The issues of project organization and control

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Human and technical difficulties are two characteristics of sensitive projects (D'Herbemont et al 1998).This means that project's success or otherwise are based on the human factor in play, complexity involved and the technicalities in place. Sensitive projects tend to introduce changes, both to technicalities and human behaviour. These changes tend to make the team players allies or antagonists. The case study is as given below.

Hazzel Technologies is a vendor engineering company, involved in the supply of field goods and services to their clients in many parts of the country. Around 80% (1200) of their 1500 staffs are out of base, working for clients. Incentives were introduced to encourage staffs that are out of base, these include Per-diem ($30 daily), hotel allowance ($40 daily) and transportation allowance ($200 monthly).

Hazzel Technologies later considered opening a branch office in another town, and to convert the office base of about 70% (840) of its 1200 outstation staffs. After sending mails to the affected staffs, intimating them of the change, there was a backlash of quality of services to clients because of the antagonism of the affected staffs to the project objectives. Appendix A gave a detailed description of Hazzel Technologies and its organisation.

Based on the fact that Hazzel Technologies has clear focus on quality, as a strategy of breaking into the saturated market, it uses matrix structure, a result oriented approach. The project manager inheriting this structure, decided to move to the network structure, which aids high level management implementation, organisational learning, conflict resolution, negotiation and transformational leadership in dealing with sensitive projects.

In implementing sensitive project, the key component of managerial approach, is identification of allies and formation of alliances through formation of organisational structure to support the alliances and allies. This is agreeing with D'Herbemont et al, when he argued that

"The successful implementation of a sensitive project is as much about changing the players as it is about changing how they act". (D'Herbemont et al, 1998, p.17).

1.1 Aim

The main aim of this report is to apply a more efficient organizational structure and high level management system for faster solutions to conflicts.

1.2 Objectives:

To review the existing transactional organizational structure regarding its advantages and disadvantages and how it deals with conflicts.

Propose a realistic approach on how the project manager can move from the mentioned transactional structure to a more transformational structure.

To identify how the transformational structure will allow the implementation of a high level management system in supporting organizational learning of the project team.

To identify how the transformational structure in terms of negotiation and leadership skills will enhance faster responses to conflicts.

1.4 Assumptions:

The project is 30% complete on the basis of time when the project manager inherited it.

There is a high level (percentage) of antagonism among those working outside the base

It is assumed that the company is using matrix structure

2.0 Organizational Structure

The organizational structure of a company is basically a hierarchical concept of subordination of entities that collaborate and contribute to realise the aim and objectives of the company. This underscores the fact that the structure of an organization or project will determine the way it operates and performs.

According to Moore (2009), the structure of an organization or a project may be different from just knowing who does what in the company and the relationships between primary stakeholders and the company environments.

It is incumbent on the Project Manager to create an organisational structure that

Encourages employees to work hard and develop supportive work attitudes.

Encourages groups to transform into team.

There are many ways an organisation or project can be structured and each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Hazzel Technologies was operating the Matrix Structure when the Project Manager inherited the project.

2.1 Matrix Structure

Pride, Hughes and Kapoor (2009) stated that the Matrix structure is a form of structure that simultaneously group employees in two ways; by the project team they are working on and by the function of which they are a member of. This combination enables the Project Manager to control what the individuals and groups in the project do, how they do it and when they do it (Moore 2009). The Functional manager however assigns members from his functional unit to the project. This makes the employees' report to both their functional managers and the Project Manager as in Hazzel Technologies.

2.1.1 Advantages of the Matrix Structure

The advantages of using the Matrix organisation structure according to Magee (2007) and Pride, Hughes and Kapoor (2009) are

Information is more easily shared across functions and the workload shifts faster because employees are not isolated into internal cliques.

The Matrix Structure increases the knowledge base of employees because they are not focused on one function.

The level of bureaucracy is reduced; response to internal and external demand is high.

The Matrix Structure encourages "responsibility without authority" which helps to find solutions to problems and contribute as stakeholders of the project.

The Matrix Structure adds flexibility, increases productivity, morale, experience, development, creativity and innovation of employees because of the variety of jobs they do.

2.2.2 Disadvantages of the Matrix Structure

The advantages of using the Matrix organisation structure according to Kerzner (2009) and Pride, Hughes and Kapoor (2009) are

The fact that employees in the organisation work according to their functions and project lines causes the "two-boss" problem as there is confusion about who to report to or who is in charge.

Project teams may take longer time to resolve conflicts and ambiguities. These conflicts and ambiguities can increase the feeling of stress amongst employees.

There may be limited opportunity for promotion because most movement is lateral from team to team; not vertical to upper management positions.

The Matrix Structure may be more expensive to maintain because more managers and support staff maybe needed.

Personality clashes, Poor communication, undefined individual roles, unclear responsibilities and finding ways to reward individuals and team performance simultaneously are the bane of the Matrix structure implementation.

Based on the disadvantages of the Matrix structure, the next section will now address how the Project Manager will realistically move from the Matrix structure to a more transformational structure. According to Moore (2009), the Project Manager may need to define the organisational structure of the project rather than replicating that of the organisation.

3.0 Structure Transition

Moore (2002 p.119) stated that "the changing nature of project organization structures as being an essentially slow process happening over the duration of many projects".

Transactional structures tend to maintain this idea that information and knowledge do not differ and that the level of knowledge defines the level of power. The power within an organization can be a threat thus they establish policies such as hierarchical structures to reduce flow of information and consequently it limit the overall experience of the organization (Moore 2002).

On the other hand, transformational structures tend to appreciate differences between information and knowledge. This leads to more level authority and an increase in knowledge as the structure is less constrained and rigid (Moore 2002).

Moore (2002) argued that selecting an organizational form can be invariably a complicated task inasmuch as there is no certain structure appropriate for all project environments. In carrying out this significant duty, a project manager should consider the nature of both the project and organization to identify any specific characteristics or preferences such as the field of work or the cultural issues involved. After this, options (structures) are weighed and the most appropriate structure for the project is selected, otherwise known as optimization process.

An optimization procedure as defined by Meredith and Mantel (1995) consists of the following steps:

Determining the kind of work that must be accomplished and identifying the key objectives, initial deliverables, and responsible individuals or units.

Determining the key tasks in order to achieve the identified objectives.

Organizing tasks in the form of work packages.

Determining the required subsystems for each work package and identifying the subsystems with close work interrelationships.

Listing any specific considerations with regard to the project and any previous experience of the organization and also any cultural preferences.

Selecting the optimum structure option based on information from each step.

3.1 Network Structure

Network structure is a transformational approach designed to address deficiencies of transactional structures (Moore 2002). Transactional structure in organizations often encourages competition for positions rather than work in a collaborative form to solve the organization's problems. Network structure is an appropriate method for dealing with complicated, sensitive and complex projects. Proactive approach to rapidly changing technology and environment require focus on sharing authority, responsibility and control between different departments and individuals instead of allocating different levels to different units (Moore 2002).

Network structure encourages equal distribution of responsibility and authority, as no unit is more important than the other. Within each unit, there is collaborative functionality. The contribution of network structure to sensitive projects such as the case in Hazzel Technologies is that no special group of people regardless their expertise and position is preferred to others; which enables the parent organization to be more flexible when changes are needed. Consequently accommodating change is achieved more rapidly with less disruption in ongoing projects. The boundaries within an efficient network structure should be weak to ensure continuous information flow between all parts; this will enable learning process.

3.2 Advantages of Network Structure

The main advantages of network structure are stated as follows:

Encouraging team work, collaborative work and cooperation rather than a competitive environment

Ability to rapidly accommodate changes in technology or environment in an efficient way

Appropriate for dealing with diverse, complex and dynamic factors which may be internal or external to the parent organisation

Flexible when any rearrangements or changes are needed

Particular focus on sharing responsibility, authority and control amongst units and individuals

Facilitating effective information flow and communication between different project teams

4.0 High Level Management System

High level management system bothers on the decision-making process, the level of expertise, with respect to problem solving. The system seeks to improve the relationship between decision-making and level of expertise and not necessarily on the level of hierarchy. It is important to point out the influence of stability of process in decision-making across organisations, which leads to two polar systems; Mechanistic and Organic systems (Mullins 2007).

In the context of this report, organic system is of more importance as it deals with rapid changing environment, against the traditional mechanistic system, which deals with established process and stable conditions. The importance of the organic system lies in the decision making authority, though it recognizes level of seniority and expertise, it encourages the placement of authority on the most informed and capable as agreed by consensus (Handel 2003).

The fluid nature of organic system is in line with transformational leadership approach to issues management; it tackles problems based on Sapiential approach (Knowledge based authority), which requires matured minds (Moore 2002).This "matured minds" supports the argument above about placing the authority in the most informed and capable personnel. High level management system encourages equating decision making to level of maturity.

The transformational structure will aid the project manager in asserting high level management style with regard:

To understand the importance of sapiential approach rather than positional consideration in making decisions

To open up access to management system based on expertise and abilities rather than position.

To relate the complexity of the decision to be made with the maturity of authority (with reference to high level management) instead of organizations hierarchy.

To consider the maturity of an individual with relation to problem solving decisions.

4.1 Relevance of Leadership Skills

Leadership is defined as a means of task definition and achievement, by building and coordinating a team and satisfying the team member's individual needs (Reiss 1995).

Leadership helps to maintain the mainstream of the project objectives by acting as the bridge between individual's desire and projects aim. A good leader has the capacity to make group develop to a team and also coordinate them into achieving what they would ordinarily not achieve.

A good leader should possess all but not limited to the following (Moore 2009, unpublished lecture notes)

Desire for achievement: This can be seen by their persistence, initiation and ambition in what they do.

Hunger for leadership: Good leaders desire to lead by showing willingness to accept responsibility.

Integrity and Honesty: This attracts followers respect and readiness to work.

Self-confidence: Followers want assurance they are on track for success, and they look up to the leader for self confidence.

Intelligence: A good leader needs the intelligence to gather and synthesize the large amount of information he faces.

On the job knowledge: A good leader need be knowledgeable in the field so as to give the right decision and inspire the members.

4.2 Organisational Learning

Organisations need to learn and document knowledge for future reference. Organisations that fail to learn may lose valuable experiences gained before. Organisational learning helps improve organisation's dynamism in applying new ways to problem solving and meeting day-to-day challenges (Jackson and Baker 2005). Organisational learning is more than the respective workers skills and knowledge, organisation need to also learn and store knowledge the same way individuals learn and store knowledge.

In the context of this report, the project will offer the company the chance to learn ways of balancing both organisational needs and that of the team members, how best to touch on the social aspect of member's life without destabilising team synergy. Organisational learning is composed of four inter-related processes, with no order of occurrence. Jackson and Baker (2005) identified the four processes as

Information acquisition

Interpretation

Distribution and

Storage of the information.

According to Jackson and Baker (2005), the four processes need to be carried out before the organisation can lay claim to any knowledge.

In differentiating between learning and change in organisations, Senge (1991) identified 5 key signs of organisations that are involved in learning:

The vision of the future and the learning outcome are shared and agreed by the members.

Old procedures are challenged by the members with view of introducing changes.

There are no barriers to communication between members.

Organisational shared vision supersedes individual's ambition in the pursuit of company's goal.

Members see the organisation's processes as a system of interrelationships.

4.3 Conflict Resolution and Negotiation

Conflict is a disagreement or struggle and come in both negative and positive ways. Though there are positive conflicts, more often than not, conflicts are seen as negatives which can lead to high-risk-behaviour if not controlled (Wandberg 2001). Before going into conflict resolution, the project manager should identify the level of antagonism of the players/group; Figure 1 shows the measurement of antagonism.

Figure 1: Measure of Antagonism

Conflict resolution tends to reduce the effect of negative conflicts and achieving a no violence outcome from the conflict. To resolve a conflict, it is good the project manager analyze it to understand its structure. This will aid in deciding the best possible way to resolve it successfully (Dana 2001). Dana (2001) identified interdependency of the parties to succeed, groups with interest on how the conflict is resolved as well as constituency of representatives as factors of successful resolution.

The project manager need to understand the key element of negotiation; achieving a win situation for all parties, by identifying the ideal and fallback position of each party. The project manager should try and win the confidence of the parties by:

Separating the problem from the people (avoid stereotyping).

Pay attention to interest rather than position (try a little empathy).

Explore all possible options to achieve the best agreement.

Make use of objective criteria.

Conclusion

Hazzel Technologies is a customer oriented organization with clear focus on customer satisfaction. To meet up with that focus, Hazzel Technologies proposed to establish another office close to its customers in another. The project hit a brick when some members were told that they will lose their benefits because their base will be changed, they showed antagonism to the said project, which in turn affected the quality of service to its customer.

After inheriting the project after 30% complete, the project manager applied high level management, negotiation and transformational leadership style to reduce the sensitivity of the project for successful completion.

APPENDIX A: BACKGROUND HISTORY OF HAZZEL TECHNOLOGIES

Company H, is a vendor engineering company, involved in the supply of field goods and services to their clients in many parts of the country. Around 80% (1200) of their 1500 staffs are out of base, working for clients. Because of the inconvenience of the field work, company H introduced some incentives, for staffs that are out of base. These incentives include Per-diem ($30 daily), hotel allowance ($40 daily) and transportation allowance ($200 monthly).

This arrangement though expensive, has helped company H in breaking into the already saturated market, by applying fast response approach to customer related issues. But with advent of recession, company H decided to cut down on cost. Company H considered opening a branch office in another town, and to also convert the office base of about 70% (840) of its 1200 outstation staffs. This project is borne out of the fact that most of its clients also have a regional office in the proposed branch office location; they reasoned that the projects communication process will be faster, thereby improving on the quality of service to customers. Cost reduction will also be achieved, by cutting down the number of outstation staffs.

The company proposed a 6 months project: Establish a second office and convert the office base of the affected staff. The project has two phases, office establishment and employees conversion. Six weeks later, the office was ready for the second phase of the project; conversion of employees base. Because of the financial effects of the proposed project on them, the affected staffs were against the project.

After sending mails to the affected staffs, intimating them of the change, there was a backlash from the affected staffs; who felt they are going to lose all the benefits mentioned above if the project is implemented.

Their attitude towards the company's projects changed their response to customer issues and also their level of enthusiasm changed and this affected the quality of services offered to clients.

Worthy of note is also the fact that Hazzel technologies is a new entrant in the sector, and are on the look-out for customers, one of the basic strategies is to offer unrivalled services to customers, so as to win their trust, this the staffs are aware of and has been working towards that goal based on shared ideology.

Appendix B: Reflective Assessment of EZUE JUDE CHIBUZOR

0907097

Project: Sensitive Project: Change of staff Base of Hazzel Technologies

Participants: MEHRAN FARD, JUDE EZUE, RICHARD EKANEM, KOFI OGHENEKEVWE

Due Date: JANUARY 5TH 2009

My contribution to the TEAM success is as follows (Self Assessment):

I attended all the team six meetings and also the meeting with module coordinator, I actively participated in them all. I was actively involved in the selection of the sensitive project. Thereafter I wrote the introduction of the project, stating the project's data and the nature of the sensitivity.

After meeting severally and putting heads together, we drew up the project outline and shared it among ourselves. I wrote

High management system

Relevance of leadership skill

Organisational Learning and

Conflict Resolution and Negotiation

The team pulled all resources together and discussed all the topics before sharing them to everyone to do.

Peer Assessment

MEHRAN FARD

Mehran was actively involved in all the teams six meeting s and the discussion with the module coordinator. He showed good analytical prowess and a good team member. His sense of judgement is sound and also i appreciate his enthusiasm.

Mehran contributed immensely towards the course work success by writing on

Structure transition

Network structure and

Advantages of network structure

Kofi

Kofi was actively involved in all six meetings and actively participated in the team activities. He is meticulous and gives good judgement to all issues discussed. He also showed good organisational skill in the team activities.

Kofi contributed to the team's success in the area of

organisational structures

Matrix Structure

disadvantages and advantages of matrix organisational structure

Richard Ekanem

Richard was active in all six meetings held by the teams. He is good to work with, and showed good enthusiasm to team issues. He may need to work on how to maintain his level of enthusiasm longer.

Richard contributed to the teams discussion and also contributed in

Assumptions

Considerations

constraints and

conclusion

Generally the team's cooperation was good and everyone participated well to the course work.

Signed

Ezue Jude

4/01/2010

Appendix C: Reflective Assessment for KOFI OGHENEKEVWE

Project: SENSITIVE PROJECTS

Participants: MEHRAN FARD, JUDE EZUE, RICHARD EKANEM, KOFI OGHENEKEVWE

Due Date: JANUARY 5TH 2009

What was interesting in this project was when the initial project brief was first released by the

Coordinator, David Moore and Teams were formed and asked to come up with a Sensitive project.

Immediately my Team and I came up with different options. After careful analysis and comparison of the degree of sensitivity involved in each of the options, we finally settled for one of the options. Thereafter we met and discussed with the course coordinator who approved the project and we were able to kick start the project.

The Project afforded me the opportunity to understand sensitivity in projects, the cause of such sensitivity, the existence of allies and antagonists and the impacts of conflicts in the project.

One interesting thing about this activity is the effect the organization of the team has. The mixed racial group contributed to the success of the project.

I participated in the six group meetings that we had and one meeting with the course coordinator. The following represents the materials generated by me.

Contribution:Sensitive Project Identification, Introduction, Brief summary of organizational structure, Matrix structure, advantages and disadvantages of Matrix organizational structure. Overall co-operation throughout the assignment.

At the end of the coursework exercise, All team members found the course work exercise helpful in understanding of Project Organization and behaviour module.

Peer Assessment of Other Team Members:

EZUE JUDE 0907097:

Meeting Attendance:Present in all meetings

Contribution:Sensitive project identification, Introduction, high level management system, organization learning, conflict resolution, negotiation and leadership. Overall co-operation throughout the assignment

MEHRAN FARD 0911573

Mehran Fard was Present in all six team meetings and the meeting with the Module coordinator.

Contribution: Sensitive project identification, Introduction and executive summary, Structure transition, Network structure and Advantages of network structure. Overall co-operation throughout the assignment.

RICHARD EKANEM 0907107

Meeting Attendance: Present in all meetings and meeting with the Module coordinator

Contribution: Sensitive project identification, introduction, Assumptions, considerations, constraints and conclusion. Overall co-operation throughout the assignment.

Signed KOFI OGHENEKEVWE 4/1/2010

Appendix D: Reflective Assessment by RICHARD EKANEM:

Student Number: 0907107

Peer Assessment:

MYSELF:

Meeting Attendance: Present in all six meetings

Contribution: Sensitive project identification, Assumptions, considerations, constraints and conclusion, overall co-operation throughout the assignment.

Remarks: Excellent contribution throughout the assignment, a hardworking team member.

Mehran Kheradmand Fard 0911573

Meeting Attendance: Present in all six meetings

Contribution: Sensitive project identification, Introduction and, Structure transition, Network structure, Advantages of network structure, overall co-operation throughout the assignment.

Remarks: Excellent contribution throughout the assignment, a meticulous member of the team.

KOFI OGHENEKEVWE 0908676:

Meeting Attendance: Present in all six meetings

Contribution: Sensitive project identification, Organisational structures, Matrix Structure, disadvantages and advantages of matrix organisational structure, overall co-operation throughout the assignment.

Remarks: Excellent contribution throughout the assignment, a meticulous member of the team.

EZUE JUDE 0907097:

Meeting Attendance: Present in all six meetings

Contribution: Sensitive project identification, Introduction, high level management system, organisational learning, leadership skill, conflict resolution and negotiation, overall co-operation throughout the assignment

Remarks: Diligent member of the team and Excellent contributions throughout the assignment.

Signed Richard Ekanem 4/1/2010

Appendix E: Reflective Assessment by Mehran Kheradmand Fard

Student Number: 0911573

Peer Assessment:

MYSELF:

Meeting Attendance: Present in all six meetings

Contribution: Sensitive project identification, Introduction, Structure transition, Network structure, Advantages of network structure, overall co-operation throughout the assignment.

KOFI OGHENEKEVWE 0908676:

Meeting Attendance: Present in all six meetings

Contribution: Sensitive project identification, Introduction, Matrix Structure and organisational structures, disadvantages and advantages of matrix organisational structure, overall co-operation throughout the assignment.

EZUE JUDE 0907097:

Meeting Attendance: Present in all six meetings

Contribution: Sensitive project identification, Introduction, high level management system, Organisation learning, conflict resolution and negotiation, overall co-operation throughout the assignment

RICHARD EKANEM 0708227:

Meeting Attendance: Present in all six meetings

Contribution: Assumptions, considerations, constraints and conclusion

Signed Mehran Fard 4/1/2010

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