Perceived Managerial Functions in the Front-End of Innovation

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Volume Title
Factories | A1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä
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International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Volume 9, Issue 2
Purpose: Exploring managerial functions and related activities of inexperienced projectmanagers in the front-end of the innovation process (FEI). Design/methodology/approach: Fifteen student project managers were interviewed while they were engaged in the front-end phase of their respective 8-month projects. 757 interview transcript segments on their perceptions of managerial functions were categorized based on thematic similarity of content.Findings: Four major managerial functions emerged: providing structural support, coordinating and acting as a link, empowering the team, and encouraging and providing social support. Out of these, traditional task-oriented managerial functions were emphasized. Research limitations/implications: Although limited by the small amount of participants in a university setting, the results suggest that task-oriented managerial functions are dominant even in the FEI for inexperienced project managers. More research is needed to understand the antecedents and consequences of such task- dominance, and whether it persists as more experience is accrued. On the other hand, domain knowledge seemed to play a smaller role than indicated by previous research. Practical implications: Project managers should pay attention to creating structure in the uncertain front-end phase. Swift familiarization with the capabilities and practices of each team member cannot be overemphasized, as otherwise the heterogeneity of the team might become a limitation rather than asset. On the other hand, domain experience of the manager may not be necessary in the FEI. Originality/value: The study addresses the gap in previous research on managerial functions specifically in the FEI. Task-oriented managerial functions emerged as way of novice project managers attempting to deal with the fluctuating contingencies in order to foster innovation.
front-end of innovation, project management, managerial functions, managerial activities, experience
Other note
Rekonen, Satu & Bjorklund, Tua A. 2016. Perceived Managerial Functions in the Front-End of Innovation. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business. Volume 9, Issue 2. 18. DOI: DOI 10.1108/IJMPB-03-2015-0024.