Too much of a good thing? The impacts of project management office (PMO) characteristics, social capital & culture on PMO performance
Barthol, Suanne M.
University of Wisconsin--Whitewater
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Companies continue to invest in project management approaches as they increase the likelihood of project success, help advance firm strategies and value, and thereby increase competitive advantage. Increasingly, mature organizations are investing in project management offices (PMOs) to streamline managing of projects and to avoid pitfalls and failures in project management. However, if PMOs are touted as the solution to the project failure problem, then why are the overall project results still so dismal? To address this research problem, this dissertation evaluated PMO performance using social capital theory by theorizing and testing the impacts of social capital from both linear and non-linear perspectives. Further, antecedent constructs, namely PMO role, locus of control and PMO structure, were hypothesized to have differential impacts on PMO social capital. Finally, this study utilized organizational culture theory to hypothesize that organizational culture has a moderating influence on the relationship between social capital and PMO performance. The study was empirically validated using 209 completed surveys of active PMO participants. Structural equation modeling using partial least squares (PLS) was used to test the hypothesis. The study findings revealed that social capital has both a linear and an inverted curvilinear effect on PMO performance. The aforementioned antecedents contribute to the creation of social capital, and the evaluation of social capital's distinct dimensions provides valuable insight into the impact on PMO performance. Additionally, the study findings also showed that culture negatively moderates the effect of social capital on PMO performance. These findings inform the extant literature on PMOs by shifting focus from the decision choices and boundary conditions of the PMO to its value proposition. This dissertation empirically validates that there exists an optimum level of social capital in driving PMO performance, providing a divergent perspective to the typical positive linear effects associated with social capital. The study also offers an alternative perspective on organizational culture and its impact on PMO performance. Findings from this dissertation also have implications for practitioners, as they highlight the importance of PMO structure, control, and social capital in achieving superior PMO performance.
Social capital (Sociology)