HRM literature on career and the career path. This is an important area of the HRM literature, with a lot of books and articles. This analysis was also conducted by P. Pailot.

And, as always, the continual refreshing of our methodological development during the literature review.

8.3.3.   The Determination of the Groups to Investigate

Two population groups had to be investigated: project and program managers and top managers.

For project managers, we interviewed a large sample of PMI® members as well as others who received their master's degree in project management. These project managers (who were mostly from France) were mostly interviewed via web questionnaire. In the preliminary phase, and later for confirmation, a smaller number of project managers received face-to-face interviews. (These interviewees were mostly from the United States, France, Brazil, and Ukraine).

Regarding the CEOs, top managers and senior executives, the matter is more complex. They are very unlikely to answer questionnaires which are sent by mail or e-mail. Once we have made direct contact with them (which is not always possible), the face-to-face interview is efficient, and this is what we have done.

8.3.4.   The First Interviews and the Elaboration of the Face-to-Face Questionnaires

At the end of 2006 and at the beginning of 2007, various members of the research project team conducted face-to-face interviews with CEOs and project/program managers. The CEOs whom we were able to interview were generally ready to provide us with additional information when we required it.

In this phase, a set of 54 skills relating to the senior executives and to the project/program managers were tested. During these first interviews, it appeared that the number of skills was too high; we then chose 21 skills and 16 roles in the final version. The face-to-face questionnaire was then worked out, including an action guide for the interviewers and different parts of the investigation.

This face-to-face interview guide was written in English and French. The French version is similar to the English one, except for some role definitions. The interview guidelines are given in Appendices 5 and 6, and the online questionnaires are in Appendices 7 and 8.

The interviews were conducted by our partners: Darcy Prado in Brazil; Dr. Frank Harper in United States; Dr. Monique Aubry in Canada; Dr. Sergey Bushuyev in Ukraine; and by the members of the research team in France: Dr. Corinne Poroli, Dr. Laurence Lecoeuvre, Dr. Jean-Marie Hazebroucq, and Dr. Jean-Pierre Debourse.

8.3.5.   The Definition of a Preliminary Model

A preliminary model was established, at the beginning, to define the different actors and their different relations. This model is simply descriptive, and the explanatory model will be shown in Chapter 7.

The different paths are as follows:

A project manager has broader responsibilities in project management and/or in program management and then reaches the top level, e. g., CEO, COO.

A project or program manager by a lateral move exercises functional responsibilities and then moves up either through a functional path (2A) or through operational responsibilities (head of department, head of division).

A project or program manager moves up by occupying operational executive positions: head of department, division, or subsidiary, and then can reach the top level.

A program or project manager remains or prefers to remain a program or project manager for the rest of his career.

A career implying a path outside the organization with or without rejoining the organization:

Coming from an outside company generally with a hierarchical promotion

Leaving the organization to integrate a consulting company generally with a strong involvement in project management

Leaving the organization to create one's own company or to participate in a foundation

Joining the academic world

It is also possible to rejoin the organization after exercising functions outside.

As indicated at the top of Figure 3-1, our CEO interviews revealed that a number of people at this level carry the responsibilities of the project or program manager position themselves as an additional duty or even an integral part of their functions as CEO.

The two orange arrows show the possible direct paths for project managers to progress to senior executive, top management team (TMT) or Executive Committee, or CEO responsibilities: (1) by first becoming a program manager, and (2) by moving directly from a project manager position to a senior executive position. Of course, a third path could be to become a program manager and then move to a senior executive position.

The two blue arrows show two other alternatives paths: (1) going from project manager directly to the CEO position, and (2) going from project manager or program manager to one or more functional manager positions and a senior executive position (the less direct path). Of course, it possible to move from the senior executive position to the path to TMT or CEO.

The three gray arrows indicate the possible paths open to functional managers to move to senior executive or TMT positions, and then to the CEO position.

Zone b in the figure illustrates the possible paths for project or program managers to move into either senior executive or CEO positions directly moving from sources outside the organization, by founding a new company, or moving from a consulting assignment within the organization.

As discussed later, a number of persons have indicated that they actually prefer to follow a career as project and program managers and have little or no desire to progress to higher levels of organizational responsibilities.

8.3.6.   The Elaboration of the Two Web-Based Questionnaires, Their Testing and Dissemination

It was obvious that, during the limited time given for the research, the main information would come from the web-questionnaire. With the help of our colleague Alex S. Brown, SurveyMonkey™ was chosen as the tool for creating online web surveys.

A first redaction of the questionnaire was produced and tested at the eighth project management seminar in August 2007 at the Lille School Management, by project management specialists (professionals and academics from several countries). Details of this seminar are presented in Appendix 5.

The main proposals received from the seminar members concerned the following: (1) a better hierarchy of the different themes and their organizations; 2) the position of the evaluation of the different skills and roles with the Likert scale³; and (3) the amount of questions ((are there too many?).

This test questionnaire was modified according to the most interesting proposals, but without reducing the number of questions. The whole organization of the integration of the questions in the web survey and their adaptations was done by Alex S. Brown, as well as the following of the reception of the results. The SurveyMonkey questionnaire was launched in September 2007 and ended on December 15, 2007. The PMI® sample based on our research team's specifications of project managers was furnished by PMI, and the French sample was selected using a snowball process.

8.3.7.   The Analysis of the Answers from the Face-to-Face Interviews

This analysis has been conducted according to the methodology advocated by Miles and Huberman (1994).

Data Analysis Strategy

In order to understand the process as described by the interviewees of project and program managers’ career paths and how they could progress to senior executive positions, we have opted, at first, for a qualitative methodology.

As Miles and Huberman (1991, p. 12) argued, qualitative analyses are suited to take the temporal dimension of phenomena and to provide an interesting description of processes. This initial step of data analysis aims to provide us with first findings that will be tested in a second step with a quantitative analysis.

Qualitative empirical data come from 45 people—25 CEOs and 20 project managers⁵—and semi-structured interviews with project managers and senior executives. These data have been condensed and codified, as suggested by Miles and Huberman (1994), in order to find key elements through the different interviews.

The process of codification has been iterative. We have not codified our data with a predefined grid of analysis. Instead we have read and re-read our interviews in order to absorb them deeply. Then, we condensed them. Step by step, we have discovered different themes in the interviews. Recurrent themes have emerged from the raw data. Then, we have attributed a code to each recurrent theme. Thus, our methodology of qualitative data analysis is based on an inductive approach.

Our final grid of codification is presented in the following:

Our qualitative methodology aims to provide us a first understanding of the phenomenon of project management career paths. This step of analysis is exploratory and will be completed with a quantitative methodology.

This analysis has been conducted separately by two researchers for each primary language involved: Corinne Poroli and Jean-Pierre Debourse for the French questionnaires and Guru Prahbakar and Jean-Pierre Debourse for the English language interviews.

8.3.8.   The Analysis of the Web-Based Questionnaire

This analysis was conducted with SAS statistical software.⁶ Professor Gérard François led the data processing, along with SAS. (Gérard François is a member of our team and his university has the signed SAS release document.) He has produced all the demographic and quantitative results. Jean-Pierre Debourse handled the SurveyMonkey qualitative data, in order to synthesize them and to facilitate their electronic processing by the SAS software. Along with Jean-Pierre Debourse, Gérard François developed and carried out the research protocol, particularly in order to obtain the clusters, and above all, in order to obtain answers to the research questions and hypothesis checking elements.

8.3.9.   The Writing of the Final Report

The main elements of the final report were written by Jean-Pierre Debourse and Russell D. Archibald, who also handled the final revision of the whole report with the help of Guru Prahbakar. Rodney Turner gave advice to the research team throughout this project. Olivier Lazar provided valuable assistance in reviewing and editing the final report.

Corinne Poroli wrote the analysis regarding the results of the face-to-face interviews.

Philippe Pailot wrote the chapter relating to the career and the career paths and the meaning of the results from the Markov chain were produced by Gérard François.

Fannie Blas ran the team and organized the bibliography.

Sophie Bodo and Annie Lepage enabled the manuscripts to be transformed into a document adapted to the readers.

8.4.   Scope Limitations

Our research objectives are as follows:

Getting information, statistical to the extent possible, on the progression of the project/program managers up to senior executive positions, even top management positions.

Establishing similarities and differences between the project managers and the senior executives.

Understanding why, if the similarities are strong, only a few project managers reach the top of the hierarchy of their organizations.

Determining which kind of actions can be defined and conducted in order to encourage this progression.

The results of the analysis, with the exception of the executives’ biographical data, come from executives and project/program managers’ statements. These statements are fundamental to us, as they are the basis of the hypotheses’ verifications. Of course, one has to know that some of the elements, which are self-declared, bear limitations in themselves compared with those elements that are objective or observed. However, the same is true for all the questionings made by interviews and questionnaires.

The second scope limitation concerns the relation between the data and some important research questions. One side of the research program relates to the career paths, and one to the two ways of observing them is the determination of their chronological evolution protocols.⁷ The available data coming from the SurveyMonkey is mainly related to the process of progression from one position to the next. Although we have a description of the successive positions occupied by the project/program managers, often from their first job to their current one, the data do not tell us whether this progression is within one or many organizations.

It was not possible in the time available to select a chronological approach,⁸ hence this research avenue stays open.

In the project/program managers’ sample, both in the interviews and in the web questionnaires, there is not a sufficient number of British respondents. It would have been interesting to compare them with the American and French project management cultures. This comparison direction leaves a research path open.

Finally, the analysis of the CEOs’ behaviors and opinions about project management and project managers is sufficient regarding the French population, but it could be more consistent for the U.S. population, and particularly those from the United Kingdom, if more CEO interviews were possible. This is a research path we are continuing.

Other limitations certainly exist and we thank our readers in advance for pointing them out to us. The life cycle of this research project is particularly interesting and could be an object of research in itself.

8.5.   Team Structure and Life Cycle of the Research Project

The two co-leaders of the research project were Pr. Jean-Pierre Debourse (France) (Lille School of Management), and Dr. Russell D. Archibald (USA), who have performed throughout the general revision of this report

The two other main researchers were Pr. J. Rodney Turner (UK), editor, International Project Management Journal, and Dr. Guru Prahbakar (UK), senior lecturer, West England Business School.

The other members of the research team were: Dr. J. M. Hazebroucq (France) (University of Dunkirk and Boulogne-on-Sea); Dr. C. Poroli (France) Lille School of Management; Dr. P. Pailot (France) Lille School of Management; Pr. Gérard François University of Lille II; and Fannie Blas (France) Lille School of Management.

C. Brédillet (France) Lille School of Management, editor of the Project Management Journal, participated at the beginning of the project in the relationship with the Project Management Institute, and welcomed the presentation of the project and of the Beta-test at the seventh international project workshop in Lille on August 20–24, 2007.

Alex S. Brown (USA), owner and president of Real Life Projects Ilc, joined the team six months after the project started, in order to take the entire responsibility for the web questionnaire based on the online SurveyMonkey software application package. His assistance was extremely valuable.

¹PMI Global Congress EMEA (2007) Budapest Hungary, 14–16 May 2005

²See, for example, R. D. Archibald, Managing High-Technology Programs and Projects, Third Edition, (New York: Wiley, 2003); Project Management Institute, People in Projects (Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute, 2001; J. K. Pinto, Power and Politics in Project Management (Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute, 1996); R. J. Turner, K. V. Grude, and L. Thurloway, The Project Manager as Change Agent: Leadership, Influence, and Negotiation (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1999); S. W. Flannes and G. Levin, Essential People Skills for Project Managers (Vienna, VA: Management Concepts Inc., 2005); Project Management Institue, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide, Fourth Edition (Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute, 2008); International Project Management Association, IPMA Competence Baseline (ICB) (Nijkerk, The Netherlands, 2008) and the AFITEP translation of ICB); Association of Project Management, APM Body of Knowledge, Fifth Edition, (Buckinghamshire, UK: Association of Project Management, 2006); Office of Government Commerce, PRINCE2® (Norwich, UK : Office of Government Commerce, 2006); D. I. Cleland and W. R. King, Handbook of Project Management (New York, John Wiley & Sons, 1997); J. Rodney Turner, The Handbook of Project-Based Management: Improving the Processes for Achieving Strategic Objectives (London: McGraw-Hill, 1999); J. Knutson, Project Management for Business Professionals: A Comprehensive Guide (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2001); J. R. Meredith and S. J. Mantel, Project Management: A Managerial Approach (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2003).

³Proposals encourage us to put the issues into two main parts of the questionnaire. A Likert scale is a category of psychological questionnaire allowing us to quantify attitudes.

⁴A snowball process consists in progressively constituting the sample to analyze according to the easiness of access to data. It does not have the same statistical reliability than a drawing of lots on a defined and known population. It is taken into account in our analysis. Here, data mainly but not exclusively come from nine sources: alumni from the master's degree in project management at the University of Lille and ESC Lille and from the master's degree in management, at ESC Lille.

⁵The distribution of these project managers will be shown in Chapter 6

⁶SAS software is a tool for statistical analysis and return results designed by the SAS Company. The version used is SAS® Analytics Pro (2008). SAS software is similar to SPSS.

⁷We should have added in each question regarding the successive positions: inside or outside of the organization. This is not an excuse but our questionnaire was already long.

⁸A chronological approach consists in taking a group of individuals and following their evolution over time (several years or decades). It is rarely adopted in management research although it is very rich.


Theoretical Foundations

(Note: Professor Philippe Paillot is the author of this chapter.)

9.1   Senior Executives and Project Manager Similarities and Differences

9.1.1   The Characteristics of Senior Executives

As suggested by Barabel and Meier (2006), the manager's job can be understood through the analysis of their roles (related to the requests of the organization) or their key skills needed to effectively play these roles.   Roles Typologies   Static Typologies   Classical approaches. Historically, the original concepts of the manager's roles are connected to Fayol (1916), Koontz and O'Donnell (1923), Mooney and Reiley (1931), Gulick (1937), and Barnard (1938). This school can be qualified as classical, since it considers the manager's work as a management process including planning, organizing, controlling, coordinating, and commanding; these principles can be compared to a support frame to managing process (Boisvert, 1980). In this regard, Fayol, after serving as a managing director in a French mining company for many years, is the first person to clearly express the definition of the general manager's role. The general manager:




commands, and


Mooney and Reiley (1931), both directors at General Motors, identified four major principles of organization:

Coordination principle—based on authority laid on moral rights.

Hierarchical principle—defining the lines of authority in the organization.

Functional principle—gathering specialized tasks within functions.

Staff and line principle—defining two types of authority: counseling and binding. This is a real contribution from these authors as compared to Fayol (1916).

Gulick (1937) introduced a sixth role (adding to the five listed in the previous paragraph) in breaking down the command function into two distinct activities: staff and management. Boisvert (1980, p. 41) summarized the logic model underlying Urwick's (1943) work as follows:

The classical school contribution to

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Ce părere au oamenii despre Project Managers as Senior Executives

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