Ralf Müller

Ralf Müller
BI Norwegian Business School | BINBS · Department of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour

DBA
Professor of Project Management

About

271
Publications
306,215
Reads
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Introduction
Ralf Müller is Professor of Project Management at the Department of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour, BI Norwegian Business School, and Editor-in-Chief of the Project Management Journal. Ralf researches in project management, leadership and governance. His current project is 'The governance of interorganizational networks'.
Additional affiliations
December 2018 - present
University of Technology Sydney
Position
  • Professor
January 2018 - present
Project Management Journal
Position
  • Editor-in-Chief
October 2015 - present
Dalian University of Technology
Position
  • Haitian (distinguished) scholar
Education
September 1999 - July 2003
Brunel University London
Field of study
  • Project management

Publications

Publications (271)
Article
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate and discuss stakeholder issues faced by renewable energy megaprojects and in particular solar and wind power projects and their relevance to socioeconomic evaluation of megaprojects. Design/methodology/approach The paper uses secondary data collected from the recent literature published on stakeh...
Preprint
p>Inter-organizational networks are frequently used to execute large and megaprojects. This study develops a theoretical framework for the governance of these networks. Twenty-eight case studies, each representing a network for a project, were assessed using 124 interviews in ten countries. A three-layer governance model is derived from the analysi...
Preprint
p>Inter-organizational networks are frequently used to execute large and megaprojects. This study develops a theoretical framework for the governance of these networks. Twenty-eight case studies, each representing a network for a project, were assessed using 124 interviews in ten countries. A three-layer governance model is derived from the analysi...
Article
While project governance research is burgeoning, the prevalence of a structural focus and project business perspective may impede the understanding of governing practices and contextual interaction. Therefore, we adopt a multidisciplinary systematic review and begin by scrutinizing the main topics, theories, and methodologies of project governance...
Research
This project suggests a shift in perspective in the study of inter-organizational networks from the temporary organization, that is, a project, to a semipermanent network of organizations and their joint projects. A three-layered framework of metagovernance, governance of networks, and network governance is developed. Therein explains multi-level g...
Article
Increasingly, scholars are recognising the importance of resilience in projects. However, there is a lack of research on the resilience of temporary inter-organisational projects while considering the intricate relationship among multiple stakeholder organisations. We conducted an embedded comparative case study to investigate the mechanisms how st...
Chapter
This case study discusses the application of balanced leadership in Transport for New South Wales in Australia (Transport). It reports on three aspects of balanced leadership in Transport: how decisions are made regarding projects and programs; how leadership shifts between the vertical leader (project or program manager) and horizontal leader (sub...
Chapter
This chapter discusses how leaders are identified in projects. As leaders are also appointed to teams in organizations, the chapter begins with a discussion on the nature of team leadership in organizations. It describes one of the models used for explaining team leadership and its application in an organizational context. The authors then turn to...
Chapter
This chapter discusses how teams are nominated in projects. As teams are also used in organizations, the chapter points out the differences between the characteristics of teams in organizations and those in projects. Projects use different types of teams at different times; the types of teams used in projects and the sequence in which they are acqu...
Chapter
This chapter addresses empowered leadership and its governance. The chapter starts by looking at empowered leadership and its impact on organizational performance and then discusses the factors that positively and negatively influence the role identity of empowered leaders. Subsequently, the authors turn the perspective toward governance and govern...
Chapter
This chapter describes balanced leadership theory. It starts by discussing the need for theories for good practical work. A positioning follows, which locates balanced leadership as a middle-range theory between substantive and grand theories. The chapter continues with some of the required information to make sense of the theory. This includes the...
Chapter
This chapter addresses the coordination between the project manager and project team members during balanced leadership. This coordination takes place through a socio-cognitive space (SCS), consisting of the joint understanding between the project manager and project team about (a) the shared mental model for project execution (i.e., skill needs, w...
Chapter
This chapter addresses horizontal leadership and its scenarios. It starts by looking at what horizontal leadership is, and how horizontal leaders execute their leadership task in the context of balanced leadership. Then, it describes scenarios that occur when horizontal leaders are nominated, identified, selected, and empowered by the project manag...
Chapter
This book has presented a theory of project leadership from the perspective of balancing leadership between the project manager and horizontal leaders. The theory offers an explanation on how the shifting of leadership in projects between formally appointed leaders and project team members occurs, and how social and cognitive structures enable such...
Chapter
This chapter addresses the transition of leadership authority. This event occurs after an empowered leader’s assignment comes to an end. Leadership transition starts with a reflection and decision on the compatibility of the role’s conditions with the empowered leader’s actual behavior. In addition, internal and external contingencies are taken int...
Chapter
This short chapter puts the book’s theme in the context of contemporary thinking, which perceives leadership as a shared experience among members of a community. It then anticipates and discusses some of the critiques that might come up while reading this volume, including the development of leaders in identifying situations for and training the us...
Chapter
This chapter addresses the selection and empowerment event in balanced leadership; that is, when a team member or a subteam is selected and subsequently authorized to temporarily lead the project. The chapter introduces selection and empowerment concepts, first from a general management and then from a project management literature perspective. The...
Article
The complexity, internal and external risks, and significant social impact of megaprojects make their organizational resilience particularly important. To survive potential adversities, megaproject organizational resilience depends on collective mindfulness. Drawing on an attention-based view, this study investigates the mechanisms of collective mi...
Book
This book is about contemporary leadership in projects. It adds two new perspectives to the leadership literature. The first is that of horizontal leadership. This occurs when the project manager empowers a team member to lead the project through a crisis or to solve a particular issue that the project manager might not be able to do. Once the hori...
Article
Balanced leadership has emerged as a contemporary theory of the dynamics in the continuous transfer of leadership authority between project managers and team members in projects. This article addresses the cognitive mechanisms for the coordination of this transfer. Four case studies in three different continents identified the most generic cognitiv...
Article
Based on social comparison theory and organizational justice, this research explores how Guanxi with the horizontal leader (HL) influences coworker turnover intention. We used the snowball sampling method to collect survey data from 203 employees in 22 project teams. Overall, Guanxi with the HL had an indirect influence on turnover intention throug...
Article
This research aims to link leadership and employees' well-being in the architecture, engineering, and construction (A/E/C) industry while focusing on horizontal leadership, which is displayed by subordinates, and job burnout among remaining team members. Based on social information processing theory and conservation of resource theory, we propose a...
Article
Full-text available
This study focuses on crises in megaprojects and on the strategies used to cope with them. The context examined is the Islamabad-Rawalpindi Metro, a megaproject in Pakistan. Our empirical data comprise semistructured interviews, illustrative materials, and archival data, analyzed using grounded theory. In the crisis management model, we divide cris...
Article
Purpose The purpose of this article is to investigate collaboration in project management research. Although the literature shows an increase in collaboration between scientists and social scientists for various reasons, it is unclear how and why such collaboration takes place in project management research. The literature does show that co-authors...
Article
Balanced leadership theory conceptualizes that in projects leadership authority bounces back and forth between different roles in situational contingency, and is controlled by the project manager. One of these roles is the horizontal leader—a team member appointed by the project manager to lead the project through a particular issue or crisis. This...
Conference Paper
This paper proposes a framework developed by the authors to analyze life stories collected from megaproject leaders for a book. From initial themes derived from these stories, the authors found that an analysis framework that takes into account elements of time, space and relationships in the stories could provide a richer analysis facilitating a c...
Conference Paper
This paper proposes a framework developed by the authors to analyze life stories collected from megaproject leaders for a book. From initial themes derived from these stories, the authors found that an analysis framework that takes into account elements of time, space and relationships in the stories could provide a richer analysis facilitating a c...
Article
Denne artikkelen diskuterer hvordan man kan kombinere vertikalt og horisontalt lederskap effektivt i prosjekter, altså hvordan lederskapet i prosjektet kan skifte mellom teammedlemmer og den formelt utpekte prosjektlederen avhengig av situasjonens krav. Vi konseptualiserer denne kombinasjonen av vertikalt og horisontalt lederskap som balansert lede...
Article
Full-text available
Editorial We continue our series of editorials to provide authors with guidance for future submissions to Project Management Journal ® (PMJ). Earlier editorials in this series addressed the need for a theoretical contribution, requirements for reporting quantitative and qualitative studies, and guidelines for literature reviews. This editorial focu...
Article
Despite cost and schedule overruns and benefits shortfalls, megaprojects (which are large-scale projects that typically cost over a billion dollars and take years to develop and build) continue to be promoted and built creating a mega-project paradox. Prominent megaproject scholar Bent Flyvbjerg (2014) argued that this could be motivated by four 's...
Conference Paper
This study identifies how project managers make sense of their projects. In this article, we first organize the sensemaking literature into two streams of research: sensemaking concepts and processes. Second, we synthesize into a research agenda by selecting project management articles on sensemaking, analyzing the sensemaking processes they follow...
Conference Paper
In answering the question who is a legitimate stakeholder at the table of negotiations about Grand Challenges, this paper sees legitimacy as rooted in humanity which is expressed through purposeful speech and action (Arendt); a deeply rooted reverence for agential values and internal discourse (Nietzsche's noble man); echoing ideals (Blanchot); and...
Chapter
This chapter applies a systems lens to the governance of projects, megaprojects (which are major undertakings, typically in infrastructure development), and Organizational Project Management (OPM), which is the integration of all project-related activities in an organization. The chapter provides an overview of systems thinking in the governance li...
Article
Purpose Followership is the free will recognition of leadership in the commitment toward realization of the collectively adopted organization vision and culture. The purpose of this paper is to identify the relationship between project managers’ leadership and their followership. Most project managers are both leaders and followers at the same time...
Article
Through an exploratory multiple-case study in the context of project-based organizations in China, this study aims to identify the antecedents that facilitate three prevalent types of ambidexterity, namely, structural, sequential, and contextual ambidexterity. To understand and theorize on this phenomenon, seven case studies with 76 qualitative int...
Article
It is important that an organization selects the right projects and carefully manages and governs them to deliver their intended benefits. This paper will describe a model for Organizational Project Management (OPM) to help organizations to do that. OPM is the integration of all project management-related activities of an organization linking strat...
Book
This concise text introduces an integrated view of all project management-related activities in an organization, called Organizational Project Management (OPM). The reader will learn how separate organizational functions, such as project, program and portfolio management and governance integrate in a cohesive manner. The book describes how differen...
Article
This paper examines how to design project control modes to improve knowledge integration under different types of uncertainty. Uncertainty can be the precondition of project control choice, and it gives rise to the differing relations between project control (behavior, outcome, clan and self) and knowledge integration. We have conducted a multiple...
Article
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate the triadic relationship between project workspace (i.e. spatial context), project type and project manager’s leadership style. It develops the concept of leadership construct (i.e. mental models of leadership to predispose the way leadership is performed) to explain related preferences for worksp...
Article
Full-text available
Considerable confusion prevails in the mutual positioning and relationship of concepts like management, leadership, governance and governmentality in projects. This article first develops a framework to distinguish these terms conceptually by use of Archer's structure and human agency philosophy. This provides for clearer conceptualization and less...
Article
The contemporary discourse on organizational project management (OPM) complements project, program, and portfolio management with emerging elements, such as governance, projectification, the project management office (PMO), and organizational design. This creates the need for an integrated model that defines the content and roles in OPM. This artic...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, we discuss differences among risk, crisis, and disaster. These concepts are commonly and interchangeably used but are conceptually different from each other. It is pivotal to understand their differences in order to manage them. Within each of these concepts, the paper offers an overview of the literature, particularly the definition...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose Silencing behavior among project team members (PTM) poses a potential threat to project results. Hence, breaking silence in projects is critical to motivate team members and beneficial for project outcomes. The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between transformational leadership (TL) of project manager (PM) and silence...
Article
Horizontal leadership is temporary and often short-term compared with vertical leadership. Therefore, the role identity of horizontal leaders' is more difficult to be legitimated. In this study, we investigated how different factors interact and work in concert to influence horizontal leaders' role identity (hereafter, HLs' role identity). A sequen...
Article
Full-text available
The second article in a series of editorials designed to provide authors with guidance for future submissions to PMJ
Method
Full-text available
Method
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Method
Full-text available
This is the second in a series of editorials designed to provide authors with guidance for future submissions to Project Management Journal® (PMJ). We started this series in the October issue of PMJ (volume 49, issue 5) by outlining the lack of theoretical contribution as one of the main reasons for submission rejection. We also provided a few reco...
Conference Paper
The current discourse on organizational project management (OPM) focuses mainly on the integration of project, program and portfolio management, and ignores the contributions of other organizational entities and tasks to OPM. This paper overcomes this shortcoming by taking an organization theory perspective to develop and validate a seven layer "on...
Conference Paper
Project performance is influenced by the project sponsor's communication and relationship with the project manager, the client, and other project stakeholders. This study investigates project sponsor support for project management in organizations and attempts to determine if there is a relationship with project success. We adopted a quantitative a...
Conference Paper
This study identifies the knowledge governance mechanisms for knowledge processes in the realm of projects. We examined knowledge governance mechanisms in terms of knowledge sharing, integration, creation in project-based organizations respectively. The results indicate that different knowledge processes, knowledge characteristics and types calls f...
Article
Governance ist zu einem beliebten Thema in projektbasierten Organisationen geworden. Als eigenständiges Strukturkonzept konzeptualisiert es jedoch die Lenkung von Organisationen nur unzureichend, weil eine ausgleichende menschliche Dimension benötigt wird, damit der Wert dieses Konzepts erzielt werden kann.
Article
The purpose of this paper is to conceptualize temporary organizing as a practopoietic system. We critically review the current conceptualizations of projects; from the traditional project management perspective, and the temporary organization perspective using a systems approach. By juxtaposing the characteristics of the project with a system, we a...
Research
The purpose of this paper is to conceptualize temporary organizing as a practopoietic system. We critically review the current conceptualizations of projects; from the traditional project management perspective, and the temporary organization perspective using a systems approach. By juxtaposing the characteristics of the project with a system, we a...
Article
The purpose of this article is to organize this literature, which will facilitate a systematic investigation of work motivation in temporary organizations. First, we highlight the limitations of current theoretical lenses of work motivation specific to temporary organizations. Second, we synthesize three major theories-Event-Systems (E-S) theory, S...
Article
Using the framework of balanced leadership in projects, we explore how horizontal leadership is governed. Previous research in project governance has focused on control and trust as the main mechanisms of governance. We apply this approach to the leadership field and investigate the nature of governance of temporary horizontal leaders in projects t...
Article
Purpose The purpose of this paper is twofold: to identify how horizontal leaders (within project teams) execute their leadership task in the context of balanced leadership; and to pinpoint scenarios that can occur when horizontal leaders are identified and empowered by the vertical leader (senior or project managers) and a project task is handed ov...
Conference Paper
Balanced leadership has recently been identified as an important new leadership theory for projects. The present study is a first quantitative investigation for the validation of two of its major components, namely horizontal leadership and its regulating mechanism called socio-cognitive space. 174 responses to a worldwide survey were analyzed usin...
Article
Leadership in projects can shift between the project manager (a.k.a. vertical leadership) and one or more team members (a.k.a. horizontal leadership). Our study examines the processes, dimensions, and conditions for empowerment of project team members to temporarily assume leadership of project processes. Twenty interviews were conducted in 10 orga...
Technical Report
This white paper summarizes the various conceptual, qualitative and quantitative studies performed in the research program on balanced leadership in projects, done between December 2015 and December 2017. Nine country teams with 22 researchers performed 54 case studies, including 278 interviews, and one global survey with 174 responses. Results pro...
Article
This paper develops a framework for understanding the interaction between person-centered leadership by project managers (a.k.a. vertical leadership (VLS)) and team-centered leadership by individuals in the project team (a.k.a. horizontal leadership (HSL)). It builds on Archer's Realist Social Theory and its morphogenetic cycle, which describes the...
Chapter
Full-text available
The purpose of this chapter is to propose an approach to structure literature review along robust theoretical lenses leading to conceptualization of work motivation in case of temporary organizations. The chapter is in response to studies calling for a “seamless” theory of work motivation spanning across different management disciplines, without be...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The purpose of this paper is to conceptualize temporary organizing using a systems perspective. We argue that while traditional project management has characteristics of an autopoietic system, temporary organization is an allopoietic system, and temporary organizing is a practopoietic system. Building on the concept of practopoietic system, we then...
Article
Balanced leadership in projects describes the dynamic transition of leadership authority between the project manager and one or more team members. Within this concept, the present study investigates the context, criteria, and processes for identifying project team members as candidates for the role of horizontal leader. Five case studies, followed...
Chapter
Introduction This chapter focuses on defining and making sense of what organizational project management (OPM) is through the lens of integration. In this chapter we share our views on how we understand and define OPM so that the authors who have collaborated with us in this book are not only able to understand and critique our view, but can also d...
Chapter
Full-text available
Introduction Leadership is an interpersonal, person-oriented, social influence (Endres & Weibler, 2016), which guides in direction, course, action, and opinion (Bennis & Nanus, 1985). To that end, it is different from management, which is task oriented in the sense of bringing about or accomplishing something, being responsible for, or conducting s...