Value for Whom, by Whom: investigating value constructs in non-profit project portfolios

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Project Management Research and Practice, 2016, 3 (July-Dec)
Issue Date:
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Structured abstract Synopsis This paper explores how value constructs are identified in a non-profit project portfolio. The study sheds light on the question of ‘value for whom, value by whom?’ by investigating the broad range of value constructs beyond financial value to better support portfolio decision making in multi-stakeholder environments. Methodology The research applies an in-depth case study methodology involving two inter-related organisations operating in a multiple project environment. The findings draw from in-depth interviews, field observations and organisational artefacts. Triangulation is achieved through the different data collection and analysis methodologies. A thematic analysis of the data was conducted using a combination of manual and CAQDAS (QSR NVivo) approaches. Findings The findings illustrate the complexity of multiple stakeholders’ value perspectives in a non-profit project portfolio, and reveal how value understanding is built from many ‘micro-constructs’ of value emanating from a variety of stakeholders. A typology comprising seven value perspectives that aims to improve PPM decision making is proposed. Value This study is relevant to project portfolio management (PPM) and non-profit organisation (NPO) research in several ways. By studying how value is expressed and used to influence decisions in a NPO environment, deeper insights into the wide range of values at play in project portfolios are revealed. Value is an especially challenging area due to the often subjective, intangible and emotive aspects, particularly in projects managed by NPOs. The study makes contributions to research methodology by illustrating how case studies can be analysed to draw out multiple stakeholder perceptions and input. Educators and researchers may find the insights useful as they are able to draw on real world practice-based examples of value construction. For practitioners, educators and researchers, the typology of seven value perspectives aims to improve the recognition of these value perspectives to help organisations anticipate, probe and better understand the full range of value to support communication, people management and PPM decision making in multi-stakeholder environments. Type: Empirical qualitative research (original research paper)
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