Change program initiation: Defining and managing the program–organization boundary (Lehtonen & Martinsuo, 2008)

Program initiation boundaries

Lehtonen, Päivi; Martinsuo, Miia: Change program initiation – Defining and managing the program–organization boundary; in: International Journal of Project Managment, Vol. 26 (2008), pp. 21-29.

Lehtonen & Martinsuo analyse change programs from a social perspective. Therefore programs are characterised as complex temporary organisations in an uncertain, dynamic context. The authors study the boundaries of change programs and identify boundary spanning activities and actors. Their research results show the need of each program to run through several iterative cycles of integration with and isolation from the parent organization during the project initiation phase. Actors (i.e. people) on the project define and shape the boundary, while also representing and legitimising the program. In further interactions with the parent company these actors scout for information, negotiate, ensure continuity, and guard & isolate themselves. Such interaction happens on an inidivdual level rather than on a team level. The organisation’s middle managers and the project’s central managers are the key interaction partners.

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