Research Award Winners

The IPMA Research Awards are managed in partnership with the IPMA Research Board. On this page we celebrate our winners, from 2007-2016!

IPMA Research Award winner 2016Ofer Zwikael

Dr Ofer Zwikael

Research project: Project Benefit Management

Dr. Ofer Zwikael from the Australian National University received the IPMA Research Award 2016 for his contribution to knowledge on project benefit management. His research provides frameworks processes, models and tools to enhance the realization of benefits upon project completion. His research has made articular contribution to project management areas such as business case development, project investment decision-making, project governance, stakeholder management and performance measurement. This research supports the realization of strategic project goals, ensures that the project management discipline is meaningful for business and takes project managers up to the executive table. This research positions project managers and the project management discipline at a central and strategic place in organizations.

Project benefits are the flows of value that arise from a project. For example, a company funds a project to improve service to its customers -through the development of a new Customer Relationship Management Information System. The benefits associated with enhanced service will flow into the future after completion of the project. Whereas existing project management tools support the development of the information system by the project manager and their team, Project Benefit Management research provides the tools to support the company ensuring that not only the new information system is implemented, but also that the service quality for its customers is enhanced. To secure this result, the project scope may need to be expanded with additional activities. Because the distinctive benefit management process is executed in collaboration with the project management process, achievement of these results requires the active involvement of the project manager. This research expands the role of the project manager to be more strategic and influential in the organization.

Project Benefit Management research advances the project management discipline towards having a more significant impact on business. Projects give effect to strategy and so thinking strategically about projects has the potential to position them as a core value creation activity. Benefit management holds open the prospect of expanding the reach of the project management discipline to top management by shaping projects as instruments of business strategy implementation.

Project strategy should define the target benefits the project aims to achieve and illustrate how these benefits support the realization of the organization’s strategic plan. Research on Project Benefit Management has suggested tools and techniques to define project objectives (“2NY Maps”) and validate whether project deliverables support these strategic objectives (“the Utilization Map”). In addition, the proposed project governance structure defines roles and accountabilities required to support the management and realization of project benefits.

This stream of research by Prof Zwikael on Project Benefit Management has been published in top journals. The high quality of this research is evident by best paper awards from the British Academy of Management and the Academy of Management. For the impact of his research on Project Benefit Management, Prof Zwikael received the 2015 Emerald Citations of Excellence award.

Video “Project Benefit Management” by Professor Ofer Zwikael

IPMA Research Award winner 2015PMG 7822

Dr Martina Huemann

Research project: Human Resource Management in the project-oriented organisation

Professor Dr. Martina Huemann received the IPMA Research Award 2015 for her study into Human Resource Management in project-oriented organizations. Her research study offers insight into an approach that is designed to align HR to the needs of projects and the project-oriented organization, in terms of management structure, reward, recruitment and performance systems. In her study she analysis how the modern HR organization stacks up alongside the temporary organization, to identify the HR constraints and needs of the project organization and offer a model of project-oriented HRM. The study is summarized in the book Human Resource Management in the Project-Oriented Organization: Towards a Viable System for Project Personnel, published by Gower in 2015. 

As a Professor at the WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, she heads the Project Management Group in the Department Strategy and Innovation and is the Academic Director of the Professional MBA Program: Project Management. Martina Huemann has strong links in the research and practice communities. Since 2014 she is Associate Editor of the International Journal of Project Management.

Between 2005 and 2012 she served on the IPMA Research Management Board. Currently she is a member of the PMI Academic Member Advisory Group. In Austria she is a board member of pma – projekt management Austria, and member of the research board of the German Project Management Association as well as a member of the Academic Advisory Board of NETLIPSE, an international Network of European Investors in Transportation projects. Outside of academia, Martina Huemann has more than 15 years of consulting and developing experience. She is co-founder and manager of enable2change – a network of independent experts who enable organizations and people to turn strategy into action.

IPMA Research Award winner 2014aw_RA winner 2014
Dr. Janice Thomas, Dr. Stella George, Dr. Svetlana Cicmil
Research project: ” Studying Project Management implementation as management innovation”

Organizations innovate in order to improve their strategic capacity to deliver value.  One particularly common management innovation is the effort to improve organizational project management (PM) capabilities.  Implementation of PM offices, PM maturity models or a particular PM methodology can all be viewed as a particular type of management innovation.   Until now no research has examined project management implementations using this lens.

Prof. Dr. Janice Thomas, Prof. Dr. Svetlana Cicmil and Dr. Stella George  are the IPMA Research Award Winners 2014 for their research project entitled “Project Management Implementations as Management Innovation:  A Closer Look”.  This project was completed between 2010 and 2013 and was partially funded by a PMI Research Grant.  To date this study has resulted in one book, one peer reviewed journal article, one book chapter, 3 peer reviewed conference papers and numerous  practitioner presentations.  The book is available from the PMI website.

This research examined project management implementation journeys undertaken by 48 organizations in 12 countries around the world over a 30-year period. Ten of these innovation journeys were selected for intensive review and analysis. The focus was on the processes involved in implementing project management as a particular case of management innovation. Findings describe how such innovations evolve to produce value. Practitioners will find useful practical implications and heuristics containing critical success factors for innovation management.

The study identifies practical implications for organizations engaged in innovation processes and provides guidance for organizations, managers and project managers on how to effectively implement strategic PM change initiatives to improve the implementation process, value realized and sustainability of organizational project management.

Presentation of the research work is available under this link.


IPMA Research Award Winner 2013aw_Winners2013_Gemunden-Kock_big
Prof. Dr Hans Georg Gemünden & Prof. Dr Alexander Kock
Research project: “Management of Complex Project Landscapes”

Prof. Dr Hans Georg Gemünden & Prof. Dr Alexander Kock, Technische Universität Berlin, Germany, were the IPMA Research Award Winners 2013 for their research program “Management of Complex Project Landscapes”.
Project management research usually concentrates on the single project or the whole project-oriented organization. There is little research about the management on the meso-level between project and organization: the project portfolio. The objectives of this research program were the following:
1. Define success of project portfolios and identify critical activities of the PPM system consisting of actors, strategy, structures, processes, methods and culture.
2. Identify by large-scale empirical studies how PPM is practiced and which practices drive success.
3. Identify contingency factors that influence the strength and direction of success factors.
The intention was to gain quantitative empirical evidence for success factors of PPM that go beyond single success stories and are validated longitudinally. In total, data was collected in three waves (2007, 2009, 2011) analyzing a total of over 600 project portfolios with two informants each (i.e. 1200 informants). The research intended to both contribute to the theory of project portfolio management practice and to give evidence-based recommendations for practitioners to improve their PPM. Good practice comprises four elements: (1) strategic clarity broken down to the portfolio level, (2) operational clarity about project requirements, available competences and capacities, their fit and portfolio risks, (3) responsiveness to external and internal changes, (4) proactiveness towards the customer, the market, and the technology regarding trends and future opportunities (i.e., influencing the inflow to project portfolios from customers and ideation).



IPMA Research Award Winner 2012aw_photo_Research-Winners2012_TEAM_Aubry-Hobbs-Muller_big
Monique Aubry, Brian Hobbs and Ralf Müller
Research project: “The Project Management Office and its Contribution to Organisational Performance”

Prof. Monique Aubry, Prof. Brian Hobbs, both University of Montreal, Canada and Prof. Ralf Müller, BI, Norway, are the IPMA Research Award Winners 2012 for their research program “The Project Management Office and its Contribution to Organisational Performance”. Understanding a complex and dynamic organisational phenomenon like Project Management Offices (PMO) takes time and needs researchers to tackle the research with cleverness. This research program was conducted between 2003 and 2011. Its focus was on Organisational Project Management in general and on Project Management Offices (PMO) specifically. PMOs are a good place to observe formalisation in managing multiple projects within an organisation.


IPMA Research Award Winner 2011
Professor Jonas Söderlund and Dr Karin Bredin
Research project: “Human Resource Management in project-based organizations”

The research program was conducted 2003-2011, and it has addressed key aspects of HRM in project-based organizations. The aim of the program was to add to the growing body of research into project-based organizing and project management by focusing on the relatively unexplored area of human resource management (HRM) in this particular organizational context. More specifically, the research aimed at

1. Exploring the challenges and changes for HRM in project-based organizations
2. Developing analytical tools and concepts that enhance the opportunities for studying HRM at the operational level in project-based work settings.
3. Developing the understanding of contextual and configurational aspects of the organization of HRM, as well as the collective and complementary aspects of its roles and practices.
4. Developing an enhanced understanding of the specific requirements for HRM capabilities in project-based organizations.
5. Developing a better understanding for the conditions of project-based work and different types of project-based work.

This research has been presented at the leading academic conferences in management, HRM and project management. As for journal publications, the papers have appeared in the leading journals within HRM, the top-ranked project management journals and a few selected journals in innovation. Themajor findings are summarized in a recently published book by Palgrave Macmillan, entitled “Human Resource Management in Project-based Organizations: The HR Quadriad Framework”.

The research has been guided by a qualitative, multiple-case study approach. In total, ten firms have participated in the research program, and the focus has been on their most project-intensive parts, such as R&D and engineering-intensive units. In later phases of our research we have relied on in-depth case studies of individual firms and interviews with project workers. As part of that study we have also made use of diary methods to collect first-hand information about work in project-based organizations.

Based on our research, we have developed analytical frameworks, such as the HR quadriad, the idea of people capability in project-based organizations and the application of the “Liminality” concept in studies of project-based work. The results have also made it possible to make distinctions and comparisons across different kinds of project-based work, different HR department structures, and different line manager roles. The research has also resulted in a better understanding of the role of the project manager, specifically its role in the management of human resources. In the final phase of our research we focused particularly on the development and application of the “HR quadriad”. This led to contributions within the area of HRM and has provided us with a concept that might be used to explore and compare the collective nature of HRM in project-based organizations, to analyze how different organizational contingency factors affect the HRM system, to reveal the consequences of the organizational context (in this program the project-based organization), and to tease out the configurational nature of HRM in project-based organizations; for instance how the different roles play together, how changes within one HRM practice area might affect other areas, etc.


IPMA Research Award Winner 2010aw_Magnus_1
Professor Magnus Gustafsson & Tomas Arhippainen, Thomas Westerholm
Research project: “The role of trust in project business”

Dr. Magnus Gustafsson is Partner and Research Manager at PBI Research Institute and Adjunct Professor at Åbo Akademi University. Together with Tomas Arhippainen (left) and Thomas Westerholm (right) he has developed a method for managing trust in business relations over the entire project lifecycle.

A method for managing trust was developed in 2003 based on Magnus Gustafsson’s doctor’s thesis as a tool for managing business relationships. The method was registered as CROL® (Corporate Relationship On-Line). The method has been implemented globally in a number of companies in international project business. Sales and project managers use the method for monitoring the state of the customer relationships they were responsible for. The method has benefited both the companies and the profession. The method hones the project manager’s skill at managing the customer relationship and helps identify possible risks for losing the customer’s trust. Managing trust in the business relationship has a positive impact on sales margins, sales volumes and margin improvement during the project delivery and lifecycle. The results of the joint research effort and their financial impact were presented by Ole Johansson, CEO of Wärtsilä, in the opening keynote at the IPMA World Congress in Helsinki in 2009.

IPMA Outstanding Research Contribution 2010
Professor Xue Yan, Professor Rodney Turner & Professor Frank Anbari
Research project: “Realizing maximum results for key projects of the public sector in Chin”

The aim was to determine how the public and government in China get the best results from key infrastructure projects by increasing results orientation. The objectives were to determine whether:
1. China can realize the maximum benefit from key projects in the public sector by increasing results orientation and performance
2. a clear definition of the project organization, with the assignment of responsibility to project sponsors and owners, can improve the benefits from key projects

We developed a results-based monitoring and evaluation system to radically improve the performance of all projects, including key infrastructure projects. The research focused on three levels of results: the project output, outcome and impact. The output is the new asset the project delivers, the outcome new competencies which the operation of that asset gives, and the impact the performance improvement that results. At all stages of the project from feasibility to operation, a focus is maintained on the achievement of all three levels of results. A governance structure is created where people take clear responsibility for the delivery of all three levels of results, to ensure not just that the work of the project is completed, but the new asset works to produce the desired competencies, and the required performance improvement is achieved.

The results of the research have already been used by the Chinese government to improve the performance of key infrastructure projects, and to create governance structures to facilitate that. The focus on results on a road project in Hebei province meant that not just the new highway was built, but key link roads were also built to link factories to the new road to ensure that the desired economic development was achieved.

IPMA Outstanding Research Contribution 2010aw_Eddy.W._Marcel.H
Marcel Hertogh and Eddy Westerveld
Research project: “Playing with complexity – management and organization of large infrastructure project”

Marcel Hertogh is working as a director at the consultancy firm AT Osborne, Eddy Westerveld holds a senior consultant position at AT Osborne.Marcel Hertogh and Eddy Westerveld were awarded an IPMA Outstanding Research Contribution 2010 for their research on “The Management of complexity in large infrastructure projects”. The objective of the research was to investigate the complexity experienced during large infrastructure projects and improving the management of this complexity. The research studies complexity and its management based on 6 European cases. The complexity is described by using two perspective. One uses six themes of complexity as identified by practitioners: technical, social, financial, legal, organisational and time complexity.

The second perspective uses a distinction in “detail” and “dynamic” complexity. Especially the dynamic complexity causes challenges for managers since it leads to the notion that project managers cannot control their project to full extent and have to take decisions in a situation of limited understanding and predictability. Based on the distinction in detail and dynamic complexity a management framework for complexity was developed. In this framework the authors highlight four approaches: the internal and content focused approach, systems management, interactive management and dynamic management. Dynamic management offers the best results in the management of complexity but is seldom applied in practice. In addition to outlining the four approaches, the authors define 5-X factors for the successful management of complexity. The research was a combined PhD study performed for the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.


IPMA Research Award Winner 2009rs-anbang-chair
Prof. Anbang Qi and Team

Prof. Dr. Anbang Qi is a full professor of Business School of Nankai University( PR. China)

Prof. Qi and his team’s reserch focus on project integrated management methodology for project integrated planning and project overall change control. They start to do this research from 2000 for solving some issues in the Earned Value Management Method. Then they find that project managers need more methods for project integrated management than the EVM as the EVM can only used for two project factors integrated management (even it has some assumption about project scope and quality). And then they have done a lot of research work on this and excogitate the project integrated management methods for three, four, five, six, seven and eight (or all) project factors (quality, scope, time, cost, human resource, communication, procurement and risk) integrated management for different project management integration and different number of project factors configuration and all these
forms the project integrated management methodology.

IPMA Research Award Winner 2008
Mario Vanhoucke

Prof. Dr. Mario Vanhoucke is a full professor at Ghent University and Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School (Belgium).

His research study critically analyzes and evaluates various
Earned Value Management (EVM) based performance measurement and schedule risk analysis methods on a large set of projects. The aim of this experiment is threefold. First, the study searches for static and dynamic drivers of duration forecast accuracy in order to be able to select the most reliable method for a specific project. Second, the study embeds these project tracking methods in a corrective action decision-making framework in order to improve project performance. Finally, the research provides guidelines based on extensive computational experiments on how to set up a project tracking approach which will likely lead to the most reliable results during project execution. The research has led to the development of a new software tool ProTrack ( that integrates dynamic baseline scheduling with schedule risk analysis and project tracking and control. Download research description (pdf).

IPMA Outstanding Research Contribution 2008
Frank T. Anbari and Young Hoon Kwak

Young Hoon Kwak, Frank T. Anbari, and their team at The George Washington University’s School of Business are honoured for their research on the Impact on Project Management of Allied Disciplines.

The goal of this research, which was partially funded by a grant from the Project Management Institute, was to identify the impact on project management of allied management disciplines and explore innovative project management theories, new trends, and challenges. The research explored the full range of technical and organizational dynamics of project management, contributing new insights to project management theory and practice. This will help achieve organizational and strategic goals of the project management community.


IPMA Outstanding Research Contribution 2008
Ofer Zwikael

Dr Ofer Zwikael is an Associate Professor at the Australian National University.

This research has ranked the impact of various project management processes on project success and identifies Critical Success Processes that project success is most vulnerable to. As a result of this research, managers can better invest their limited time and resources in the most effective project management processes to improve project success. Data has been collected in the past seven years in organisations from five continents. The research has identified unique Critical Success Processes for different project scenarios, for example, industries, cultures and level of project risk. (pdf).


IPMA Research Award Winner 2007
Manfred Saynisch

Manfred Saynisch and his research team are awarded for the international, interdisciplinary research project: “Project Management 2nd” which is part of the long term research programme “Beyond Frontiers of Traditional Project Management”.

The researchers directed by Manfred Saynisch have analysed and evaluated new perception in modern natural and social sciences (e.g. evolutionary and chaos theory, self-organization, synergetic, non-traditional logic, brain-research, social systems theory, constructivist epistemology, theory of complex systems, etc.) to develop new insights, concepts and some initial recommendations for new perspectives in Project Management.


IPMA Outstanding Research Contribution 2007
Roland Gareis and the team of project orientation [international]

Roland Gareis and the team of project orientation [international] are honoured for the international research programme project orientation [international] organized by the Projektmanagement Group, Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, Austria.

The objectives of this programme were the analysis and benchmarking of about 250 project-oriented companies and of about 10 project-oriented nations by using the models “project-oriented company mature” and “project-oriented society mature”. The results from the analyses are the basis for strategies to further develop the project-oriented companies and project-oriented nations. Cooperating project-oriented nations were Austria, Finland, Germany, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and South Africa.


IPMA Outstanding Research Contribution 2007; Constanta Bodea and the SinPers team

Constanta Bodea and the SinPers team are honoured for the Romanian research project “Innovative System for Personalized and User-centered Learning with Application to Project Management (SinPers)” developed by the National Institute for Research and Development in Informatics (ICI Bucharest), the Academy of Economic Studies from Bucharest and the Project Management Association from Romania.

The project brings new conceptual approaches and technical solutions for three basic elements: the teaching-learning process modelling (e.g. learning and support activities flow, delivery conditions, methods, properties, environments), the learner modelling (e.g. cognitive state, learning style, accessibility) and the learning content modelling (e.g. domain ontology, learning object, metadata).