The dynamics of repairing multi-project control practice: a project governance viewpoint

Teemu Laine*, Tuomas Korhonen, Petri Suomala

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    20 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper examines the development of enabling control practice, within flexible project governance. Enabling control would interactively help reach the objectives set for multi-project new product development (NPD) management and, especially support the different managerial actors involved. Previous research does not adequately cover the dynamics and interplay between different managerial actors in developing management control for multi-project NPD. This paper responds to the question: How can actors interactively repair multi-project control practice within project governance? The paper takes advantage of a longitudinal action research endeavor (2009-2014), featuring research interventions on developing project control in subsequent NPD projects. The researchers collected empirical data from 130 documented project meetings, workshops, and interactions, and the data were qualitatively analyzed to identify critical steps in multi-project control practice repair. First, as a contribution to the project management literature, we show how the repair effort, as organizational interplay, may effectively, and temporarily or permanently repair inoperative NPD control practice in subsequent projects. Second, we contribute to the literature on enabling control by showing how repairing multi-project control system can be a starting point for centralized control repair, requiring commitment from different management levels. Third, by bridging the two research areas, we identify possibilities for further research.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)405-418
    Number of pages14
    JournalInternational Journal of Project Management
    Issue number7
    Early online date1 Jan 2020
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • Action research
    • Control
    • Enabling control
    • Interventionist research
    • Management accounting
    • Multi-project management
    • New product development
    • Project governance
    • Repair


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