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50 % technology outsourcing agreements have failed (Hall, 2003). Virtual team setting ' ... the level of familiarity with the product and the process technology. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Anant Mishra Adviser Kingshuk K.
Sinha Operations Management Science Carlson
School of Management University of Minnesota
Committee Rachna Shah, Geoffrey Maruyama ,
Debashish Mallick
Stage in dissertation research Will defend proposal in 5 months Currently involved in collecting qualitative data (case studies)
Dissertation title (tentative) Managing R D/Software Projects Across Alternative Work Design Arrangements
Academic Contribution Develop a conceptual understanding of the current work design landscape Identify critical project factors and their differential impact on project performance outcomes across different work design arrangements
Practical Contribution Provide guidance to project management across different work design arrangements
Research Question What are some of the project factors that affect project performance across different work design arrangements ?
Primary research methodology Cross sectional survey, cross case analysis
Unit of observation R D/Software Projects
  • Motivation
  • Dramatic changes in the practice of work
  • Work design transcends organizational,
    professional and country boundaries (Sinha
    and Van de Ven, 2005, p. 389).
  • Work design arrangements like off shoring and
    outsourcing becoming more like a Management
  • However, success from distributed work design
    has not been universal (Hinds and Mortensen,
  • 30 firms did not see any cost reduction
  • 50 technology outsourcing agreements have
    failed (Hall, 2003).

  • Motivation (Cont.)
  • Existing studies capture the whole phenomenon
  • distributed work under a single
    overarching term
  • virtual teams.

Virtual team setting
  • One size fits all approach to managing
    distributed work.
  • No distinction among different work design
  • Collocation
  • Outsourcing
  • Offshoring
  • Offshore Outsourcing

Motivation (contd)
So how can I effectively manage these different
work design arrangements ?
  • Our Focus
  • Taking a closer look at the individual dyads
    representing work design arrangements

Understand how factors such as task
characteristics and the task management style
affect performance outcomes across the different
work design arrangements.
  • Research context
  • R D/ Software Projects
  • 9 out of top 10 R D spenders have opened their
    newest R D location outsider their country
    (Booz Allen Hamilton study, 2005).
  • Threefold Increase in foreign R D spending
    by U.S based MNCs, from 5.2 billion in 1986 to
    14.1 billion in 1997 (U.S Dept. of Commerce
  • Distributed software development teams spread
    across multiple countries have almost become a
    ubiquitous phenomenon (Carmel, 1999)
  • On the increased dispersion of RD work,
    Birkinshaw et al. 2002 note it is a matter
    of some importance to decide how R D work
    should be configured and coordinated.

  • Why Projects ?
  • Typically, R D/Software development work
    takes place in the form
  • of projects.
  • Hence management of such work is founded on
    the principles. of
  • project management.
  • It is imperative to understand project
    management across different
  • work design settings.
  • Therefore our unit of observation is a project
  • Research Question
  • What is the effect of project characteristics
    and project
  • management style on project performance

Concept Definitions
  • Work Design Arrangements
  • Collocation Within Country, Within Firm
  • Outsourcing Within Country , Across Firm
  • Off shoring Across Country, Within Firm
  • Offshore Outsourcing Across Country, Across

  • Product Architecture Misalignment
  • Product architecture (Ulrich 1995, Fixson 2005)
    encompasses knowledge about
  • No of components of a product
  • How they work together , are built and
  • Product architecture knowledge is typically
    embedded in the communication
  • patterns of team members in development
    project (Sosa et al. 2004).
  • When two components share a design interface,
    team members developing
  • these components are expected extensively
    share component design and
  • functionality information
  • As such, if information exchange is hampered
    between team members
  • sharing a design interfaces, product
    architecture mis-alignment occurs.
  • Explicit link between product architecture and
    organizational structure has been largely
    neglected (Krishnan and Ulrich 2001, Sosa et al.

  • Project Performance
  • Measures the extent to which a project achieves
    its performance objectives.
  • The central objectives of an R D project
    typically involve achieving
  • (Tatikonda and Rosenthal 2000 Smith and
    Reinertsen, 1998)
  • a certain degree of technical performance (the
    technical functionality
  • and the quality of the product),
  • developing a product within the allocated R
    D budget and,
  • lower development times
  • These objectives are set in place by the start of
    project, and their achievement is evaluated at
    the end of project.

  • Project characteristics
  • Two commonly used project characteristics in
    product development and the project management
    literature (Tatikonda and Rosenthal,
    2000 Shenhar and Dvir, 2003)
  • Technological Uncertainty
  • Represents the level of familiarity with the
    product and the process technology.
  • Project Complexity
  • Refers to the degree of interdependence or
    interaction between the constituent tasks of a

  • Hypothesis 1 Technological uncertainty
  • Information processing needs increase with
    technological uncertainty increases.
  • Increased distance complicates this information
  • Both cultural and language differences increase
    in a progressive fashion
  • Misinterpretations increase
  • In a recent Accenture study , two-thirds of 200
    US business executives said that miscommunication
    arising from cultural differences has caused
    problems when outsourcing offshore. Different
    communication styles were identified as the key
    factor that causes problems between onshore and
    offshore workers, by over three-quarters (76 per
    cent) of the managers questioned.

Hypothesis 1 In projects with low product
architecture mis-alignment, technological
uncertainty varies from high to low as work
design arrangement varies from collocation
towards outsourcing, offshoring and offshore
outsourcing, in that order.
  • Hypothesis 2 Project Complexity
  • Project complexity increases overall task
    complexity (Tatikonda and
    Rosenthal, 2000)
  • Need for management control and coordination to
    manage the complex dependencies increases
  • Increasing need for information processing and
    frequent communication among team members in a
    synchronous, real time manner performing highly
    dependent tasks.
  • Agile and Extreme Programming movements suggest
    pair programming, in which programmers share
    desks so that they can see each and understand
    the subtleties of design and debugging.

Hypothesis 2 In projects with low product
architecture mis-alignment, project
complexity varies from high to low as work design
arrangement varies from collocation towards
outsourcing, offshoring and offshore
outsourcing, in that order.
  • Project Management Style
  • Two polarizing project management styles
  • Planned or formal management style
  • Extensive planning and calculated implementation
    as well as a methodological approach to expanding
    project knowledge (e.g. Clark and Fujimoto, 1991)
  • Emergent or flexible management style
  • The emergent management style on the other hand
    thrives in facilitating a team members
    creativity, flexibility and improvisation.

  • Hypothesis 3 Project Management Style
  • Any team member can be considered a repository of
    Implicit and Explicit knowledge
  • Use of norms and standard procedures helps
    convert implicit knowledge into explicit
  • Interactions across boundaries are inherently
  • A shared view of their task and strong, trusting
    relationships among each other (Maznevski, 1994)
    is required.
  • This can be developed by way of establishing a
    common language and procedure for communication
    through standards, protocols etc.

Hypothesis 3 In projects with low product
architecture mis-alignment, project
management style from a emergent style to a
planned style as work design arrangement
varies from collocation towards outsourcing,
offshoring and offshore outsourcing, in that
  • However While each of the I.Vs ( work design
    choice, project characterstics and project
    management style ) are essential, they are not
    sufficient individually to prevent Product
    Architecture mis-alignment

Need for a Configuration approach (Sinha and Van
de Ven, 2005) Managers typically encounter
conflicting demands among context, design and
outcomes in their work system. Realistic choices
in work design , of course are always limited by
the feasible alternatives available to decision
makers (p.389)
A configuration approach attempts to explain how
a work system is designed from the interaction of
its constituent elements taken together as a
whole instead of adopting a reductionist attitude
Fit represents a set of gestalts or feasible
sets of equally effective patterns of work
design choice, project characteristics and the
project management style
  • Hypothesis 4 Fit between work design
    arrangements, project characteristics and project
    management style is negatively associated with
    product architecture mis-alignment.
  • Hypothesis 5 Product architecture mis-alignment
    is negatively associated with project performance.

Proposed Steps in Research Design Step 1 Carry
out case studies of R D/Software projects in
each of the work design choices. Substantiate a
priori constructs and identify newer
constructs. Currently interviewing project
managers and team members in a Fortune 500 firm
working on both offshoring and offshore-outsourcin
g projects ( embedded software development) with
India. Step 2 Finalize the conceptual framework
for testing In process Step 3 Development
of a preliminary measurement instrument and pilot
testing Unit of analysis Project (
Software Development / R D) Unit of observation
Project Managers, team members
Adapt measures for constructs from existing
studies Technological uncertainty - Song and
Montoya-Weiss (2001), Nidumolu
(1995) Project Complexity -
Tatikonda and Rosenthal (2000) Project Management
Style - Tatikonda and Rosenthal (2000) Work
Design Choice - Categorical
Variable Project Performance - Smith
and Reinerstein, Tatikonda and
Rosenthal Product Architecture Mis-alignment
developed by self
Step 4 Large Scale Data collection and test
for internal consistency (reliability using
Cronbachs alpha ,convergent validity and
discriminant validity)
Step 5 Test the proposed relationships Hypothese
s 1-3 Categorize project architecture
mis-alignment into high and low Compare means of
independent variables For the hypotheses to hold,
one would expect to see a clearly decreasing
trend in the means of I.V moving across from
collocation to offshore-outsourcing. Hypothesis
4 Categorize I.Vs into two categories (High ,
Low) . Total no of theoretical distinct pattern
would be 32 (4 work design choices 2
categories of technological uncertainty 2
categories of technological complexity 2
categories of project management
style Incongruent combinations should be observed
less frequently. Compute average project
architecture mis-alignment for projects in each
combination and compare. Hypothesis 5 Regress
Project performance on Project Architecture
  • Potential Contributions
  • A rigorous conceptual understanding of the
    various factors that result in effective work
    design choices
  • Blend project management literature with
    distributed organization of work.
  • Addresses the relative lack of literature in OM
    on distributed work design.

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