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Sample Masters Project Management Full Dissertation

Published by at December 12th, 2022 , Revised On February 2, 2024

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Assessing the Project Management Styles of Non- Profit Organisation and How It Impacts the Overall Business Operations

Executive Summary

Non-profit organisations are mainly involved in development projects. Since the 1980s, the number of projects for the development of countries has increased, promoted by different donors, countries, and organisations but not always in a coordinated way. The main aim of the research will be to understand the project management styles from the perspective of non-profit organisations, which mainly influence the business’s operations.

There were three components of management styles that can have an impact of operational performance of an organisation, the three components of the management style includes adaptability, ability and communication, the interviews conducted in the research suggested that three components are important for managers to manage the operational performance of an organisation.

In contrast, the questionnaire survey indicated a strong relation between the components of the management styles and the performance of an organisation. Therefore, it is recommended that the company focus on infusing the characteristics of the mentioned components in the management of the organisation. The training and development of the managers can also be essential.


1.1 Research Background

Non-for profit organisations are mainly involved in development projects. Since the 1980s, the number of projects for the development of countries has increased, promoted by different donors, countries, and organisations but not always in a coordinated way (Golini, Kalchschmidt, and Landoni, 2015).

It has led to the formulation and execution of projects to reduce poverty, restore post-conflict damage, and guarantee access to basic services for vulnerable populations, among others, with funds acquired from donors of different classes (Arvidson and Lyon, 2014).

These projects, called Development Projects, are developed in complex environments influenced by political, social, and economic interests that make them difficult to manage (Edwards and Hulme, 2014). In my opinion the NGOs prevailing in the world are often become a victim of allegations that the NGOs are utilizing the aid and income of the company for sinister agendas, due to which the credibility of an NGO is compromised.

Unlike the usual companies the criteria of assessment of an organisation can be different therefore project management styles must be analysed to determine ways in which the operations of the company can be identified.   According to Fowler, (2013)many of these projects have been executed in a disorganised manner due to which there have been multiple failuresleading to underperformance of projects and NGOs.

One of the most common mistakes of organisations is to seek as project managers professionals who have the technical ability to generate designs, methodologies and develop a deliverable that is closely related to the purpose of the project, but lacks the skills to manage the developmental projects. The author argued that an adequate project management methodology and relevant practices may help NGOs execute more structured and organised (Van Dooren and Van de Walle, 2016).

To optimize resources, improve the performance of projects, and obtain concrete and effective results, some organisations stood up to create specialized guides for project management, particularly in the area of ​​development projects based on the guidelines of.

These project development methodologies include the Project Management for Non-Governmental Organisations (PM4NGOS) and the Project Management for Development Projects (PM4DEV) and others (Carnochan, et al., 2014). There are also guides and different levels of knowledge certification that qualify the project manager, with sufficient capacities to manage developmental projects.

According to the information on the official website of PM4NGOS, more than 10,000 project managers have the PMD Pro certification globally, which is a very small number compared to the number of project managers working on development projects (Ramadan and Borgonovi, 2015).

These guides present the same good project management practices that the PMI describes, mainly, adding the Logical Framework and the tree of analysis to the good practices of modern project management (Golini, Kalchschmidt, and Landoni, 2015).

Golini and Landoni, (2014) interviewed 500 project managers who worked with NGOs from five continents. It was identified that there are different levels of adoption of practices in modern project management. It was identified that there are widely used practices, such as the Logical Framework, but some more complex tools such as the work breakdown structure (WBS), the critical path method, the earned value method, among others, are less used.

The organisations were classified by the increase in the adoption of practices in project management, identifying that those that have greater increase in the adoption of practices are the ones that use more tools for their projects. Additionally, it is evident as a common factor that organisations with projects lasting more than 19 months have more adoption practices in project management concerning organisations that manage projects of a shorter duration (Harangozó and Zilahy, 2015).

On the other hand, this study concludes that the tools used are chosen because of the importance given by project managers to the objectives and goals to be achieved in the projects. It was also identified that in organisations where the adoption of project management practices is limited, knowledge of these techniques is recognized, so it can be presumed that limited use is related to low knowledge in the practices suggested by the PMI and the IPMA as the main reference organisations in modern project management (Ramadan and Borgonovi, 2015).

According to the survey done by Briere et al, there are number of factors that defines the successful operations and performance of NGOs which includes management skills, project management characteristic, change management, personal qualities, adaptability, communication skills, leadership, ethics and use of local abilities (Briere et al 2015)

1.2 Problem Statement

Project managers must have an efficient set of skills and competencies to succeed in long-term or short-term projects. However, lack of viable knowledge, skills, techniques, and management styles may lead to the failure of projects that can boost organisational performance (Bevilacqua et al., 2014).

Project management styles are considered the most important selection to be made by project managers to establish sound planning, designing, resourcing, implementing, and evaluating that can bring the success to the organisation.

In the context of NGO sector of UK, the project management skills, knowledge, styles, and competencies vary significantly compared to any profitable organisation. This is because NGOs are operated without any government interventions, therefore project managers of NGOs require expert and professional set of skills and styles to match with the nature of organisation and work to increase the profitability and operations of the organisation (Arendse, 2013).

1.3 Rationale of the Study

With the increasing importance of effective project management styles and the scope in various organizations, profitable and non-profitable organisations have searched for effective project managers to have sufficient and viable knowledge and competencies and bring success to the organisation (Denhardt, Denhardt and Aristigueta, 2012).

However, it has been identified that there is a lack of studies in project management and its implication in the NGO sector. Keleckaite (2015) identified that project managers with advanced and professional project management styles can increase company operations and performance. Therefore, the main purpose for selecting this particular topic is to identify the impact of project management styles on operations of NGOs.

1.4 Research Aim and Objectives

The main aim of the research will be to understand the project management styles from the perspective of non-profit organisations, which mainly influences the business’s operations. The objectives of the study will be as follows,

  • To understand the concept and significance of understanding project management styles
  • To assess the project management styles of NGOs which influences the operations of the business
  • To suggest strategies for business operations concerning recommending appropriate project management styles

1.5 Research Hypothesis questions

H1: Effective project management styles have a significant effect on business performance and operations of NGO sector

H0: Effective project management styles do not have a significant effect on business performance and operations of NGO sector

1.6 Structure of the Study

Chapter 1- Introduction (research background, rationale, aim, and objectives)

Chapter 2 – Literature Review (review related to study variables and third relationship: project management in NGOs, Performance Measurement)

Chapter 3 – Methodology: explanation of research design and justification of all decisions

Chapter 4: Primary Research Results (Wuestionnaire and Interviews)

Chapter 5 – Conclusions and Recommendations


2.1 Introductions

This chapter presents review of literature to explore the variables in the study and present a summary of existing studies relevant to the research objectives and questions. The chapter begins with exploring various project management methodologies specifically designed for NGOs and development projects.

The literature then continues to report literature on performance of NGO operations. Finally the review ends with critically analysing impact of project management on performance of NGO business operations performance.

2.2 Project Management Styles in NGOs

2.2.1 PM4NGOS

In early 2007, several NGOs, including Save the Children, Oxfam, Care, World Vision, Habitat for Humanity, CRS, International Plan, Mercy Corps, etc., requested LINGOs. This organisation specializes in capacity development of NGOs, which will develop appropriate learning material for project management for the NGO sector (Brière, et al., 2015).

Thanks to a fund from the Project Management Institute, LINGOs established a working group of NGO specialists. After consulting it, they concluded that current forms of work in the sector were inadequate. The group explored ideas and approaches, identified learning objectives, and developed a study scheme for a new Project Management course. This would set standards and a common language for project management in the NGO sector around the world (Farrington and Lewis, 2014).

Instead of launching a traditional training program (needing the support of consultants), LINGOS opted for an innovative multilayer approach that could be adapted to a wide variety of needs. Free and online learning tools and materials were developed for project managers around the world.

Organisations dedicated to training, such as LINGOs, could use the curriculum to develop tailored project management solutions for several NGOs, governments and civil society groups (Ayre and Callway, 2013). Fundamentally, the new approach would allow project managers to gain qualified recognition.

After attending an introductory training course, project managers could study on their own and examine themselves online. To facilitate this, LINGOs partnered with APMG International, to help with the design and certification process (Fabricius, et al., 2013).

2.2.2 Logical Framework Analysis for NGOs

The logical framework method (LFA) bases the content of a large part of the forms used by the various donor organisations, including the Project Fund, the Danida instance for the financing of individual projects, the funds for the international cooperation of the European Union and the World Bank, etc.

LFA has been created to support the planning and execution of development projects, that is, activities designed to achieve specific goals, within a defined budget and over a set period (Balboa, 2014). It has been criticized for being rigid and simplistic and focusing on problems rather than opportunities.

Certainly the method has its limitations. It should complement other approaches to strengthen relations between partners, organisational development, visions / future scenarios, and processes that go beyond the project (Badewi, 2016).

It is beyond the scope of this guide to examine supplementary or alternative approaches. However, towards the end, other tools and methodologies will be briefly reviewed concerning the various websites for further introduction or detail (Plummer, 2013).

A project must be formulated clearly. It makes it easier for the donor to understand why the project is necessary and justified. In addition, the partner is very convenient (Schäffner, Tcaciuc, and Tesseur, 2014). The more explicit and direct the project’s exposure, the better the organisations can carry it out and evaluate it, both on the way and at the end.

For the formulation of the project to comply with this, it is necessary to go deeper into various aspects. This guide aims to illustrate the necessary analyzes and elucidate essential characteristics of the formulation phase (Ofori, 2013).

It should be noted that this guide does not constitute a “universal recipe”, but should be used as an aid to systematically focus on the preparation of the project. It can serve as reference work, inspiring the diverse processes that converge in creating a project.

During execution, the LFA must be used dynamically, as a tool for continuous monitoring and the adjustments required along the way. Both in the planning and the execution of the project, the key is to make conscious and well-considered decisions (Edwards and Hulme, 2014).

In the elaboration of a project, it is important to incorporate and reflect on the priorities of the Danish organisation, its counterpart in the South, and the donor. The participation of the partner of the developing country, during all stages of formulation, ensures that their knowledge is used and that they “appropriate” the intervention. In turn, by considering the donor’s requirements and priorities, the grant for the project will be more likely to be approved (Lewis, 2014).

2.3 Business Operations Performance in NGOs

Although not the only one, one of the main objectives of the business sector is the maximization of the economic benefit. However, management in non-profit entities cannot be evaluated through the obtained profitability, since they usually have different objectives, which in most cases are not even quantifiable.

Therefore, it is necessary to find another way to measure if its management is adequate, which is undoubtedly essential to know if its resources are intended for its purpose (Fowler, 2013). Performance indicators, budgets, etc., are methods already used to measure management in these entities. Still, they have the disadvantage that they require adequate internal information, that is, of cost accounting, and they also need to quantify their outputs, which sometimes is practically impossible.

Within the mandatory financial statements, the companies, including the NGOs, must present the Profit and Loss Account, also called the Income Statement (Golini, Kalchschmidt, and Landoni, 2015). It includes expenses and income accrued during the fiscal year. Therefore, its purpose is to encrypt the profit or loss of the entity in a given period (Edwards and Hulme, 2014).

However, since the purpose of the NGOs is not to obtain profit but to provide its beneficiaries with the greatest amount and quality of services possible, depending on the available resources, the Income Statement does not have the importance it has in profit-making entities. Therefore, given their purposes, what are needed are compliance indicators with the objectives set (Golini and Landoni, (2014).

Another limitation of the Income Statement in these entities is that although it does include most of the inputs or factors, valued by its acquisition price (with certain limitations, such as the work provided by volunteers), it often does not include outputs, when the entity does not receive economic compensation for its activity, so it is not reporting the result obtained (Fowler, 2013).

On the other hand, the format presented by this financial statement is perhaps not the most appropriate for the evaluation of management, since it performs the classification by nature of the expenses, when it would be appropriate to evaluate its management by functions (Bevilacqua et al., 2014).

Given the limitations of the Income Statement and the other, the specificity of the objectives of these entities, for the valuation of the management in the NGOs, the use of indicators is necessary, mainly focused on the study of the study of these entities effectiveness and efficiency.

For this work, effectiveness is the ability to achieve the intended objectives (Arendse, 2013). For its part, efficiency is the quality of achieving what is expected, measuring the result according to the means used, comparing the results obtained with the means used.

Being effective thus means meeting the objectives but without taking into account the resources used. However, given the scarcity of their resources, NGOs must meet the objectives based on their available resources. In our opinion, therefore, efficiency is the measure to be used to evaluate the results of these organisations (Golini, Kalchschmidt, and Landoni, 2015).

Ultimately the objective of the study is to analyze the management of NGOs by using indicators focused mainly on efficiency and show whether said efficiency depends on factors such as the size of the entity, its public or private nature, the composition of its heritage as a source of income, the role of the founder with his contribution, the obligation or not to audit their financial statements, their prestige or track record, the conduct of commercial activities, financing through grants, etc. (Farrington and Lewis, 2014).

In any case, it is very complicated to obtain a global efficiency and much more to measure it, so it is more useful to measure relative efficiencies that allow us to operate with different variables. There are few studies carried out in this regard in the non-profit sector, mainly due to the lack of the necessary data (Arvidson and Lyon, 2014).

This study has used efficiency based indicators for performance measurement of NGOs. The absence of owners in the NGOs does not imply that one of their priority objectives is not the efficiency in the allocation of their resources, on the contrary, the assets placed by the founder in the service of the general interest must be managed efficiently to generate the highest return possible (Fabricius, et al., 2013).

No doubt measuring efficiency in any entity becomes a complicated task. To do this, the output or real production must be compared with the actual inputs or costs sacrificed to obtain them, that is, the results obtained with the means used. The generic formula for efficiency is output divide by input (Van Dooren and Van de Walle, 2016).

This formula is valid in terms of production and cost, see its evolution in an entity for several years, compare it with other entities, put it about its effectiveness looking for a point of balance between both, etc. However, this traditional way of measuring efficiency is not possible, or at least it is a very complicated task, to apply it to the NGOs (Plummer, 2013).

Although the inputs of the process, that is, the costs, could be obtained from the company account, the outputs cannot be measured through the income collected. Still, it would be necessary to introduce social aspects, the social value generated by these entities, etc., which in most cases is not quantifiable. That is why some authors propose to change production or outputs for other concepts more in line with NGOs, such as the economic-social result or social impact (Ofori, 2013).

The first step should therefore be to define how to measure efficiency in terms of the sources of information to be used, that is, on the one hand those that are based mainly on accounting information, and on the other those that try to evaluate organisational efficiency through other qualitative factors (Carnochan, et al., 2014).

However, at this point it is important to address the difficulty involved in the measurement of social or qualitative aspects, which is why the objective of this study, on the other hand, is also a limitation, is to obtain efficiency indicators that use only the information that comes from external accounting, that is, the information that the NGOs make public and that is quantified (Lewis, 2014).

That is why we have opted for a more restrictive concept of efficiency but at the same time more easily quantifiable. In this sense there is no doubt that the use of accounting information is essential for the analysis of any entity, however for NGOs there are some limitations (Ramadan and Borgonovi, 2015):

  • Economic information aimed at profitable entities, not collecting more useful information for NGOs and its donors (information on projects, compliance with qualitative objectives, issues related to social responsibility, etc.)(Harangozó and Zilahy, 2015).
  • The traditional concepts of accounting analysis do not apply to NGOs (economic and financial profitability, creation of value, etc.)(Ramadan and Borgonovi, 2015).

2.4 Impact of Project Management Style on NGO Business Operations

This section aims to review the application of indicators or metrics systems in project management processes, formulating a structure that groups the contributions studied into categories. Most of the applications analyzed have been implemented in the construction and information technology sectors, perhaps the two areas that show the most advances in project management (Edwards and Hulme, 2014).

Other contributions in smaller amounts are found in public development, oil and manufacturing projects, and registering some proposals for generic models. Most indicator structures are organised based on the so-called golden triangle (cost, time, and quality). From this triple set of metrics, the number is extended to other additional categories generated according to the sector, type of project or interests of the authors (Mir and Pinnington, 2014).

Kerzner, (2017)adopts 11 metrics taken from previous studies in which the selection criteria for the US public sector have been analyzed. In his work, he has researched the factors that can affect the performance and success of projects, affirming that measuring the success of projects can be improved through the search for success in the product and the success of the process. Kerznergroups the metrics into four categories:

– Cost (unit cost, cost growth, intensity),

– Time (speed of construction, speed of delivery, program growth),

– Quality (quality of business volume, quality systems, equipment quality),

– Owner (his administrative burdens, the satisfaction of the owners).

Beringer, Jonas, and Kock, (2013) based on data from 800 projects undertaken in developing countries, collect a total of 67 performance indicators to be used in micro projects, grouped into four categories of indicators, which are Time, Cost, Quality, and Organisation and socioeconomic aspects.

According to Rozenes, (2013), there are no universal criteria to measure the success of projects, and suggests that they could be grouped into two broad categories: objective evaluation criteria (which are tangible and measurable such as cost, quality, security and disputes), and the subjective evaluation criteria (intangibles such as customer satisfaction, contractor satisfaction, and the satisfaction of the project management team).

Through surveys of people responsible for construction projects in India, it incorporates suggestions from previous research. It proposes a set of critical factors (commitment, coordination and competence) that affect the performance of the projects. Therefore the categories considered are, time, cost, quality, and disputes.

Kerzner and Kerzner, (2017)developed a model to explain the relationship between performance and characteristics of construction projects, identifying the influence of the latter on the performance of projects. The indicators identified through literature review were classified into two areas, costs (contract cost, final cost and cost increase) and time (growth in programming).

Other proposals found in the literature make contributions from several different traditional categories, including other performance measures for project management. It is considered important to review these contributions since all the factors that can be gathered from them will form the structure proposed with the development of this work (Fowler, 2013).

Harrison and Lock (2017) identify some applicable processes in planning, monitoring, and controlling the projects, which include as a measure of performance the work packages, time and resource plans, and index results of the analysis of the value gained. The author’s proposal seeks to determine the means required to complete the projects quickly and support their implementation activities.

Stewart applying the Balanced Scorecard technique proposes that the minimum measures of a project include four themes: financial, client, internal project / business, and growth / innovation. It also recommends that in case of using the body of knowledge of the Project Management Institute (PMBOK) as a guideline to measure performance, an indicator is designed for each of the outputs of the groups of processes that make up its structure.

Mir and Pinnington, (2014) have studied the use of efficiency indicators and techniques in research and development projects in the industry of Spain, intending to generate contributions that help the directors of this type of initiative.

Although in their presentation they propose specific indicators for this type of projects, some general indicators are presented that can be applied in other environments or industries, with categories such as time (total development, deviations, partial), network (communication, coordination ), cost (of development and deviations) and customer satisfaction.

Mir and Pinnington proposed a performance model with six criteria to evaluate the management of the projects, based on the EFQM model of quality management. This author, through a survey, concludes that the criteria for evaluating performance are related to seven factors: leadership, personnel, strategy, resources, process management and key performance indicators. The latter (KPI) are defined as the ability to develop methods of delivery measurement, benefits, stakeholders and organisational aspects.

Rozenes, (2013)has developed a model of success criteria (results) and success factors (organisational) for six organisational areas, which can be applied in various stages and situations of evaluation and project management. This model is based on the literature has defined six organisational areas on critical success factors: leadership and team, strategy, management of stakeholders, resources, contracting and project management (programming, budget, organisation, quality, information and risks).

The areas identified in the study can be used as performance evaluation categories in project management processes. Rozeneshave developed a web-based system to track performance on construction projects. The system includes eight measurement categories: people, cost, time (deadlines), quality, safety and health, environment (environment), customer satisfaction and communication.

The effectiveness has been evaluated in a case study in Hong Kong, using groups of indicators for each category, which have been adapted from public construction reports. The system has provided utility to detect omissions in the management of the projects and find solutions in the shortest possible time.

Ramadan and Borgonovi, (2015) conducted a study on project management practices in the UK social housing sector, with which they developed a profile of performance factors for projects with five significant themes: efficiency in management, customer orientation and team work, orientation to those involved, control and flexibility.

Ramadan and Borgonovi researched and developed a multidimensional performance evaluation method called “Project Performance Scorecard (PPS)”. The method provides a six-dimensional framework for evaluating projects. These are: project process, benefit, innovation and learning, quality of use, and stakeholder perspectives.

The research study is based on performance literature. The project should be considered in three interconnected aspects: the success of the project, the success of the project management, and the product’s success. Using the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) technique, an approach to measuring the performance of the organisation is presented from four perspectives: financial, customers, business processes and learning.

2.5 Project Manager Competencies

Many studies have been conducted to assess characteristics of project managers that contribute towards success of project. Researchers have often noticed an overlap between leadership characteristics and project managers’ characteristics because role and responsibilities also overlap.

Following are some of the commonly cited characteristics of project managers in NGO sector the table below is a summarry of the competencies formulated by the aurthor regarding he skills required by a project manager.

Competencies related to Project Management Technical Competencies People skills or Soft Skills
(Brière, et al., 2015; Balboa, 2014; Edwards and Hulme, 2014; Golini and Landoni, 2014; Farrington and Lewis, 2014) (Brière, et al., 2015; Ayre and Callway, 2013; Badewi, 2016; Fowler, 2013; Arendse, 2013) (Brière, et al., 2015; Ofori, 2013; Van Dooren and Van de Walle, 2016; Harangozó and Zilahy, 2015; Kerzner, 2017)
  • Knowledge and experience of projectmanagement methodologies
  • Ability to evaluate stakeholders’ interest
  • Ability to evaluate the impact of welfare projects on target group and economy
  • Ability to mobilise and utilise resources
  • Ability to relate project objectives and outcomes to the target group
  • Sustainable development skills
  • Risks management skills
  • Ability to use project methodologies and techniques and tools
  • Ability to use benchmarks for performance management
  • Financial management skills
  • ICT skills
  • Time management skills
  • Budget management skills
  • Communication skills to mobilise relevant actors and authorities in the project
  • Ability to motivate and engage target community
  • Skills to connect and engage with public authorities and other relevant actors and agencies for broader interest of project
  • Negotiation skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Creativity
  • Empathy
  • Cultural intelligence
  • Team management skills
  • Self-control skills

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3.1 Introduction

The initial two chapters of the study have highlighted the background of the research study along with research problem. The researcher had focused on examining the study’s aims and objectives and the significance of the research topic. The following chapter is one of the most important chapters of the study.

It includes discussion regarding how data and relevant information will be obtained. It contains detailed discussion over research design, approaches used and the methods adopted for conducting the research.  The purpose of designing this chapter is to ensure that the aims are achieved and the research questions are answered.

The major chunk of this chapter consists of collection of data, its analysis and how the sample has been gathered. The chapter also emphasizes the use of statistical or non-statistical techniques for the analysis of gathered information.

3.2 Research Philosophy

Research philosophy is also termed as research paradigm by various researchers. There are three segments of research philosophies: realism, positivism and interpretivism. The purpose of using a research philosophy is to know the path that has to be followed during the study.

In the light of the study conducted by Coghlan (2011) positivism is the common approach used by researchers and is used to understand the relationship between independent and dependent variable. Most of the quantitative based studies are conducted using positivist approach.

On the other hand, interpretivism involves the use of existing data and understanding of social external factors. Such studies do not rely over statistical interpretations. Lastly, realism is concerned with real life scenarios and facts and figures. The study is not related with any hypothetical assumptions.

For the following study, both positivism and interpretivism will be used because the research question requires evaluation of impact of project management style on performance of NGOs which fits with positivism philosophy. For this the researcher has developed hypothesis and used quantitative data to test the hypothesis.

On the other hand, the study also aims to explore experiences and opinions of managers regarding impact of project management on performance of NGOs, for which this study used interpretivism.

3.3 Research Approach

Research approach is described as the systematic way of gathering information for analysis and achieving the study’s objectives. Research approach consists of two major segments: deductive and inductive. The researchers use both the approaches. The inductive approach uses existing theories to conclude (Onwuegbuzie and Frels, 2013). It aims to determine the gap that is missing in literature.

Deductive approach is focused over using quantifiable data and focuses over rejecting or accepting the null hypothesis.  Most of the quantitative based studies use deductive approach for analysis. It has also been identified that the researcher emphasizes reaching a conclusion and validating the study’s findings.

Since this study aims to assess the impact of project management on NGO performance and has developed hypothesis, deductive approach is the most suitable for this study.

3.4 Data Collection Methods

This is the most significant part of the research study because data collection is a tedious task for the researcher. Based on the fact that there are two data collection methods, the researcher ensures that the most appropriate method to the research topic is used. The primary data collection method is raw form of data collected for the first time by the researcher specifically for the study (Shepherd and Sutcliffe, 2011, p. 370).

It is a reliable form of data and can be changed by the topic of the study. However, secondary data collection methods cannot be changed into any other form because other researchers already research it. Secondary information is collected from reports and journals and articles. Many scholars have claimed that it is a less time-consuming method and is more reliable and authentic as it has been used for reference by several other researchers.

For primary data this study collected both quantitative and qualitative data. For quantitative data this study used questionnaires. Questionnaire aimed to gather data regarding dependent variable, i.e. NGO performance and independent variables, i.e. project management methodologies for NGOs. The questionnaire contained closed ended questions along with Likert five pointscales to measure study variables quantitatively.

For qualitative data this study used interviews. The main benefit of using interviews is that it enables the researcher to explore experiences and opinions of participants in-depth. The main benefit of individual interviews is that they are easier to conduct and analyse than other methods such as focus groups.

3.5 Research Design

Research design is broken down into three segments: qualitative, mixed and quantitative. Qualitative study is described as the one which uses existing studies for analysis and the information is based over the data collected by other researchers. It does not use any statistical methods for interpretation.

Different sources are used to gather relevant information related to the research topic. Quantitative research design is the most common way of gathering relevant data and identifying the relationship between variables.  Different statistical tools are used to examine and analyse the data. SPSS is one such tool widely incorporated in quantitative studies (Neume and Robson, 2014).

Respondents feel that it is a reliable method of conducting research. Instruments which are used to gather data are survey questionnaire and focus groups. In addition to this, researchers have been using another method of analysis mixed method of research design. It uses both qualitative and quantitative methods of research to achieve the aims and objectives of the study. The researcher has to adopt primary ways of data collection as well as secondary ways.

For the following study, since the study aims to analyse the impact of project management on NGO performance and the study is based on positivism and interpretivism, most suitable design is mixed design. Mixed design allows the researcher to collect qualitative and quantitative data and triangulate results to maximize reliability and validity.

The survey questionaire will be based upon the competencies of the project managers where the survey questions will be relvant to the skills and knowledge of a project manager. The questions asked from the respondents will provide the factors that make the competencies of the individuals to be significant and can these competencies can affect the operational performance of NGOs.

3.6 Types of Investigation

Types of investigation reveal the ways through which investigation is conducted. There are three types of investigation in research methods: explanatory, exploratory and descriptive. Explanatory research is described as the simplest method of investigation cause and affect between two existing variables is tested.

It is important to identify that the variables that are used should have impact of one on another. It is usually used in quantitative studies. But the researchers also use exploratory research to identify information regarding the research problem or the gap found in the literature. It is usually used to combat the research issue and design a specific hypothesis (Yin, 2013).

Most of the exploratory studies are conducted for those research topics which are not yet studied or researched by any other researcher. Another method of investigation used is descriptive. The purpose of descriptive research is to find the characteristics of many aspects of the study in detail. Descriptive research studies are mostly conducted in quantitative studies where demographic analysis is also done. Similarly, all three types of investigation methods are important.

For the following study, the researcher will use an exploratory method of investigation because various descriptive studies already exist regarding the relationship between project management methodologies and organisational performance. Still, this study applied the same within the context of NGOs specifically and thus explored the relationship within non-for profit companies.

3.7 Sampling Methods

Sampling methods are described as the way of selecting participants for obtaining relevant information. Sampling methods are broken down into probability and non-probability. There are further many divisions in probability method such as stratified, simple random and systematic sampling.

On the other hand, non-probability method is broken down into snowball, convenience and judgemental (Palinkas et al, 2013). Probability sampling is where an equal chance of selection is given whereas in non-probability method, selection is done based on judgements.

Random technique of sampling involves selection of participant through random way without showing any biasness. In snowball technique, participants suggest other participant for selection but in convenience or judgemental technique, the selection is done through special characteristics.

For the following study, the researcher will use non-probability and convenience sampling because, there is a huge target population. The researcher is unable to access all participants and provide equal opportunities for participation. In addition, the researcher used convenience sampling method because this technique allows the researcher to reach participants in the nearest vicinity and as per convenience of the researcher.

3.8 Sample Size

Sample size is described as the number of respondents or objects used for the study for analysis. During the data collection process, the researcher has to ensure that he can keep a set number of sizes for his study to validate and authenticate the results (Pickard, 2012). The sample size of the study should always be large enough to receive desired results. This researcher collected 30 surveys and 10 interviews.

3.9 Data Analysis Technique

Data analysis technique is the way through which the data is evaluated and analysed. There are different techniques for different research designs.  Thematic analysis, content analysis, descriptive analysis, and correlation and regression are some of the analysis techniques. Statistical techniques will be used to analyse quantitative data.

The main benefit of statistical techniques is that they are highly verifiable and provide objective results. For qualitative data, this study used thematic analysis technique. The main benefit of thematic analysis is that it enables researcher to identify several themes and search most relevant information in transcripts using those themes. Thematic analysis is considered to be a commonly used technique in qualitative studies.

3.10 Ethical Considerations

The researcher had signed a consent form from the participants. The researcher had ensured to sign a consent form from the participants. The consent form mentioned that respondents can skip any question if they feel that they violate their values or religious beliefs. The respondents were asked to quit from the study at any moment they wish. The respondents are allowed to question the researcher if they do not understand the research topic or the purpose of conducting the study.

3.11 Limitations of the Study

Following are the limitations faced during the study:

  • Limited time for collecting information
  • Limited budget as all activities could not be easily carried out
  • It was difficult for researcher to access some articles as they required special access password
  • Respondents were showing reluctance in sharing their opinion
  • Geographic limitation for gathering relevant data
  • Large pool of data was not collected as respondents were not ready to share personal experiences related to research topic.

3.12 Further definitionof management style – our conceptual framework

The concept of management style is covered in the literature review, but the author still considers it a somewhat vague definition and area. To scope our study and narrow it down we choose to define management style as the result of competences deployed by the project manager (as defined by Briere et al, 2015). This is an approximation and an assumption, but we consider it a plausible one.From her article we choose three of the competence areas out of four that has most impact (Briere et al, p120), namely:

  • adaptability,
  • span of abilities, and
  • communication

We decide to skip “management skills” as we consider it covered by the other three competences and an area thoroughly research in other theses and the literature in general. In the table below, we divide management style into these three competences, or components, and then divide each of them further into what Briere calls “details”.

Components of “Management Style” Adaptability Span of abilities Communication
Logistic aspects Areas of expertise Writing
Cultural differences Project management Listening
Tools used International Development Oral expression
Intercultural Dispute resolution


4.1 Introduction

It has been identified that in South Africa, the project managers were unable to understand employees’ local culture and were unable to communicate with them effectively. This resulted in number of conflicts and disputes amongst the employees. Foreign managers therefore were finding it difficult to manage the local culture of employees.

Moreover, the project managers at South Africa lack adaptability and do not have effective communication skills and abilities to manage employees, thus affecting the overall performance and operations of NPOs. This chapter is considered the main chapter of the research project in which, the researcher is intended to highlight the main findings of the study.

Moreover, the researcher is also intended to discuss the findings obtained through primary and secondary data analysis techniques, with each research objective. This helps provide effective recommendations to NPOs and other future researchers focused on extending this research project.

We will center the analysis around our conceptual framework of components as defined in chapter 3.12:

Components of “Management Style” Adaptability Abilities Communication
Logistic aspects Areas of expertise Writing
Cultural differences Project management Listening
Tools used International Development Oral expression
Intercultural Dispute resolution

4.2 Qualitative Analysis

The qualitative analysis in research refers to analyzing the research problem based on subjective information acquired from participants related to the particular case. The qualitative analysis in this research has been carried out based on interviews and responses gathered from these interviews.

The technique utilized here for the analysis of interview responses is a thematic analysis which is helpful in divided each interview question based on different themes that address research questions and aim and objectives of the study. The thematic analysis of the study has been carried out as follows:

1)  Adaptability

As per adaptability, project managers of different NPOs were approached and interviewed regarding the adaptability of their organisation and team members. These participants were asked to comment on their team members’ adaptability regarding their abilities to manage and accept the change within an organisational practice. For this, one of the respondents replied as follows:

‘We are a team and believe that whatever the company experiences, we all are equally responsible to adapt, encourage and motivate each other. Whenever the organisation undergoes any change process, we all conduct meetings and suggest opinions to the upper management. As a project manager, I believe that communication can help in overcoming any situation. However, in some circumstances, when the company experience sudden staff resignation, we try our best to retain our talented employees while focusing on hiring new and talented employees.’

From the response mentioned above, it can be noted that the project managers at NPOs consider adaptability as the main competency that can help in maintaining integrity within the organisation and influence others to perform their tasks well.

The response also declared that the project managers at NPOs consider communication and adaptability to help employees and team members remain dedicated to their work. However, in any unusual circumstance, the project manager can think about the future and learn from their mistakes to avoid them in the future. Regarding adaptability, one of the respondents also replied as follows:

‘Project managers learn from the past and believe what’s gone is gone, but we can avoid it in future. An NPO is an organisation that is open towards very unusual and uncertain situations while it depends on how we overcome these problems and learn from our mistakes. We plan for backups. If any uncertain situation occurs, I normally avoid those mistakes in future and try to learn from them.’

The response mentioned above also depicted the same results. It can be said that the project managers at NPO are more prone towards planning for backups. They believe that a project manager is in the constant learning process. It is their responsibility to have prior thinking of what could next in the success of their career and the organisation.

for this purpose, project managers plan for backup, believe in valuing what has been done and focus on what could be done next to avoid this in future. Hence, it can be said by evaluating these responses that in the context of an NPO, it can be said that the adaptability is considered as the main competency of a project manager.

2)  Abilities

The study of Brière et al. (2015) has revealed that a project manager’s interpersonal skills and competencies in an NPOare considered to be advantageous for the organisation, team members, and the project manager himself. For this notion, one of the interview respondents replied as follows:

‘Being a part of the NPO, we have been facing several challenges while it is out constant struggle to maintain integrity and dignity within the organisation. In an organisational setting, we need to remain silent on occasions where we deny with an opinion, we must be able to work when distributed in teams. We must have effective communication skills and knowledge and must be able to resolve conflicts in the organisation. Our organisation includes various people, belonging to different cultures and social backgrounds, bringing numerous creative and innovative ideas to serve people and humanity. But sometimes, these differences result in conflicts between people. Therefore, to avoid these conflicts, we conduct meetings, talk face to face with employees and provide training to all the employees to enhance their communication and other interpersonal skills.’

From the response mentioned above, it has been identified that interpersonal skills are considered the core for any manager and leader of the company. The response shows that conflict resolution, communication, culture management, and listening to employees are considered best ways to lead an organisation while valuing employees. Another respondent replied:

‘The project managers are required to remain calm and contended when evaluating a particular phenomenon. To meet organisational challenges and research objectives, it is necessary to value our employees and their concerns through effective collaboration and listening. Moreover, I believe that being a project manager requires expertise in resolving organisational issues and conflicts and having excellent critical and analytical skills. In this way, the manager can consider organisational problems in different ways and brainstorm new solutions for a specific problem.’

From the response mentioned above, it has been identified that project managers in the organisation are responsible for maintaining integrity and value employees. This is because it has been identified from Badewi (2016) study that project managers are needed to have effective leadership qualities to lead employees to correct direction.

This can also be reflected from the responses mentioned above and declared that critical thinking and valuing the culture of each employee helps bring success to the organisation. Furthermore, it has further been analyzed that the analytical thinking is also rated important for project managers that help employees follow a correct path to the success.

One of the respondents replied:

‘When talking about international and private NGOs, it must be noted here the main difference can be seen in terms of technical and leadership qualities of the leaders leading the firm. In the private sector, the technical competencies are far less focused while compared to international NGOs. Furthermore, I believe that whether an international or private sector, it is necessary that employees must be able to be technologically competent.

The stakeholders of NPO can be its clients, society, public and the government bodies. However, the changes in government regulation can affect the company policies. Therefore, we need to stay in touch with employees, the board of directors, and other stakeholders to stay in touch with them and help them meet organisational goals.’

When interviewees were inquired regarding the leadership qualities that are necessary for an NPO, following response has been recorded:

‘A project manager is a leader who leads employees to follow a correct path. When a new technology is introduced in an organisation, I conduct meetings, introduce the technology with my team members and arrange learning and innovative culture to provide training in new technology. Moreover, I believe that the communication is the key to success I always make sure to maintain effective communication with my employees and inquire about their concerns. In the same context, an NPO is a combination of various people with a variety of beliefs and competencies. At the same time, we are responsible to help them in outshining their qualities while relating them with the organisational objectives. In this way, our employees feel a part of the organisation and results in less employee turnover.’

From the response, it can be said that the project managers interviewed in the study are more likely to be effective leaders in their respective organisations because they maintain effective communication with employees and try to arrange training for employees as well.

According to the study of Carnochan et al. (2014), it has been identified that employees in an organisation require training and development while it is the responsibility of managers and their leaders to increase their motivation levels and to meet organisational goals. From the response mentioned above, it is evident that the project managers help increase the employees’ motivation levels and work for organisational benefits.

3) Communication

As per communication, one of the respondents replied as follows:

I believe that effective project manager is the one who has excellent writing and listening skills. The one leader who believes in listening to the employees and guiding them to the correct path is the most efficient. In my opinion, listening is more important than any other skills in the communicational context.

From the response, it can be said that the respondent believes that effective communication can be termed as good writing and listening skills. Being a part of NPO requires effective communication skills, while listening is considered more important than any other communication skills. In the same context, another respondent replied as follows:

Apart from verbal communication, oral expressions and gestures also define how efficiently a project manager can communicate. Therefore, I believe that oral expressions are also one of the most crucial communication skills a good project manager needs. Furthermore, a good project manager also needs to have competencies of managing disputes and conflicts within employees.

From the statement as mentioned earlier, it can be said that the project managers in the NGO are considered to be having effective communication skills that distinguish them from managers in international or private NGOs. Furthermore, the response mentioned above shows that the project managers need to maintain effective communication with the employees and other connected people.

Moreover, it has further been emphasized in the study that the communication is important when it comes to maintaining the effective relationship with the people connected with each other in an organisational context. Therefore, it can be said that the communication of project management in a NPOs are considered significant.

4.3 Results from the survey

It has been identified by Sekaran and Bougie (2016) that the correlation tests are one of the best ways to identify the relationship between the independent and dependent variable of the study. The correlation is a statistical method used to detect the association between the main aspects of the research project under study. In this research project, we have a small sample that will complement the interviews.

For this purpose, a survey questionnaire of 10 questions was distributed amongst 30 employees of NPOs to obtain their views regarding the overall project management practices of the project managers. It has been identified by Sekaran and Bougie (2016) that the correlation tests are one of the best ways to identify the relationship between the independent and dependent variable of the study. Following table has been obtained with the help of correlation analysis

Results from the survey

1)  Adaptability

The figure as mentioned above suggests that there is 98.6% relationship between the adaptability on the performance and operations of NPOs. This is because the Pearson Correlation value in the table mentioned above is 0.986. Moreover, the sig value of 0.000 depicts that there exists the relationship between the two variables.

Hence, by reviewing these figures, it can be said that there is a strong and positive relationship between the adaptability of project managers of the selected NPOs on the performance of their non-profitable organisations.

2)      Abilities

The figure mentioned above suggests that there is 80.3% relationship between the abilities on the performance and operations of NPOs. This is because the Pearson Correlation value in the table mentioned earlier is 0.803. Moreover, the sig value of 0.000 depicts that there exists the relationship between the two variables.

Hence, by reviewing these figures, it can be said that there is a strong and positive relationship between the abilities of project managers of the selected NPOs on the performance of their non-profitable organisations.

3)  Communication

The figure mentioned above suggests that there is 98.9% relationship between the communication on the performance and operations of NPOs. This is because of the fact that the Pearson Correlation value in the above-mentioned table has been found out to be 0.989.

Moreover, the sig value of 0.000 depicts that there exists the relationship between the two variables. Hence, by reviewing these figures, it can be said that there is a strong and positive relationship between communications of project managers of the selected NPOs on the performance of their non-profitable organisations.

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5.1 Introduction of the Chapter

This chapter is the last chapter of the research. This chapter provides the conclusion and recommendation of all the findings and information obtained in this research. This research will first provide the summary of all the findings of the research, further this chapter will provide recommendations which can be used by non -profit organisation to develop or incorporate an appropriate management style that can help the companies towards their overall business operations. Further this research will also contain the future implication using which the researchers can conduct more research on the topic which will be an addition to the research findings supporting its extension.

5.2 Summary of the Research

The primary aim of the research was to analyze the management style incorporated by non-profit organisations and how it affects the overall operations of the business. However, the research has further objectives that help the researcher derive findings for the primary research topic. In order to derive out the findings, the researchers have used a mixed research design in which qualitative and quantitative research design were both used for  collection and analysis of primary data collected through personal interviews and survey questionnaire.

looking at the findings of the research by reviewing the literature it can be identified that operations of a non-profit organisations are dissimilar to the operations of a contemporary organisation, one of the key difference in managing the operations of NGOs and other organisations is the defining the indicators. Unlike the usual organisation NGOs focus is not towards the profitability of the business, however it the expenditures made by the company are for the services they usually provide, to the ones in need.

The models used for the assessment of the usual organisations cannot be applied for the assessment for the Non-profit organisations, therefore there was need of an alternate strategy to assess the performance of the NGOs, therefore the key performance indicators of the does not include profits in organisation, however in order to set the performance indicators the , the NGOs shifted their focus towards the internal systems and processes of the organisation which focused on determining that the resources provided to the company are efficiently used without any room for spending money excessively.

This required the NGOs to focus on their cost accounting and internal processes carrying out different company operations. The alternative that is considered appropriate for measuring an organization’s performance is the project management style. This suggests that a project management assessment style can be used to measure the performance of NGOs, since a projects failure or success can rely on different factors other than its profitability.

The conceptual framework that was followed in the research was relevant to the management style that can effectively manage the operations of non-profit organisations; the conceptual framework of the study included three components of a management style: adaptability, ability, and communication.

The first component of the management style is the adaptability in which the research suggested that management must have the characteristics of adaptability, the environment around the world has been constantly changing, this may lead the company to face several problems for which the company needs to make changes in their internal management, therefore management must adapt to the changes in order to overcome different problem in an organisation.

The second component of the management style is its ability, which refers to the management’s ability where they have expertise in different aspects or functions of an organization. Further, the management must have experience and knowledge in project management to help NGOs reach their desired goals. The third component of the organisation is communication.

Looking at the survey results, it can be identified that the mentioned components of an organisation can be considered vital for the performance of NGOs. The research findings also included the information gained from the survey conducted in the research.

The relation were analyzed between the three components of the management style and the performance of the organisation therefore the correlation analysis technique was used to identify the relationships between the variables, the result showcased that there is a strong correlation score of the relationship between three components of management style and the performance of an organisation, there scores for adaptability, abilities and communication were 0.803, 0.989 and 0.986 respectively. Looking at this, it can be stated that there is a strong relationship between the three components of an organisation and performance of an organisation.

5.3 Recommendations

The outline recommendations below can help the non-profit organisations to effectively asses their operational performance.

  • NGOs can shift their focus towards maintaining an effective control over the internal processes of the organisation. The management can implement different cost accounting methods to analyze the efficiency of operations while also developing ways to reduce the costs.
  • NGOs can redesign their organisational structure, where the organization’s structure is highly adaptive and can take quick actions to make changes in their structures, processes, and activities that can help the company adapt to changes taking place in the environments.
  • The Management of the company needs to be effective, therefore the companies must hire managers that have a prior experience in managing projects, further they should have also have the expertise in the field of different businesses of non-profit organisation. Further the management of the company must also focus in developing the workforce of the organisation.
  • Effective communication between different organization functions can be a crucial factor for making a project successful; therefore, the companies must create an environment and system that aid the flow of information within the different departments of an organisation.
  • The workforce development is another recommendation that can be seen as a contributor towards the business sustainability. Therefore, the NGOs must conduct training programs and encourage knowledge sharing within the organisation to help the workforce develop themselves, resulting in better performance.

5.4 Future Implications

Future implications helps researchers to create avenues that other researchers can use to conduct further research on the topic or use this research as a model or a base to research other relevant to their objective. This research was conducted in the context of NGOs in UK, however conditions in managing NGO operation can be different in different locations of the world, therefore this model can be used to assess the project management styles in different counties. Further the sample size for interviews and surveys can also be increased to give a more concrete and significant findings.


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Survey Questionnaire

This questionnaire is specifically prepared for academic research aiming to understand the project management styles from the perspective of non-profit organisations, which mainly influences the business’s operations. Kindly give your responses by (ü) an appropriate option for each of the following question:

Strongly Agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly Disagree
0 1 2 3 4
  1. Project leadership type and style influences project success (Ability)
  2. Team building is shared between the project managers (Abilities)
  3. It is important to know how to engage people towards implementing their solutions (Abilities)
  4. A good project manager can relate project objectives and outcomes to the target group (Abilities)
  5. Communication and trust between the project manager of multilateral or governmental institutions and the stakeholders within NGOs are a success factor. (Communication)
  6. Good language knowledge facilitates communication in that context. (Communication)
  7. A good project manager has effective listening, writing, and dispute resolution skills (Communication)
  8. The role of the project leader in terms of managing people, resources, and stakeholders is important (Adaptability)
  9. Managers adapt their project management tools to seek the involvement of multiple stakeholders (Adaptability)
  10. Project leaders are able to adopt the cultural differences of the employees to promote an effective working environment (Adaptability)
  11. Satisfied stakeholders are an indicator of project performance
  12. Project management is mainly about facilitating change.
  13. Trust relationship with partners is fundamental.

Interview Questions

  1. If you have changes over which you have no control over, how do you adjust to changes, for example, staff resignation? What “areas of expertise” do you find are missing among project managers)
  2. On the scale of 1-5 how successful was the last project you have managed- Cost (unit cost, cost growth, intensity),
    1. Time (speed of construction, speed of delivery, program growth),
    2. Quality (quality of the business volume, quality systems, equipment quality),
    3. The owner (his administrative burdens, the satisfaction of the owners).
  3. Based on your experience, how can we professionalize non-governmental organisation work in the field of international development?
  4. What do you do when projects requirements change suddenly after working long with the project?
  5. How do you adapt with new tasks/ new technology?
  6. In your own experience how did you take some one’s cultural perspectives into account in dealing with them?
  7. What type of communication channels / mode do you use in the project?
  8. With your own experience, what is the difference between managers in international development NGO’s and Managers in private sector?
  9. How do you deal with different donors / stakeholders?
  10. In your own experience, why is it that NGO’s are always short of staffs for example staff to deal with logistics?
  11. How often do you talk to your staff / stakeholders?
  12. What are some of the major factors affecting communication in projects you have managed so far?
    1. Writing
    2. Listening
    3. Dispute resolution

Some popular project management styles implemented in NGOs include Agile, Scrum, and Lean. These methodologies promote flexibility, collaboration, and efficiency in delivering projects within the nonprofit sector.

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