New Publication on project portfolio management in a pharmaceutical firm
A ‘stranger’ in the making of strategy: A process perspective of project portfolio management in a pharmaceutical firm
By Assistant Professor Jane Bjørn Vedel Associate Professor Joana Geraldi, Department of Organization (IOA), Copenhagen Business School (CBS)
Scholars assume that the strategic direction of project portfolios is designed within organisations. Our study challenges this assumption. Taking a process perspective, we explored the long-term influence of an external partner, a university researcher, on the development of a project portfolio in a large pharmaceutical firm. By following five contracts that connected the researcher to the firm, we observed how the researcher initiated and managed projects in the portfolio, thereby keeping his influence and relevance alive. Yet, despite his long-term influence, the researcher was perceived as a ‘stranger’ with an ambiguous, and at times surprising, role. We advance our theoretical understanding of the link between portfolios and their contexts by extending the concept of project lineage to inter-organisational lineages and showing their nonlinear and social character. We also suggest related contracts, ‘contractual paths,’ as novel and useful for exploring the link between portfolios and their contexts.