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Sample Masters Management Dissertation Chapter 4

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General Management’s Influence on Project Managers

How do Theories and Practices of General Management Influence the Development of Project Management Skills in Project Managers?

Chapter 4- Analysis and Findings

Introduction

The review leads to a suitable methodology for the current study’s experimental research through extensive research first conducted from literature. The results of the current study follow in this chapter from an extensively planned and executed methodology.

The current study results include responses from the Likert scale questionnaire disrupted by various individuals working across a vast array of industries in the UK. Data from the questionnaire responses were compiled and analysed to draw out meaningful results.

It was essential to check for internal consistency within the questionnaire items to measure each item’s interrelatedness completed through Cronbach’s Alpha. Other tests followed the Cronbach’s Alpha which includes the test for relative importance index and frequency analysis, as discussed in chapter three.

The second phase of the research included interview results of individual project managers and general managers interested in participating in the study. A thematic analysis was conducted and reported in the current chapter to analyse the results of the interviews. The current study developed a connection between general management practices and theories on project management through these results.

Findings

Quantitative

Demographic Profile of Respondents

The current study aimed to investigate the perceived relationship between general management and project management to comprehend the influence on project management. For this reason, the population of 24,983 employed managers in the UK was sought out.

The questionnaire was distributed through conventional means and electronic across various industries in the UK. From the target sample of 300 managers, 255 questionnaires were returned, giving a response rate of 85.0 per cent. This is a healthy response rate allowing the results of the questionnaire to draw generalisations.

To understand the questionnaire results, it is essential to analyse the respondent makeup of those who had completed the questionnaires and sent them back. Of the 255 respondents that returned completed questionnaires, 49 were accountants, 47 were project managers, 46 were operations managers, 25 were office managers, 22 were HR managers, 19 were purchasing managers, 16 were marketing managers, 14 were quality control managers, 14 were supervisors/foreperson/lead positions, and 3 were professional staff (see appendix D). The following graph illustrates the job positions of the respondents.

Composition-of-Respondents-by-Job-Position

Respondents were also analysed based on their relative industries. The industries indicated on the questionnaire (see appendix B) were categorised based on the Office of National Statistics (2016).

Based on the results seen in figure 4.2.1.2, the greatest number of respondents identified themselves to be working in the manufacturing industry, a total of 46 respondents. While the construction industry had 39 respondents, the second-highest transport industry had the third-largest number of respondents, 16 respondents.

Industry-composition-of-respondents-based-on-Job-Position

The questionnaire also asked respondents to indicate the number of years of employment in the current organisation that employs them. By analysing this item in the questionnaire, the researcher can comprehend the respondents’ experience in the industry and the job position to answer the questionnaires.

According to table 4.2.1.1, project managers had the greatest number of years of employment, with 24 of the project managers have more than 15 years of employment in the company. HR managers follow this, 14 of whom had more than 15 years of employment in the organisation that employs them.

On the other hand, respondents from the accountants, bookkeeper, and controller category had the least about years of experience in terms of their years of employment has 23 of the respondents from this group had less than 5 years of employment in the current organisation. Operations managers also had a hefty amount of permanent employment in their organisation, as 28 of the respondents had 10 to 15 years of employment.

Table 4.2.1.1- Job Position to Years of Employment of Respondents

Job-Position-to-Years-of-Employment-of-Respondents

Each of these respondents brings to the study diverse working experience based on their job position, years of employment, and the industry for which they work. This provides the current study with diverse and unique perspectives to study, providing a more enriched analysis.

Validity Test of the Questionnaire

Cronbach’s alpha (α) (i.e., here on referred to as either alpha or α) is an imperative discernment and model for evaluating assessments and questionnaires (Trizano-Hermosilla & Alvarado 2016).

It is further argued by Okada (2015) that the use of alpha is necessary for all research regarding quantifying alpha to increase or improve the research’s validity and accuracy for interpreting data. For the current study, alpha was used to examine the items for the two question sets found in the questionnaire.

Table 4.2.1.2- Reliability Statistics (Alpha Results) for Questionnaire

Reliability-Statistics-Alpha-Results-for-Questionnaire

Table 4.2.1.2 illustrates the alpha results for the questions in the current study’s questionnaire instrument. Based on the results of alpha compared to the rule of alpha obtained from Kline (2000) and DeVellis (2012) (see appendix E), the internal consistency is considered acceptable since it falls between the rule of 0.8 ≥ α ≥ 0.7.

The closer that alpha is to 1.0, the greater the items’ internal consistency on the scale. The study’s alpha for section 2 was .748, while section 3 produced an alpha of .728. The alpha was produced through calculations using IBM’s Statistics SPSS v.24 software package.

On the other hand, studies such as those conducted by Cortina (1993) and Cheng et al. (2014) disagree with the use of alpha and stress that the greater the number of items on the list influences the ability to inflate the value of alpha artificially. However, the current study had sections with an equal number of items (20) but produced average alpha results that differed.

The internal consistency of the results is acceptable, meaning that the items show one-dimensionality. A detailed analysis of alpha for each item is provided in appendix F and G. The internal consistencies of each item indicate that the overall alpha produced for each category is indeed not inflated, and the alpha can improve if certain items were included in the questionnaire.

Results of Questionnaire

The questionnaire produced percentage responses for each item in both sections; section 2 examined individuals’ perception of the influence on general management theory and practices on project management. On the other hand, the section 3 questionnaire examined the perceptions of valued skills that the project manager needs to possess.

Section Two of the Questionnaire

Section 2 of the questionnaire is presented in figure 4.2.1.3, which analyses participants’ responses based on their answers. The scale used for responses was a psychometric scale or Likert scale that measured perceptions based on the agreement or disagreement of a set of statements.

The scale was set based on five points, 1 is set to disagree strongly, 3 being neither agree nor disagree, while 5 strongly agreed. The statements in section two asked respondents about the influence of various general management practices and theories in simplistic terms, meaning the concepts were boiled down to topics and ideas that are easy to understand and reflect on.

These statements asked respondents to reflect on the influence of general management practices and theories on project management. For example, statements three, four, and five (see appendix B) all measured the respondents’ reflection of leadership theories of general management on project management.

According to figure 4.2.1.3, all respondents portrayed an extent of agreement for all statements except statements of “no difference between PM and GM” and general manager’s influence on “ethical business” practices in project management.

For question number one in section two, “ethical business” practices, 30.6 per cent of respondents either disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement that “General management practices of conducting business ethically is a large influence on project management.” While only 26.3 per cent of respondents either agreed or disagreed with the previous statement.

However, there was an even stronger perception of the statement, with 43.1 per cent of respondents neither agreeing nor disagreeing with the statement. Question 19 of the questionnaire also produced similar results, with 59.6 per cent of respondents either disagreeing or strongly disagreeing with “no difference between PM and GM” with the statement “There is virtually no difference between project management and general management.” While only 29.4 per cent of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed with the statement before.

Only 11.0 per cent of respondents indicated no opinion of the statement by choosing neither agree nor disagree. Throughout the remaining 18 statements, the opinion was almost unanimous in deciding the influence of general management concepts on project management.

Results-of-Section-2-Responses

Figure 9.1 in appendix H provides a more comprehensive look at the responses by comparing the amount of agreement to a statement to the extent of disagreement. Questions two to 18 and question 20 present a high agreement to the respective statements based on the graph.

Questions 12, 16, 17, and 18 present a high percentage of the difference between disagreement amounts to an agreement with a statement. For example, question 18, with the statement “Good project managers are good managers and the core skills of management like motivation, leadership, organising, communication and decision making are identical,” presented a difference of 55.294 per cent, with 64.7 per cent of respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing with the statement. In comparison, only 9.4 per cent of respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed.

Question 17, with the statement “Project management has been influenced by management principles that stress the need for quality management and the efficient use of resources,” produced a difference of 60.020 per cent, with 72.9 per cent of respondents identifying with a degree of the agreement.

In comparison, 3.9 per cent of respondents presented a degree of disagreement. Question 12, with the statement “The importance of strategic planning found in management literature is critical to project management,” presents a difference of 69.804 per cent, with 74.9 per cent of respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing to the statement when only 5.1 per cent of them either disagree or strongly disagree to it.

Lastly, question 16 presented the greatest amounts of difference in agreement with 74.902 per cent of difference as 80.8 per cent of respondents agreed to a varying degree to the statement, “The role of a project manager is influenced by the principles of management in which managers are responsible for directing the organisation to achieve goals rationally.” In comparison, only 3.9 per cent of respondents indicated an extent of the disagreement with the statement.

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Section Three of Questionnaire

Section three of the questionnaire is presented in figure 4.2.1.4, which analyses participants’ responses based on their answers. The scale used for these responses was also a Likert scale that measured the participants’ opinions based on their extent of agreement or disagreement with the statements.

This scale was set based on five points, 1 is set to disagree strongly, 3 being neither agree nor disagree, while 5 strongly agreed. The statements in section three asked respondents the skills needed in project managers according to general management principles and theories.

To ensure that the ideas presented were understood by respondents regardless of their educational background or experience in management, these statements were simplified for the participants.

For example, statement three of section three asked respondents whether project managers need to have leadership skills based on general management principles. Likert scale that measured perceptions based on the agreement or disagreement of a set of statements. The scale was set based on five points, 1 is set to disagree strongly; 3 being neither agree nor disagree; while 5 strongly agreed (see appendix B).

Results-of-Section-3-Responses

According to figure 4.2.1.4, there is a trend of agreement with respondents regarding general management skills that project managers need to present.

However, there is a larger disagreement in a few skills that signify that project managers don’t need this skill. This disagreement is found in questions six, 16, and 18, with many respondents indicating that these skills are not required. Figure 4.2.1.4 shows that 49.8 per cent of respondents disagree with question six statement, “Project managers should have administrator skills,” on the contrary, only 25.5 per cent of respondents agreed to the statement.

This indicates that the majority of respondents believe that project managers do not need administrator skills. Only 24.7 per cent of respondents indicated no opinion, with the response neither agree nor disagree. Question 16, with the statement, “Project managers need to have the ability to follow up,” had 49.0 per cent of disagreement with respondents either disagreeing or strongly disagreeing.

While 45.1 per cent of respondents either agree or strongly agree. This indicates that project managers must have the skill of following up with. Lastly, question 18, with the statement, “Project managers need to be good negotiators,” had an extent of disagreement of 51.0 per cent while 49.0 per cent agreed to the statement. This indicates that respondents believe that it is not necessarily imperative for project managers to have negotiation skills.

According to figure 4.2.1.4, only two statements of the section had 100 per cent agreement responses. Question four with the statement, “Project managers need to have problem-solving skills,” 45.5 per cent of respondents agreed with the statement, while 54.5 per cent of respondents strongly agreeing with the statement.

This indicates that project managers need to have problem-solving skills based on the unanimous agreement to the statement. Another statement that has had this complete agreement is question 15 with the statement, “Project managers need to have organization skills” 40.0 per cent of respondents agreed to the statement. In comparison, 60.0 per cent of respondents strongly agreed to it.

This allows for the interpretation that respondents perceive organization skills to be imperative for project managers. Another statement with the strong agreement was question two with statements, “Project managers need to be efficient in their timing,” with 90.6 per cent of respondents feeling that agreement or strongly agreeing. This indicates that respondents believe that time management is a skill necessary for project managers.

Figure 10.1 in appendix I provides a more comprehensive look at the responses by comparing the amount of agreement to a statement to the extent of disagreement. Questions seven, eight, nine, and 20 present a high agreement to the respective statements based on the graph. Question 20 gives a difference of 65.882 per cent in terms of the agreement to disagreement.

The statement, “All project managers need to be extremely good decision-makers,” had 81.6 per cent either agreed or strongly agreed. In comparison, 15.7 per cent disagreed or strongly disagreed, showing that project managers need to have decision-making skills. Question seven, with the statement, “Project managers need to have listening skills,” had a difference of 66.667 per cent, with 77.3 per cent of respondents portraying a degree of the agreement while 10.6 per cent disagreed with it.

The highest difference is found in question eight, statement, “Planning and goal-setting skills are essential for project managers,” with a percentage difference of 73.333 per cent as 85.1 per cent of respondents conveyed a degree of the agreement. In comparison, 11.8 per cent portrayed a degree of disagreement with the statement.

Qualitative

Demographic Profile of Interviewees

Through purposive sampling, respondents were chosen based on the following characteristics:

1. Must have worked for the organization for over 2 years.
2. Have had experienced in management for over 5 years.
3. Have had an educational background in the theory and practice of general or project management.
4. Under the concepts of project management.

A total of 10 respondents were selected, with five being project managers and five being general managers from our sample of respondents used in the questionnaire. Those respondents who satisfied three of the four requirements and were willing to participate were chosen for skype interviews.

Table 4.2.4.1- Interviewee Demographic Profile

Respondent Industry Years of Employment
PM-1 Construction More than 15 years
PM-2 Manufacturing 10-15 years
PM-3 Aerospace More than 15 years
PM-4 Computer/Software 5-10 years
PM-5 Construction More than 15 years
GM-1 Manufacturing More than 15 years
GM-2 Financial Services 10-15 years
GM-3 Construction 5-10 years
GM-4 Construction More than 15 years
GM-5 Computer/Software 10-15 years

The interview participants were nearly homogenous in that eight out of the ten had more than 10 years of employment in their current organization. Also, the chosen respondents matched each other in terms of their industry. This homogeneity allows for generalizations to be made from the results.

Results of Interviews

The interviews consisted of a total of twelve questions, with three questions having followed up questions. The questions were structured, but they did provide open-ended follow-up questions that allowed for an in-depth conversation with the interviewees.

In the introductory questions, interviewees were asked if they had the opportunity to study general and project management concepts, to which all ten responded with the affirmative. All participants also had the opportunity to participate in projects for their organization and be part of a project team.

GM-4 detailed;

As a general manager for a construction company, I had the opportunity to work closely with a project manager for one of our infrastructure projects. That experience provided me with a great deal of exposure to the extent of a project manager’s core duties and the complexities of managing a project. I did know beforehand that the job was complex, but I thought it was similar to mine. However, that changed immediately with the involvement of the project”.

The concepts found through the interview results were complex and lengthy, making it difficult to portray in a limited number of words present in the current study. Therefore, using NVIVO 9.2, a thematic analysis was conducted, which allowed for more core concepts to be compared with the ten different interviewees.

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General Management Influence on Project Management

One of the first questions in this interview section asks participants to analyse general management’s functions and concepts in project management. All participants agreed that the core function of general management is quite engraved in project management. Some of their responses are presented below

GM-1

“I believe that planning is core in all of the general management functions, but this particular concept is also fundamental in project management. Managers need to ensure that cost and time are used to the best extent without overrunning them with a project. This is why planning these processes become important. That is why project management takes a lot of these principles from general management to ensure that core risks are minimised.”

GM-3

The development of processes is essential for management practices in defining objectives, aims, and goals, forming methods of executing these goals, and developing strategies to implement them. From my experience, project management as a function takes this concept and micromanages it. From a general management perspective, we need to oversee the objectives and processes through departments and the personnel involved in those processes. However, project management does the same thing by encompasses it into a project that uses a team of individuals from, maybe different departments.”

PM-2

“Project management does take the primary function of general management, as explained, but there is a difference between it. Most of the functions that general management develops are for core business objectives. But for project management, these same functions are for temporary projects that need to be executed in maybe a smaller amount of time with limited resources.”

PM-5

“I honestly believe that project management takes the entire function of general management and implements it as it is for its specific processes. Some of these processes can be the same such as allotting resources for the process, while others can be completely different, focusing on risk management within the project.”

The next set of questions focused on general management’s perception of organisation and influence on project management. The following are some results from the interviews.

GM-1

“Organisation is important regardless of which management style or strategy that it is functioning under. The organisation is what provides structure to processes and methods that are used to fulfil an aim. Without the entire company may go belly up within a week of beginning business activities. That is why it’s so important… this very definition of organisation is a foundation upon which project management rests… without it, many of the functions of project management won’t function.”

GM-2

“Organisation is to management as marmite is to a cheese sandwich. The two need to be paired. And that goes for all management types and styles because regardless of what it is, general management or project management in this case; at the end of the day, you are managing people, resources, finances, and operations, to name a few. The organisation in project management is essential its backbone, and it is upon the organisation that project managers can distribute their functions and build strategies on. The same goes for general management.”

PM-1

“Organisation in management is just something you can’t live without really. It would be the oxygen for management if it were to survive. In my experience, I’ve seen processes and strategies fall apart even if it was the best possible strategy to achieve a goal. But it fell apart because those in charge did not organise the processes. There was no organisation involved. Everything was kind of in hysteria. The function of the organisation is the same across general management and project management. But I genuinely believe the organisation holds a higher stake in project management. All of the processes of managing a process are built upon the organisation.”

PM-2

“I shifted from a general manager to a project manager many years ago in my professional life. I can tell you that I never appreciated the organisation until I became a project manager from professional experience. Organisation and organisational skills, practices, theories, and principles have become my best friend… It allowed me to pay attention to detail, even the most minuscule detail. I think the organisation’s relationship gets stronger as it transitions from general management to project management.”

Competencies Needed for Project Managers

Interviewees were asked to reflect on their answers from the questionnaire form to extend the knowledge available on core competencies or skills essential for project managers. One of the questions was to list the top three essential skills that project managers need to have. The answers for some of the participants are as follows;

PM-1

“Project managers need to have an organization, time management, and problem-solving skills. All skills listed in the questionnaire are essential, and project managers need to have them. But these are my top three. The reason being that most tasks that we perform or coordinate are time-sensitive and very detailed. Without this set of skills, we wouldn’t be able for our jobs.”

PM-3

“Problem-solving skills, goals & objective-setting skills, and time management are the three key skills that every project manager needs to have. I believe that projects run a great deal of risk with their particular goal, which may give rise to issues across a vast spectrum. Therefore, problem-solving skills are key to being a good project manager.”

PM-4

“For me, it has to be problem-solving, time management, and leadership skills. Most people might not consider leadership, but project managers need to band individual people with diverse backgrounds together for a common goal for a short period of time. And that can be difficult without the right set of leadership skills.”

GM-2

“I really believe that project managers need to have personal adaptation skills, financial management skills, and organization skills. Essential skills, like time management, problem-solving, and risk-taking, are core to project managers’ duties. But the skills that I have listed are essential skills that can help to execute their primary skillset. Project managers need to be able to adapt to the environment of their project personally. They don’t need to always end up with one type of project… I believe adaption makes a good manager, which is essentially what a project manager is.”

GM-3

“Creativity, technical knowledge, and communication. These skills need to be present in a project manager. These skills may not be commonly mentioned… they allow for project managers to be more competent. What I mean is, as a project manager, you need to think differently, need to get around problems that most managers may not see. That is why creative and unique solutions need to be developed.”

GM-5

“I strongly believe that project managers need to be risk-takers, have communication skills, and be financially competent. I presume that financial management is a major part of project management. Client’s or top management may present project managers with a strict budget… therefore, keeping in line with those finances means being able to allocate resources smartly and precisely; precision… that’s a core skill.”

Question number two of the interviews looked to explain the participants’ vast disagreement regarding project managers’ skills of administrator skills, negotiation, and follow-up skills. Many individuals had portrayed an opinion that this set of skills are not needed in project managers. Interviewees were asked to reflect on it depending on their answers to the questionnaire.

Of the ten respondents, three respondents, all three being general managers, agreed with the statement that project managers don’t necessarily need these skills.
GM-3 stated, “They are important skills, but I don’t think they are needed for project managers because their key duties are more entrenched in managing the team, planning the project, and coordinating its execution. I don’t see where negotiation or follow-up comes along. As for administrator skills, that is something that may not be associated with the duties of a project manager.” The remaining general managers, GM-1 and GM-5, also gave this same opinion regarding the theme present. The theme present was job-related duties and responsibilities; each of the interviewees indicated that the project manager’s role does not use these specific sets of skills.

On the other hand, most project managers disagreed with this statement, saying that negotiation and follow-up are essential skills for project managers. One of the participants, PM-3, insisted that this skill set is important for project managers, specifically drawing up from his own experience.

PM-3 argued,

“I can understand why many of my colleagues may think that these skills aren’t important for a project manager, but as a project manager who has worked in this profession and industry for about 18 years, I strongly have to disagree. Project managers need to be excellent negotiators, not exactly just for clients, but for team members, contractors, suppliers, marketing executives, and almost anyone they may come in contact with over the project. To be a good negotiator means that you encompass other skills that were outlined in the questionnaire. While negotiating, you use communication skills, leadership skills, problem-solving skills, and vice-versa, all essential for project managers. As a project manager, I used some follow-up skills to follow up with clients or top management after completing a project, but during the project, from design to implementation, all the way to hand over. I needed to follow up with my team members, which makes this skill very important. It isn’t just a form of communication, and this is very specific… as for administrator skills. It depends on how or what can be defined as an administrator. As a project manager, I identify as an administrator because I organise, arrange, and coordinate staff, meetings, and management processes. As a project manager, you aren’t responsible for the clerical work, but you may be engrossed with clerical work, such as paperwork associated with a project. For example, a project manager may be responsible for outlining and conducting a procurement path in construction. So basically, a project manager is like your jack of all trades.”

The other project managers and GM-4 vocalised a similar opinion with the same themes present in PM-3’s argument. The others’ argument’s central theme was the diversity of current roles, responsibilities, and duties of a project manager. The variety of projects across the industry for a project manager.

Analysis

The findings show that managers across a broad spectrum of industries see the influence of general management principles, theories, and practices on project management. Based on the questionnaire results, many managers found that general management concepts are seen in project management.

The same notion is also present in the interviews that were conducted. Project managers need to find similar trends in both the questionnaire and interviews with competencies and skills.

A relative importance index (RII) was used to analyse the questionnaire’s result to rank the principles, theories, and practices of general management influence on project management and essential skills necessary for project managers. According to Johnson and LeBrton (2004), RII helps find the contribution of specific variables to an entire system or phenomena.

According to table 4.2.2.1, the RII for section 2, specific items from the questionnaire contributed to the notion that general management influences project management.

Based on the results from the table, it is evident that themes such as direction for achieving strategic goals; strategic planning and quality management; management processes present in project management; the notion of multiple disciplines contributing to the formation of project management; contingency & crisis management; communication skills; and diversity & non-discrimination contribute major influences on project management. These factors were considered the top five in ranking based on the results from RII analysis.

Table 4.2.4.1- RII for Section 2

S/No. Question Factor RII Rank
1 S2Q16 Direction for achieving strategic goals 0.839216 1
2 S2Q12 Strategic Planning 0.826667 2
3 S2Q17 Quality Management 0.815686 2
4 S2Q13 Mgmt. Processes present in PM 0.801569 3
5 S2Q8 Multiple disciplines 0.792157 4
6 S2Q7 Contingency & Crisis, Mgmt. 0.781961 5
7 S2Q6 Communication Skills 0.775686 5
8 S2Q11 Diversity & Non Discrimination 0.767059 5
9 S2Q14 Mgmt. Process influence on PM 0.746667 6
10 S2Q4 Diplomacy & Negotiations 0.738824 6
11 S2Q18 Good PM are Good managers 0.734902 7
12 S2Q3 Managing Team 0.727843 7
13 S2Q2 Recognizing Problem 0.72 8
14 S2Q15 Mgmt. Process built PM 0.664314 9
15 S2Q20 GM influences all aspects of PM 0.638431 9
16 S2Q9 Organizational Culture 0.613333 10
17 S2Q10 Sustainable development 0.612549 10
18 S2Q1 Ethical Business 0.586667 11
19 S2Q5 Human nature & Resistance to Change 0.580392 12
20 S2Q19 No differences between PM and GM 0.510588 13

These factors or variables are seen playing a contributory role in influencing project management. For example, a total of 80.8 per cent of participants agreed that “The role of a project manager is influenced by the principles of management in which managers are responsible for directing the organisation to achieve goals rationally.” Our interviewees also experienced this opinion when discussing general management’s function and its influence on project management. GM- 3 argued, “…. from a general management perspective, we need to oversee the objectives and their processes through departments and the personnel involved in those processes.

However, project management does the same thing by encompasses it into a project that uses a team of individuals from, maybe different departments.” There is an agreement with participants about the extent of influence that general management has on project management regarding project managers responsible for directing the organisation to achieve its goals logically.

Based on the literature review, this concept is evident in a majority of management literature, such as Fayol’s (1916) description of the functions of a manager explained through his fourteen principles of management; division of work, authority, responsibility, discipline, unity of command, unity of direction, and subordination of individual interest to general interests, centralisation, equity, and union in strength; all of which contribute to the strategic makeup of management practices that have been transitioned in to project management. One of the fifth ranking themes from our RII; Contingency and crisis management theories and practices are influential on project management.

This statement, “Management theories of the planning process, including the preparation of contingency plans and crisis management are reflective in project management,” produced 73.7 per cent of agreement among respondents. This opinion is reflected in the vast literature analysed.

It was found that the main aims of the contingency approach and crisis management were focused on improving the connection between organisational processes and characteristics of a specific relationship. Management theory’s view on contingency is that various situations and circumstances need to be handled using different management techniques, which means applying management techniques by adjusting them based on a situation or the organisation’s structure.

According to Bredillet et al. (2015), the viewpoint of contingency theory in management gave birth to project management as project management theories presume that a project is best managed as a contingent to a specific situation at that very time, looking at it from an internal and external environment.

Section three of the questionnaire analyses respondents’ opinions based on their essential skills in a project manager stemming from general management practices and theories. The answers’ collection and RII analysis took place to produce the following results in table 4.2.2.2.

Table 4.2.4.2- RII Results of Section 3

S/No. Question Factor RII Rank
1 S3Q15 Organization 0.92 1
2 S3Q4 Problem Solving Skills 0.90902 2
3 S3Q2 Time Management 0.879216 3
4 S3Q8 Planning & Goals Setting 0.868235 4
5 S3Q9 Technical Knowledge 0.832157 5
6 S3Q20 Decision Making 0.803922 6
7 S3Q7 Listening Skills 0.801569 6
8 S3Q14 Risk-Taking 0.783529 7
9 S3Q1 Communication 0.780392 7
10 S3Q3 Leaders & Motivators 0.750588 8
11 S3Q12 Critical Path Thinking 0.746667 8
12 S3Q5 Quality Management 0.712157 9
13 S3Q10 Creativity 0.680784 10
14 S3Q17 Financial Management 0.67451 11
15 S3Q13 Result Oriented 0.660392 12
16 S3Q19 Delegating 0.644706 13
17 S3Q11 Personal Adaptations 0.636863 13
18 S3Q16 Ability to Follow Up 0.574902 14
19 S3Q18 Negotiators 0.569412 14
20 S3Q6 Administrative Skills 0.523922 15

Table 4.2.2.2 shows that the top five skills respondents thought project managers should have included organisation, problem-solving skills, time management, planning & goal setting, and technical knowledge. As discussed in section 4.2.1.3.2, question 15 and question 4 both had 100.00 per cent agreement to the respective statements.

This trend is also seen with answers to interview questions in section 4.2.2.2.2, in which respondents indicated in their top three skills that organisation and problem-solving were essential to project managers.

Time management is also seen as an essential skill that project managers need to possess, which is evident from the questionnaire where 81.961 per cent of respondents agreed that “Project managers need to be efficient in their timing.” The body of knowledge related to project management indicates that three facets need to be present within a defined life cycle for a management process to be considered project management: the integration and control of time. Interview PM-1 argued that time management is an essential skill for project managers as “…most tasks that we perform or coordinate are time-sensitive and very detailed.”

Conclusion

Based on the findings and analysis of the current study, it is evident that themes such as direction for achieving strategic goals; strategic planning and quality management; management processes present in project management; the notion of multiple disciplines contributing to the formation of project management; contingency & crisis management; communication skills; and diversity & non-discrimination contribute major influences on project management.

This was concluded from the extensive frequency analysis of the questionnaire and relative importance index. This was further reinforced through the semi-structured interview questions. Furthermore, the top five skills respondents thought project managers should have included organisation, problem-solving skills, time management, planning & goal setting, and technical knowledge.

These two were concluded from a frequency analysis and relative importance analysis from the questionnaire’s responses and further cemented from views portrayed in the interview portion of the research.