Published Research

PMI has sponsored research projects since 1997. Since then, many of these projects have become research monographs, articles and white papers, highlighting methodology, PMOs, complexity and many other topics.

Featured Published Research


Innovation Champions in Infrastructure Megaprojects in the United Kingdom

By Natalya Sergeeva

This research project seeks to address the innovation paradox in megaprojects: On the one hand, megaprojects offer a one-off opportunity to invest in innovations and cutting-edge technologies; on the other hand, innovation champions have limited time to innovate in the process of continuous changes, leaving leadership weak. The research question is: What are the nature and role of innovation champions in the settings of megaprojects?


Maximizing Organizational Resilience Under Institutional Complexity in Interorganizational Projects

By Linzhuo Wang, Fangwei Zhu, and Ralf Müller

Contemporary large-scale projects are challenging, with external and internal complexities that create uncertainty. In addition, multiple external stakeholders' perspectives, motivations, and project goals further complicate possible project outcomes. This empirical study uses mix-methods research to uncover how to improve organizational resilience by arguing for the design of governance systems of collaborative relationships. This research adds to the literature by broadening the understanding of resiliency in a dynamic stakeholder environment. Furthermore, this pragmatic approach offers a theoretical framework for the most complex large-scale projects.

Equality, Diversity, and Inclusiveness in the Field of Project Management: Theoretical Relationships and Managerial Tool

By Paul Gardiner, Rami Alkhudary, and Marie Druon

This is a systematic literature review (SLR) to understand the impact of equality, diversity, and inclusiveness (EDI) on performance and creativity in he workplace within project-based organizations (PBOs). The report finds that most EDI research in the literature concerns the construction (37%) and information technology (41%) sectors and uses quantitative methodological techniques (55%). Overall, the findings support the proposition that PBOs can improve team and project performance by increasing equality, promoting diversity, and maintaining a healthy balance of inclusiveness in the workplace.

Practice-Based Study of Project Portfolio Management and Strategic Alignment in the Construction Sector

By Shankar Sankaran, PhD, PMP; Stewart Clegg, PhD, DPhil, DLitt; Catherine Killen, PhD; Jeffrey Scales, PhD; Hedley Smyth, PhD; and Wu Yanga

Although the construction sector is strongly project based and represents a major segment of the global economy (13% of GDP US$10 trillion in 2018 projected o US$14 trillion by 2025), little is known about whether and how PPM can provide benefits in this important sector. We investigated approaches to strategic alignment and PPM through inquiring into project-based practices of organizations in the construction sector. Our aim was to improve understanding of how construction contracting firms manage and align their project portfolio with an overall strategy.

Governance of Interorganizational Project Networks

By Ralf Müller, DBA, MBA, PMP

This project suggests a shift in perspective in the study of interorganizational networks from the temporary organization, that is, a project, to a semipermanent network of organizations and their joint projects.

Digitalization as a Game Changer 

By Christof Kier, MSc and Martina Huemann, PhD

This research work aims to discuss contemporary project stakeholder engagement and examines how digitalization shapes and affects the field.


Knowing When to Embrace Ambiguity and When to Fear It

By Anna Wiewiora and Peter O'Connor
This report explores how project managers experience and deal with ambiguous situations in their projects.

Training Manual for Managing Complexities and Ambiguities in Projects

By Anna Wiewiora and Peter O'Connor

This is a practical manual that provides tools, recommendations, and actionable strategies to assist project managers (PMs) in dealing with complexities and ambiguities in their projects.

Extending Project Practices for the Future of the Profession

By Vedran Zerjav, PhD and Efrosyni Konstantinou, PhD
This report addresses the question of how project, program, and portfolio management (P3M) can be utilized and extended to deal with the climate crisis and other grand societal challenges.

Project Management as a Dynamic Collaborative Social Practice—Collaborative Innovation Revisited

By Roula Michaelides and Elena Antonacopoulou
This report presents the findings of a two-and-a-half year research project designed to address a critical priority in project management practice—how to cope with the simultaneity of multiple forms of complexity.


Reinventing Megaproject Delivery Models: The Rise of the Capable Client—The Supply Chain Architect

By Juliano Denicol, PhD
This research improves the understanding of the formation and evolution of megaproject client organizations, illustrating how the emerging temporary organizations design the supply chain architecture and the dynamics of the associated inter-organizational relationships.

Dynamics of New Business Creation
The Contribution of Project Management

By Prof. Dr. Alexander Kock, Prof. Dr. Hans Georg Gemünden, and Carsten Kaufmann
The aim of this research project was to explore how innovative firms create new growth paths, and how project management practices can contribute. In addressing this question, we wanted to use a new unit of analysis: sequences of projects, in which two or more consecutive projects build on one another.

Digital Transformations of Traditional PBOs and Modern PNWs: Changing Management Practices in Project Society (Final Report)

By Timo Braun, Eskil Ekstedt, Rolf A. Lundin, and Jörg Sydow
Digitalization is a phenomenon occurring across sectors and nations, affecting technical processes, organizational forms, and managerial practices. Project management, which is often used as an agent for change, plays a significant role in driving and implementing digital transformation. In today's project society, several distinct forms of project organizing are common. Among them are: (1) project-based organizations (PBOs), which are common in traditional sectors like construction, and (2) project networks (PNWs), the most favorable form of project organizing in modern service and creative industries.


A Systematic Literature Review: The Front End of Projects

by Terry Williams, Hang Vo, Andrew Edkins, and Knut Samset
This report describes the results of a detailed, comprehensive, systematic literature survey on the front end of a project, commissioned by the Project Management Institute (PMI). It is the result of a collaborative project conducted by academics from University College London, UK, the University of Hull, UK, and the NUST Concept Research Program based at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

The Management of Benefits

by Monique Aubry, PhD; Viviane Sergi, PhD; and Sanaa El Boukri, Doctoral Student
Questions pertaining to performance are crucial in any organizational context. Moreover, in the current economic climate marked by instability, performance, in general, has been attracting the attention of a number of scholars. Projects are no exception in this trend and their impact on organizational performance has been of major interest in management research.

Building Project Management Capabilities with Knowledge Networks

by Chivonne Algeo, PhD; Henry Linger, PhD; Katrina Pugh, MS/MBA; and Zaheeruddin Asif, PhD
This final report presents the findings of our research project, led by the Principal Investigator, Associate Professor Chivonne Algeo, and the other investigators, Associate Professor Henry Linger (Monash University) and Katrina Pugh (Columbia University), with invaluable assistance from Dr. Zaheer Asif


by Prof. Dr. Martina Huemann; Prof. Dr. Anne Keegan; and Dr. Claudia Ringhofer
Career research highlights a number of important shifts in the last two decades. The most important has been the shift from organization-bounded to boundaryless careers (Arthur & Rousseau, 1996). Authors highlight the importance of career patterns involving "moves across the boundaries of separate employers" (p. 6), the idea that everyone has a career, and the importance of subjective perceptions and personal discovery as key career concepts (Ellig & Thatchenkery, 2001). There has also been growing interest in novel career patterns and dynamic and temporal aspects of careers for all employees challenging a focus on organization-bounded aspects of career development for higher level employees in vertically integrated organizations.

Judgment and Decision Making in Managing IT Project Risk

by Professor Mark Keil and Assistant Prof Jong Seok Lee
In this research project, we focused on one of the core issues associated with information technology (IT) project management, namely the tendency to inadequately manage the risks associated with such projects.

Governance of Innovation in Portfolios, Programs, and Projects

by Michael Knapp, PhD; Catherine P. Killen, PhD; Chris Stevens, PhD; and Shankar Sankaran, PhD, PMP
The importance of governance in portfolios, programs, and projects is reflected in part by the development of standards for governance, as well as by the increasing attention being paid to governance in management/academic literature and in practice.


Multilevel Learning in the Project-Based Context

By Anna Wiewiora, Artemis Chang, and Michelle Smidt
Project learning is a vital prerequisite for innovation as it directly contributes to project and organizational capability development. As more organizations become project-based, there is an emergent need to understand how these organizations can overcome challenges of disruptive learning cycles caused by project temporality and employee mobility.

Balancing Person-Centric and Team-Centric Leadership in Projects

By Professor Ralf Müller, DBA, MBA, PMP; Professor Nathalie Drouin, PhD; Professor Shankar Sankaran, PhD, MEng, PMP
This white paper explores person-centric and team-centric approaches to leadership in managing projects, and extends current research work on leadership by broadening the scope from person-centric to person-and-team-centric leadership.

Innovative Change and Productive Resistance in Interorganizational Projects

By Alfons van Marrewijk & Leonore van den Ende Vrije (Universiteit Amsterdam Department of Organization Sciences)
This white paper presents research on change and resistance in an interorganizational project (IOP) in the utility sector. Interorganizational change is a multilevel and multi-actor process of which resistance is an integral part.


Ambidexterity through Project Portfolio Management: Resolving Paradoxes in Organizations

By Yacoub Petro, PhD, CEng, PMP
Organizational ambidexterity is the ability of an organization to simultaneously explore the market and the surrounding environment, and exploit one’s own knowledge base and resources to improve performance and drive through sustainability. Due to ambidexterity’s importance in achieving simultaneous capabilities to efficiently manage today’s business challenges and at the same time to have the competency to cope with future business challenges and changes, as well as the role that organizational ambidexterity plays in improving business development, marketing activities, and project delivery, I opted to commission a research project, which was funded by PMI, to understand ambidexterity in greater detail—what drives it and what could influence it.

Agile Approaches on Large Projects in Large Organizations

By Brian Hobbs and Yvan Petit
Agile methods have taken software development by storm, but have been primarily applied to projects in what is referred to as the “agile sweet spot”, which consists of small collocated teams working on small, non-critical, green field, in-house software projects with stable architectures and simple governance rules. The use of agile methods on large projects in large organizations is a relatively new phenomenon for which clear guidance is not available.

MegaProject Organization and Performance: The Myth and Political Reality

By Nuno Gil; Colm Lundrigan; Jeffrey K. Pinto; and Phanish Puranam
This report summarizes the insights of a three-year study on “megaprojects” – the project-based organizations purposely formed to develop capital-intensive, large-scale infrastructure systems. Our aim was to further our understanding of what form of organizing work a megaproject is and investigate the extent to which we could trace empirical regularities in the performance of megaprojects back to their organizational structure. Our central claim is that megaprojects are a meta-organization—a network of legally independent actors collaborating under an identifiable system-level goal. As with any meta-organization, megaprojects are guided by a “systems architect”, a designated leader who steers the organization in pursuit of a higher-order goal. In the case of megaprojects, the systems architect is the project promoter, the actor who had the grand idea and provides leadership. The promoter can be a solo actor, such as a public agency, a government, a private firm, or a coalition of actors.


The Practice of Project Management in Product Development: Insights from the Literature and Cases in High-Tech

By Antonie Jetter
The investigation is focused on a context that organizes all work in projects and has high levels of innovation: product development. The inquiry is focused on small and medium technology companies with manufactured products that manage incremental and highly innovative development projects within the same R&D organization. In these settings, projects fall into three categories (Cooper, 2011): (1) fundamental technology or platform efforts that are not yet focused at a product launch, but spawn multiple future new product projects; (2) maintenance projects for already-launched products, such as extensions, modifications, improvements, and cost reductions; and (3) so-called new product projects. The latter are “major, bold and innovative product developments” (Cooper, 2011, p. 289) aimed at the launch of differentiated products with compelling value propositions. Because of the breadth of projects, the studied R&D organizations provide an ideal setting to study the practice of adapting project management approaches to varying degrees of innovation. The study itself is inductive in nature. After a review of the pertinent literature, this paper presents three consecutive studies that cumulatively lead to the results. Each study informed the questions and analysis of the subsequent study. In total, 17 individuals from 12 different companies were interviewed. Interview results were analyzed by the authors, first for each study and then across studies.

Expert Judgment in Project Management: Narrowing the Theory-Practice Gap

By Paul Szwed
Expert judgment is a major source of information that can provide vital input to project managers, who must ensure that projects are completed successfully, on time, and on budget. Too often, however, companies lack detailed processes for finding and consulting with experts—making it hard to match the required know-how with the project at hand. In Expert Judgment in Project Management: Narrowing the Theory-Practice Gap, Paul S. Szwed provides research that will help project managers become more adept at using expert judgment effectively. The author explores the use of expertise in several sectors, including engineering, environmental management, medicine, political science, and space exploration. He then looks at the informal state of expert judgment and its underutilization in the management of projects. Szwed’s critical recommendations can help project managers improve the way they select, train, and work with experts to increase the odds of any project’s success.

Organizational Enablers for Project Governance

By Ralf Müller, DBA, MBA, PMP; Jingting Shao, PhD, MSc; and Sofia Pemsel, PhD, MSc
While corporate culture plays a significant role in the success of any corporation, governance and “governmentality” not only determine how business should be conducted, but also define the policies and procedures organizations follow to achieve business functions and goals. In their book, Organizational Enablers for Project Governance, Ralf Müller, Jingting Shao, and Sofia Pemsel examine the interaction of governance and governmentality in various types of companies and demonstrate how these factors drive business success and influence project work, efficiency, and profitability.

A Typology Framework for Virtual Teams

Based on research by Ann Ledwith, PhD, MBA, Ceng; and Padhraic Ludden Ind. Eng., MPM, PMP
This report aims to contribute to our understanding of virtual teams and project management by surveying the project management population to see if it is possible, using physical and soft attributes of virtual teams (defined from the academic literature), to empirically identify virtual project team typologies. Unlike previous research that has tended to focus on specific aspects or topics of virtual teams, this research provides a broad view of virtual project teams. Additionally, this study was conducted globally, across multiple companies and industry sectors, gathering information from practicing project managers.

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