Program group's discursive construction of context: A means to legitimize buck-passing

Jaana Näsänen*, Outi Vanharanta

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Research on program management has highlighted the need to understand the organizational and social context in which programs are inextricably embedded. In this paper, we explore how the members of a temporary program management group negotiate the scope of its activities through constructing a shared understanding of its operational context. The results of this study demonstrate the discursive patterns through which the program group (1) separates itself from the parent organization and (2) withdraws itself from the responsibility to implement. Through doing this, the program group legitimizes buck-passing to the management and hence limits the scope of its agency. The discursive patterns employed draw on the organizational context in which the program group operates. With this qualitative study we complement earlier work on program management through deepening the understanding of context by viewing it as a product of social construction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1672-1686
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Project Management
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Agency
  • Change
  • Context
  • Discourse analysis
  • Meeting discussion
  • Program group
  • Temporality


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