why well planned projects still fail

why well planned projects still fail

Research Project Proposal

Gaps in the current project management framework: why well planned projects still fail.”

This dissertation aims to unveil the various gaps that are prevalent in the current project management frameworks. It aims at ascertaining the reasons why projects tend to fail despite the relevant stakeholders having appropriate plans in place. The proposal will outline the methodology and ethical issues that will be prevalent with the dissertation. There will also be an outline of structure that the final dissertation will assume.


Research Philosophy

This research aims at using a qualitative research approach thereby making the interpretivist philosophy quite fitting for the study. Interpretivism tends to view reality as something that is subjective and is usually based on understanding and meanings (Ponterotto, 2013). The philosophy believes that people cannot be separated from the knowledge that they uphold as the same way that a researcher cannot be separated from his/her research subjects. Here, the main objective of the researcher is to understand rather than make predictions. This goes further to interpret that a researcher should not consider the knowledge obtained from a given research to be permanent, but rather accept as being relative to the context, time or culture that the study was conducted (Giacobbi et al., 2005). Researchers tend to be more interactive and participatory while conducting the research. These aspects enable them to probe more information from the respondents; something that would not have been possible is they had not employed this technique.  The interpretivist philosophy also creates room for the collection of primary data mainly through observations and interviews. These are naturalistic approaches to data collection (Leitch et al., 2009).

Interpretivism tends to dwell in a philosophical position of idealism where it groups together different approaches including phenomenology, social constructivism, and hermeneutics. These are approaches that tend to defy the objectivist view which postulates that meaning resides within a world that is independent of consciousness (Ponterotto, 2005). The interpretivist philosophy has another advantage in that it allows for a deeper assessment of cross-cultural differences within organizations, leadership and issues of ethics among others. The primary data that is derived accounts for the validity of the research since it tends to be honest and trustworthy (Kornbluh, 2015).

This research aims at identifying why projects fail despite there being adequate plans before the implementation. This seems like an issue that needs a deep analysis in order to ascertain the underlying issues. The aspect of the interpretivist philosophy that drives researchers to be more interactive and participatory while conducting the research will be beneficial in enhancing sufficient understanding of the issue at hand (Bunniss and Kelly, 2010).


Data Collection Methods

In the collection of data for the research, uses of interviews and observation have been chosen as the key data collection methods. However, these methods will be supplemented by the use of secondary data that will be sourced from varied literature. The literature in this question will entail texts that have been written in the past and relate to this research topic. The interview questions involved will be open-ended; meaning that they will be semi-structured.

The interviews will be directed towards employees that work in Worley Parsons, Abu Dhabi and Chicao Bridge & Iron, Dubai. These are companies that have been involved with varied projects over the years. As a result, there are various projects that have been successful while at the same time there are other projects that that have failed. The employees working in these organizations have been part of these projects, and therefore they have sufficient information regarding the projects. They can tell what might have gone wrong in the projects that have failed. Their information will be very helpful in trying to bridge the gap in the project management framework. They will help in shedding some light on why some projects fail despite the organizations involved with them seeming to have planned sufficiently at the inception stage of these projects. The employees to be chosen for the interviews must have been part of the companies’ workforce for at least three or four years. This would mean that they are aware of various issues pertaining to the organizations, and have some substantial knowledge on some of the projects that have been undertaken in the past. The interviews will involve both junior and senior employees; based on their availability. There will be a need to seek consent from the management prior to commencement of this activity (Brown, 2008). The interviews will likely take place during the break periods when employees are not working to ensure that the research does not interfere with the employees’ working schedules. The research will target between 15 to 25 employees collectively in both organizations. Semi-structured interviews suit this research since they will give the participants an opportunity to express themselves (Polkinghorne, 2005). There will also be the opportunity of preparing the questions in advance which can be passed to the participants prior to the interviews to ensure that they are well prepared and competent during the interviews. These forms of interviews also tend to encourage a two-way form of communication. The participants can also ask the interviewer some questions so that they are able to give an appropriate and clear analysis of the relevant issues (Olsen, 2009).

Observation, on the other hand, will be done during the interviews. This will be meant to observe non-verbal cues that might present themselves. On various occasions, junior employees might feel intimidated to reveal some information due to fear of the consequences that might amount when the information becomes known to the management (Tong et al., 2007). The observations will be used in analyzing such aspects. Secondary data, on the other hand, will be obtained from journal articles that have documented studies related to this topic. When selecting the journal articles to use for the collection of valid data, there will be some assessment criteria. This will include appropriateness; whereby the journals should be relevant to the current research. Authenticity and credibility of the journals will be highly considered too. There should be the ability of tracing the original sources and ensure that the data involved is free of distortion and errors (Sapsford and Jupp, 2006). The best way to mitigate these aspects is to ensure that the journals used are peer-reviewed. The journals should also not have any form of ambiguity in order to make sure that every element is clear and easy to understand (Lefever et al., 2007).


Data Analysis Techniques

The research opts to use template analysis for the sake of analyzing the data that will be collected. Template analysis encompasses the development of a coding “template” that tends to summarize the themes that have been identified by the researcher. These themes are summarized in form of data sets, and they are organized in a useful and meaningful manner (Brooks et al., 2014). There is more emphasis on hierarchical codes where broader themes tend to receive more priority. Here, the template can be used on the entire data set. However, there will still be a need to adapt and add to the template as the analysis progresses. A researcher is usually advised to determine the codes both before the data has been analyzed or during the analysis (Hayes et al., 2008). Codes that are used before the analysis commences are referred to as priori codes. These codes tend to identify themes that are sturdily expected to be pertinent to the analysis. However, the codes can be dispensed or modified in case they do not manifest to be appropriate or useful with regards to the actual data that is being examined (King and Brooks, 2016). On the other hand, posteriori codes are used during the analysis process.

Template analysis is usually used during data analysis for varied reasons. Among them is to reduce large amounts of text to a number that is relevant and manageable for the sake of evaluation (Symon and Cassell, 2012). Template analysis is also used for comparing perspectives of the different research participants among other issues. Among the strengths of this data analysis method is that it can be used in analyzing textual data that is produced for different objectives in different contexts. Template analysis is also useful in exploring varied trends in the data, which would be helpful in explaining its meanings (Gill et al., 2008).


Ethical Issues

Conducting this research is likely to be marred by varied ethical issues. The research will make use of both secondary and primary data hence making the concept of ethical issues quite fascinating. Sometimes it is quite tricky to determine the ethical considerations while conducting secondary research (Thome, 2006). In case the data will be obtained freely from journals, the internet or any other public forum, the permission to use such content is usually implied. However, there will be a need for acknowledging the ownership of the original data. There will also be a need to seek permission if the data is a component of another research project.

The concept of seeking permission before conducting the interviews is also an ethical issue that is relevant to this research. There will be a need to approach the management of Worley Parsons, Abu Dhabi and Chicao Bridge & Iron, Dubai in order to seek permission before interviewing the employees. There is the need to become acquainted with the policies that govern the organizations. When seeking permission, the organizations will advice on the things that can be done and those that are not advisable. It will also be prudent to supply the management with the interview questions in order to ensure that they do not touch on issues that they would not want to go public (Hammersley and Traianou, 2012).

The research will also seek to obtain informed consent from the participants. This will involve honest and open communication between the participants and the researcher (Robertson, 2003). The participants deserve to have a full disclosure of what the research is all about, and what their information will be used for.

Respect for confidentiality and anonymity also comes out as an ethical issue. The participants will be offering some information that pertains to the organization. Junior employees might have difficulties expressing themselves on some issues since they are not aware of the people that will come across the information (De Vries et al., 2006). It will be ethical to inform them that their identity will be kept anonymous and everything that they bring up is confidential. The research will take optimal steps in ensuring that this happens.


Structure of the Dissertation

  Declaration of Authorship
Chapter 1 Introduction
  Background and Study’s Rationale
  Value of the Research
  Aims of the Research
  Research Questions
Chapter 2 Literature Review
Chapter 3 Research Methodology
  Research Philosophy
  Research Design
  Data Collection Methods
  Data Analysis Techniques
  Research Ethics
Chapter 4 Research Findings
Chapter 5 Discussion
Chapter 6 Conclusion
  Research Constraints, Limitations and Validity
  Implications and Further Research




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