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Dr Julien Pollack

Biography

Julien Pollack is a widely experienced project manager, whose teaching focuses on developing the skills that are needed to deliver results on complex, ambiguous and dynamic projects.

Julien's research draws on change management, complexity theory, and systems thinking to expand the approaches available to project managers when dealing with complex situations. He has two broad streams of research. The first extends project management practice past the early closed-systems assumptions on which it is based. His second area of research focuses on uncovering trends in project management practice and research.

Julien's research has won local and international awards for applied research in project management and systems thinking. His work is regularly published in the leading international project management journals and research conferences.

In industry, he has worked in public sector organisational change projects, information systems development, telecommunications, and large-scale private heavy engineering projects, including program office management for a multi-billion dollar program of work.

At UTS, he is senior lecturer in the School of the Built Environment, where he teaches subjects on project communication, critical thinking, and literature review and critique.
Image of Julien Pollack
Senior Lecturer, School of the Built Environment
Core Member, CMOS - Centre for Management and Organisational Studies
Associate Member, CCDP - Centre for Contemporary Design Practices
PhD (UTS)
 
Phone
+61 2 9514 8632

Research Interests

His research has focused on two broad themes: trends in project management research; and developing project management practice to meet the needs of projects that cannot be pre-defined in simple and stable terms. He has successively drawn on systems thinking, complexity theory, and change management to address this latter area of research, particularly focusing on the delivery of organisational change projects. His research in these areas has been frequently published in the leading project management journals and research conferences.
Can supervise: Yes

Books

Remington, K. & Pollack, J.B. 2007, Tools for Complex Projects, Gower Publishing Limited, England.

Chapters

Remington, K. & Pollack, J.B. 2014, 'Requisite Variety and Decision Making in Complex Projects' in Lundin, R. & Hallgren, M. (eds), Advancing Research on Projects and Temporary Organizations, Copenhagen Business School Press and Liber, Copenhagen, pp. 234-250.
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Project leaders real responsible for making decisions in contexts where at least some parameters are unknown, and even unknowable. Decisions from which critical actions ensue are made under extreme pressure of time and often without access to sufficient or relevant information. Debates promulgating the virtues of simplicity over complexity, and vice versa, have in one form or another been running for thousands of years, although the urge towards simplification continues to dominate scientific research and management (including project management ) practice. However, the current resurgence of interest in complexity, particularly in the light of recent world events that can only be explained by nonlinearity and emergence, provides renewed emphasis for a discussion about how we tackle difficult issues under conditions characterized by nonlinearity and emergence. Nonetheless, the general management, project management, and professional literatures tend to maintain an emphasis on the virtues of simplification of both the problem definition and its solution. This chapter provides a counterpoint, through discussion of persistent themes of reuisite variety within the philosophy of science, before discussing how these ideas can inform decision making in complex contexts. The literature is then consolidated to explore necessary conditions for robust decision-making in complex projects.
Er, M., Pollack, J.B. & Sankaran, S. 2013, 'Actor-Network Theory, Activity Theory and Action Research and their application in project management research' in Drouin, N., Muller, R. & Sankaran, S. (eds), Novel Approaches to Organizational Project Management Research: Translational and Transformational, Copenhagen Business School Press, Copenhagen, pp. 164-198.
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Projects pay attention to activities, deal with relationships and involve change. Hence research approaches that are useful to examine activities or work practices (e.g. Activity Theory), investigate relationships (e.g. Actor-Network Theory) and facilitate change (e.g. Action Research) could be very useful for project management researchers. While some papers in project management (PM) journals report using these approaches we expect that they will become more prevalent in the future due to the recent demand for more emphasis on detailed investigation of what is occurring in real practice and the management of complexity in projects by describing interconnections. Further, realizing intended benefits from projects requires more attention to the change process that is often left out of the scope of managing a project.
Pollack, J.B. 2013, 'Pluralist Project Research: Drawing on Critical Systems Thinking to Manage Research Across Paradigms' in Drouin, N., Muller, R. & Sankaran, S. (eds), Novel Approaches to Organizational Project Management Research: Translational and Transformational, Copenhagen Business School Press, Koege, Denmark, pp. 452-471.
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Pluralist research has been widely acclaimed as providing benefits that research which relies on a single technique, methodology or paradigm, cannot. However, there are very few examples of project management research which attempt to bridge methodological or paradigmatic divides. This chapter draws on the field of Critical Systems Thinking, a field of research which has a long history of exploring how approaches to managing research can be combined in practice, to explore opportunities to enrich project management research. Of particular significance in developing the discussion of pluralism in project management research are: clearly distinguishing the level to which a research approach belongs within a paradigm; Reed's four strategies for combining methodologies; the oblique use of methods; Grafting and Embedding; and the more general cases of pluralism in Series or Parallel.
Remington, K. & Pollack, J.B. 2011, 'Tools for Complex Projects' in Cooke-Davies, T. (ed), Aspects of Complexity: Managing Projects in a Complex World, Project Management Institute, Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, pp. 29-40.
This chapter first defines the differences between a tool or technique, a methodology, and a theory. It then describes the results of research carried out by the authors by focusing on the tools, techniques, or approaches developed by senior project managers specifically to address highly complex projects. Selected tools are discussed in more detail. The chapter concludes with a discussion of tools in application.
Crawford, L. & Pollack, J.B. 2009, 'Developing a basis for global reciprocity: Negotiating between the many standards for Project Management' in Kelley, G. (ed), Selected Readings on Information Technology Management: Contemporary Issues, IGI Global, Hershey, PA, pp. 307-322.
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Professional standards are a significant issue for professions such as IT and project management, where certification and licensure are either necessary to practice or to demonstrate individual competence and capability. In many professions there is no basis for international reciprocity of professional standards. This paper documents the development of a standard for global reciprocity between already existing professional standards in the field of project management. Data are based on personal involvement by the authors and interviews with participants. This discussion addresses different approaches to standardisation, how common issues in the standardisation process have been addressed, and how the hindering influence of the professional associations' proprietorial interest was avoided. Significantly different standards of development processes have been used compared to those typical in Project Management standards development, including: an emphasis on negotiation and joint modification rather than market dominance, and an open access approach, rather than one based on exclusion and gate-keeping.

Conferences

Pollack, J.B. & Adler, D. 2015, 'The relationship between project management and small to medium enterprise profitability', Global Conference on Business and Finance Proceedings, Global Conference on Business and Finance, The Institute for Business and Finance Research, Las Vegas, pp. 344-354.
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It is a common assumption that using project management is good for business. This research seeks to address this generally un-substantiated assumption by testing whether using project management as a core business skill has a positive influence on the profitability and sales of small to medium enterprises. Data used in this research is drawn from two surveys conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics covering the years 2004 – 2011. From this data models of the influence of project management were created using binary logistic regression and multiple linear regression, to examine whether the use of project management to undertake core business activities had a significant effect on small to medium enterprise profitability and total sales. When controlling for other comparable core business skills, the results show that project management does have a significant positive impact on profitability and sales. Similar results were also found for the use of IT professional skills, IT support technician skills and financial skills to undertake core business activities.
Pollack, J.B. 2015, 'On the Scarcity of Research into the Information Roles Individuals Take in Organizations', Global Conference on Business & Finance Proceedings, Global Conference on Business and Finance, The Institute for Business and Finance Research, Las Vegas, pp. 378-388.
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Organizations are information processing organisms, admitting information from outside the organizational boundary, then taking action in the world in response to that information. The various ways that employees treat information are key contributors to an organization's ability to respond to external information in a timely and effective way. The role of the gatekeeper has been the subject of a substantial body of research in the knowledge transfer and social network literature. However, there has been a surprising silence in these fields about other information roles that individuals take, and how these contribute to an organization's ability to absorb and process information. Review of the marketing literature has revealed that specific roles have been identified which contribute to the ways that markets respond to new products, and these roles may have analogues within organizations. Review of the systems theory and cybernetics literature also suggests a role that individuals may play in the way that organizations process information. These observations lead to the proposal that research is needed into the different information roles that individuals play in organizations, and how these contribute to an organization's ability to take action in response to a changing environment.
Pollack, J.B. 2015, 'Is There a Divide Between Change Management Theory and Practice?', The Business & Management Review, International Conference on Business and Economic Development (ICBED), Academy of Business and Retail Management, New York, pp. 64-72.
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This research examines the different emphases that academics and practitioners place on change management to understand whether there is a divide between change management theory and practice. Scientometric research techniques have been used to compare three corpora: one composed of relevant abstracts from the general management literature on change management; one composed of abstracts from the specialist change management literature; and one composed of transcripts of interviews with practitioners who are working in change management. The general management literature on change management showed an emphasis on an abstract understanding of the learning organization and knowledge management, while the specialist change management literature placed greater emphasis on culture, value and social identity. In contrast, the practitioners focused at the individuals, team and project level, emphasising the need for change managers to be able to rapidly identify key drivers within a new context, and to be able to effectively use targeted communication to achieve change program objectives. Finding significant differences between these corpora, supports other researchers' assertions that there is a divide between change management theory and practice.
Pollack, J.B. & Algeo, C. 2015, 'The Contribution of Project Management and Change Management to Project Success', The Business & Management Review, International Conference on Business and Economic Development, The Academy of Business & Retail Management, New York, pp. 22-30.
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Project Management and Change Management are two management disciplines that contribute to the delivery of organizational changes. However, there is a lack of clarity about how these disciplines should work together, and evidence that there is some rivalry about which discipline should be managing organizational change projects. This research has analysed the responses of project managers and change managers to an online survey regarding each discipline's influence over factors that have been identified as critical to project success. The results have been used to determine factors that were more typically influenced by each discipline. Significant differences of opinion about how these disciplines perceived the other's contribution were also identified from the results, suggesting possible sources of conflict between the disciplines. These results were used to create a framework to determine project manager and change manager responsibility for aspects of the delivery of a project, based on where significant project risks are anticipated.
Shalbafan, S., Leigh, E., Pollack, J. & Sankaran, S. 2015, 'Using simulation to create a time-bound, space-constrained context for studying decision-making in project portfolio management using the Cynefin® framework', APROS EGOS 2015, UTS, Sydney.
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Pollack, J.B. & Adler, D. 2014, 'The Impact of Project Management on SME Productivity', PMI Research and Education Conference, Project Management Institute, Portland, Oregon.
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A fundamental assumption of project management practice and research is that using project management to achieve organizational objectives improves organizational performance. However, there is little published research that has directly questioned this assumption. The research presented in this paper addresses one aspect of organizational performance by focusing on reported changes in organizational productivity, use of project management, and use of other comparable business skills. This paper tests the hypothesis that using project management increases the productivity of small to medium enterprises. The data used to test this hypothesis comes from two longitudinal databases created by the Australian Bureau of Statistics which contain data on Australian businesses with less than 200 staff. This data was used to create models of the relationship between productivity and business skills using binary logistic regression. The models demonstrate that project management has a significant impact upon productivity.
Pollack, J.B. & Algeo, C.T. 2014, 'The Contribution of Project and Change Managers to Different Project Activities', PMI Research and Education Conference, Project Management Institute, Portland, Oregon.
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The project management and change management disciplines both contribute to the delivery of organizational change projects. However, evidence in the literature suggests conflict between these disciplines arising from a lack of consensus about how these disciplines should work together, which discipline should have overall ownership of the management of organizational change, and how specific activities should be divided between the disciplines. This research has enquired into practitioners' views of the contribution that project managers and change managers should make to specific project activities using an online survey. Practitioners' responses were analyzed using a process of comparative ranking. From this process, an understanding was developed of how respondents perceived the involvement of project managers and change managers in the delivery of organizational change. The analysis identified activities that clearly distinguished project management from change management. Activities were also identified that respondents commonly regarded as within the domain of both disciplines, suggesting activities that project and change managers would potentially need to jointly own. Areas of significant disagreement were also identified where there was a difference of opinion between the project and change managers who responded to the survey. Such areas are likely to be the sources of disciplinary conflict in the workplace, and this suggests areas where practitioners should take additional care in managing any disciplinary integration between project management and change management. This research will be of value to practitioners from either disciplinary background, providing assistance in identifying likely sources of conflict, and in developing an understanding of how both sides of this divide perceive the other.
Pollack, J.B. & Adler, D. 2013, 'Who Writes With Whom, and About What: A Scientometric Analysis of Project Management Research', IRNOP 2013: Innovative Approaches to Project Management Research, International Research Network on Organizing by Projects, BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, Norway, pp. 1-17.
This study uses scientometric techniques to uncover changes in Project Management research. The Project Management literature is analysed in terms of: links between authors, uncovering significant collaborations; links between the keywords that authors use to describe their publications, showing the central research foci of the field; and the way in which keywords use has changed over time. This research draws from 94,472 unique records, published between 1963 and 2012, identifying persistent key research topics, research topics that are rapidly expanding in popularity, and key collaborative research communities. This study finds evidence to support an argument that Project Management is shifting from a inward technical focus to a broader organisational perspective. It is also found that the network of Project Management research is held together more strongly by a common interest in a core group of research topics, than by a core group of researchers with a diffuse focus.
Pollack, J.B. & Algeo, C.T. 2013, 'Who reports to whom? Perspectives on the reporting relationship between Project and Change Managers', EURAM 2013: Democratising Management, EURAM 2013: Democratising Management, European Academy of Management, Istanbul, Turkey, pp. 1-19.
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Project Management and Change Management are two related disciplines that contribute to the delivery of organisational change. These disciplines are based on distinct and separate bodies of knowledge, with resultant differences in their perspectives on how organisational change should be managed and who should be accountable for its delivery. The academic literature suggests that there is conflict between these disciplines, with respect to who should be managing organisational change. However, there is little in the literature that provides clear direction on what the reporting relationship between these roles should be. This research enquires into practitioners perspectives on different reporting structures to understand the kinds of relationships that are perceived to work in practice.
Pollack, J.B. 2012, 'Responding to an ageing workforce and the implications for engineering management', 2012 IEEE International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management, 2012 IEEE International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management, IEEE, Hong Kong, pp. 822-826.
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Most organisations are, or in the near future will be, faced with the need to respond to issues associated with their ageing workforce. This paper explores the implications of workforce ageing on engineering management, and reviews one organisationÂâs implementation of a programme designed to mitigate the effects of workforce ageing on the potential for loss of knowledge and effectiveness as experienced personnel retire. This successful programme is analysed through a framework provided by systems thinking, to understand the effects of the non-traditional approach to programme management used in this case.
Remington, K. & Pollack, J.B. 2008, 'Complex Projects: What are they and how can we manage them more effectively?', Proceedings of the 2008 AIPM Project Management Conference, AIPM Project Management Conference, Australian Institute of Project Management, Canberra, ACT, pp. 1-10.
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The word `complex is now being widely used to describe projects which are extraordinarily difficult to manage and control. Are these projects just very difficult or do they exhibit special characteristics that entitle them to be called `complex? Some authors argue that so-called `complex projects are simply larger projects with more stakeholder issues. Nevertheless, there is a growing recognition amongst project practitioners and academics that particular projects seem to be more than just difficult and these projects have very special characteristics that pose extraordinary management challenges. This paper argues that these special projects exhibit aspects in common with `complex adaptive systems. If we accept that some projects behave in very different or unpredictable ways, how do we manage them? This is the practical question at the focus of this paper. Do approaches exist which will assist the practitioner with these special or `complex projects? The paper presents a discussion of project complexity using `complex adaptive systems thinking as a lens. Findings from part of a continuing research program are presented and discussed
Pollack, J.B., Costello, K.L., Crawford, L. & Bently, L. 2006, 'Systems of Information and the Development of Organisational Project Mangement Competence', Proceedings of IRNOP VII Project Research Conference, IRNOP, Publishing House of Electronics Industry, Xi'an, China, pp. 265-276.
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Remington, K. & Pollack, J.B. 2006, 'Complex Infrastructure Projects: A systemic model for management', Sustaining our Social and Natural Capital, ANZSYS Conference, Publishing House of Electronics Industry, Katoomba, Australia, pp. 464-471.
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Crawford, L., Pollack, J.B. & Costello, K.L. 2005, 'Hard and soft projects in the NSW public sector', Proceedings of 11th Annual ANZSYS Conference/Managing the Complex V, Systems Thinking and Complexity Science: Insights for Action, ISCE Publishing, Christchurch, New Zealand, pp. 1-7.
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Costello, K.L., Crawford, L., Pollack, J.B. & Bentley, L. 2002, 'Connecting Soft Systems Thinking with Project Management Practice: An organisational change case study', Systems Theory and Practice in the Knowledge Age, Seventh International Conference of the UK Systems Society, Kluwer, York, UK, pp. 47-54.
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Costello, K.L., Crawford, L., Pollack, J.B. & Bentley, L. 2002, 'Soft Systems Project Management for Organisational Change', IRNOP V - Fifth International Conference of the International Research Network of Organizing by Projects, EuroProjex, Zeeland, The Netherlands.
Remington, K. & Pollack, J.B. 2002, 'Stakeholder Management for Project Success', IPMA Conference Proceedings 2002 - Making the Vision Work, GPM, Berlin, Germany.

Journal articles

Pollack, J.B. & Adler, D. 2015, 'Emergent trends and passing fads in project management research: A scientometric analysis of changes in the field', International Journal of Project Management, vol. 33, pp. 236-248.
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This research uses quantitative techniques to reveal trends in project management related research published between 1962 and 2012. The data set for this research includes 94,472 unique records sourced from the Scopus and ISI Web of Science databases. The keywords and abstracts that authors have used to describe their work have been analysed in terms of word frequency, rate of change and the co-occurrence of keywords and abstract terms. This data has been used to construct network maps of the field, depicting the relative association between key topics. Comparisons are made between the frequencies of key terms and rapid changes in the ways that terms are used in the literature to identify emergent trends and passing fads. Amongst other findings, this research has revealed evidence to indicate a change in emphasis in project management research from a technical engineering orientation to one which encompasses a broader organisational perspective.
Pollack, J. & Pollack, R. 2015, 'Using Kotter's Eight Stage Process to Manage an Organisational Change Program: Presentation and Practice', Systemic Practice and Action Research, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 51-66.
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Kotter's Eight Stage Process for Creating a Major Change is one of the most widely recognised models for Change Management, and yet there are few case studies in the academic literature that enquire into how this Process has been used in practice. This paper describes a Change Manager's Action Research enquiring into the use of this Process to manage a major organisational change. The change was initiated in response to the organisation's ageing workforce, introducing a knowledge management program focusing the interpersonal aspects of knowledge retention. Although Kotter's Process emphasises a top-led model for change, the change team found it was necessary to engage at many levels of the organisation to implement the organisational change. The Process is typically depicted as a linear sequence of steps. However, this image of the change process was found to not represent the complexity of the required action. Managing the change required the change team to facilitate multiple concurrent instances of Kotter's Process throughout the organisation, to re-create change that was locally relevant to participants in the change process.
Pollack, J. & Adler, D. 2015, 'Does Project Management Affect Business Productivity? Evidence From Australian Small to Medium Enterprises', Project Management Journal, vol. 45, no. 6, pp. 17-24.
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A fundamental assumption of project management practice and research is that using project management to achieve organizational objectives improves organizational performance. However, there is little published research that directly questions this assumption. This paper tests the hypothesis that using project management increases the productivity of small to medium enterprises, using data from two longitudinal surveys of Australian businesses with less than 200 staff members. These data were used to create models of the relationship between productivity and business skills using binary logistic regression. The models demonstrate that project management has a significant impact on small to medium enterprise productivity.
Pollack, J.B. 2015, 'Understanding the divide between the theory and practice of organisational change', Organisational Project Management, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 35-52.
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This paper reviews the different ways that academics and practitioners write about and discuss change management, to develop an understanding of whether there is a divide between the theory and practice of change management. This research used scientometric research techniques to compare three corpora: one based on the most cited research in the general management literature on change management; one based on the most cited research in specialist change management journals; and one based on interviews with practising change managers. It was found that the general management literature emphasised an abstract understanding of knowledge management and the learning organisation, while the change management literature focused more on issues associated with value, culture and social identity. The practitioners emphasised issues at the individual, project and team levels, the need for the effective use of targeted communication to achieve organisational change objectives, and the value of rapidly identifying key drivers in a new context. This research found significant differences between these three corpora, which lends support to other researchers' claims of a divide between theory and practice in change management.
Pollack, J.B., Fahri, J., Biesenthal, C. & Sankaran, S. 2015, 'Understanding Megaproject Success beyond the Project Close-Out Stage', Construction Economics and Building, vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 48-58.
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Project success has always been an important topic in the project management literature. One of the main discussions is concerned with how a project's success is evaluated and what factors lead to achieving this success. Traditionally project success has been measured at the point where the project outputs are handed over, after the close out phase. Recently, questions have been raised in the literature as to whether we should be evaluating project success beyond the close out phase, to better account for organizational and societal outcomes. However, not much has been published about how the long term impacts and outcomes are measured. This is of particular concern in megaprojects as they often attract a high level of public attention and political interest, and have both direct and indirect impacts on the community, environment, and national budgets. In this paper the authors review success factors and criteria that are applicable to projects in general and megaprojects in particular. They identify the significance of evaluating outcomes and impact and propose an ex-post project evaluation (EPPE) framework for megaprojects.
Pollack, J.B. & Algeo, C. 2015, 'Should project management aspire to be an archetypal profession: evidence from Australian-based research', International Journal of Project Organisation and Management, vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 352-368.
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Many occupations aspire to recognition as a profession. The question of whether or not project management is a profession has arisen multiple times within the literature, but answers vary. It is possible to identify common traits that typify occupations that are consistently agreed to have professional status. Project management is reviewed against these professional traits. This study also reports on the findings of two surveys, which provide insight into project managers' perceptions of their own field. Survey responses are compared to their perceptions of change management, an arguably comparable field. Then, project managers' views are compared to the general public's perception of project management. It is found that a number of the archetypal traits of professions may not be relevant or desirable for project management. However, some approaches for developing the image of the field of project management to professional status are identified and discussed.
Pollack, J.B., Adler, D. & sankaran, S. 2014, 'Mapping the field of Complexity Theory: A computational approach to understanding changes in the field', Emergence: Complexity and Organization, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 74-92.
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Pollack, J.B. & Algeo, C. 2014, 'A comparison of Project Manager and Change Manager involvement in organisational change project activities and stages', Journal of Modern Project Management, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 8-17.
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Project Managers and Change Managers both contribute to the planning and execution of organisational change projects. However, it is not clear how these disciplines should work together to deliver these projects. This research examined how Project Managers and Change Managers regard the contribution of both disciplines to different project stages and activities. Activities that uncontentiously fit within the domain of one discipline or the other were identified, allowing for the development of an activity-based comparative identity for these disciplines. Also identified were the activities and stages that were the subject of significant disagreement between the disciplines. Such activities are the likely sources of conflict between the disciplines, both in terms of abstract disciplinary boundary and workplace responsibility division. This research will be of value to Project Managers and Change Managers, by helping to identify potential areas of conflict, and developing a greater understanding of how both disciplines regard the other.
Pollack, J. & Algeo, C. 2014, 'Perspectives on the Formal Authority Between Project Managers and Change Managers', Project Management Journal, vol. 45, no. 5, pp. 27-43.
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Project management and change management both contribute to the management and delivery of changes to organizations; however, they are based on distinct bodies of knowledge, and practitioners of these disciplines have disparate views on how change should be managed. There is a lack of consensus about how these disciplines should work together to deliver organizational change projects which may result in conflict. This research delves into practitioners' perspectives on formal authority, the reporting relationship between these disciplines, and reveals the fundamental differences in how practitioners of these disciplines view the practice of organizational change.
Pollack, J.B., Costello, K.L. & Sankaran, S. 2013, 'Applying Actor-Network Theory as a sensemaking framework for complex organisational change programs', International Journal of Project Management, vol. 31, no. 8, pp. 1118-1128.
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The implementation of a Project Management Information System (PMIS) in three public sector agencies is examined using Actor-Network Theory, an infrequently applied approach to project management research. Use of the PMIS focused on practitioner capability, without acting as a mechanism of project control. This is different to how a PMIS is generally portrayed in the literature, suggesting a need to rethink the ways a PMIS can support project management. The research revealed that the PMIS software application, by itself, would have had limited impact, and similarly the practitioner-researchers who developed and implemented the PMIS would, by themselves, have been less effective. Instead, the contribution, effectiveness and capability came from the stable network of association between the practitioner researchers and the PMIS; an actor-network, which allowed other networks to stabilise and develop, as new users learned how to conceptualise their work through project management concepts, and developed their project management capability.
Pollack, J.B. 2012, 'Transferring knowledge about knowledge management: Implementation of a complex organisational change programme', International Journal of Project Management, vol. 30, no. 8, pp. 877-886.
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Companies around the globe are facing issues associated with an ageing workforce. One of the most significant of these issues is how the knowledge of a workforce that may be close to retirement can be effectively transferred to less experienced generations. Despite the importance of this issue, surprisingly few articles examine the implementation of knowledge management and ageing workforce organisational change programmes. The standard approaches to programme management have inherited many of the tools, techniques and assumptions common to project management, some of which may not be appropriate to this kind of organisational change programme. This paper reviews a Knowledge Management Programme successfully implemented within an Australian organisation, which has taken an innovative approach to programme management, emphasising visibility, senior management support and leveraging participant enthusiasm, rather than an emphasis on definition and control. The success of this approach is examined through the interpretive framework of Complexity Theory.
Pollack, J.B. 2009, 'Multimethodology in series and parallel: strategic planning using hard and soft OR', Journal Of The Operational Research Society, vol. 60, no. 2, pp. 156-167.
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This paper examines two distinct ways in which hard and soft operational research (OR) methodologies can be combined, in series and in parallel. Multimethodology in series is acknowledged as the simpler and more common approach. Multimethodology in parallel is identified as having the potential to provide significant benefits to projects in political, changing, or 'wicked' contexts that multimethodology in series cannot. Observations regarding these approaches to multimethodology are examined in light of an information systems strategic planning project in the Australian public sector. Two distinct methodologies were combined in the project: soft systems methodology and project management. These methodologies are based on the soft and hard paradigms, respectively. However, findings in this paper have the potential to be transferred to combinations of other hard and soft OR methodologies.
Crawford, L. & Pollack, J.B. 2008, 'Developing a Basis for Global Reciprocity: Negotiating Between the Many Standards for Project Management', International Journal of IT Standards and Standardization Research (IJITSR), vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 70-84.
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Professional standards are a significant issue for professions such as IT and Project Management, where certification and licensure are either necessary to practice or to demonstrate individual competence and capability. In many professions there is no basis for international reciprocity of professional standards. This paper documents the development of a standard for global reciprocity between already existing professional standards in the field of Project Management. Data are based on personal involvement by the authors and interviews with participants. This discussion addresses different approaches to standardisation, how common issues in the standardisation process have been addressed, and how the hindering influence of the professional associations proprietorial interest was avoided. Significantly different standards of development processes have been used compared to those typical in Project Management standards development, including: an emphasis on negotiation and joint modification rather than market dominance, and an open access approach, rather than one based on exclusion and gate-keeping.
Crawford, L. & Pollack, J. 2008, 'Developing a basis for global reciprocity: Negotiating between the many standards for project management', International Journal of IT Standards and Standardization Research, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 70-84.
View/Download from: Publisher's site
Professional standards are a significant issue for professions such as IT and Project Management, where certification and licensure are either necessary to practice or to demonstrate individual competence and capability. In many professions there is no basis for international reciprocity of professional standards. This paper documents the development of a standard for global reciprocity between already existing professional standards in the field of Project Management. Data are based on personal involvement by the authors and interviews with participants. This discussion addresses different approaches to standardisation, how common issues in the standardisation process have been addressed, and how the hindering influence of the professional associations 'proprietorial interest was avoided. Significantly different standards of development processes have been used compared to those typical in Project Management standards development, including: an emphasis on negotiation and joint modification rather than market dominance, and an open access approach, rather than one based on exclusion and gate-keeping. Copyright © 2008, IGI Global.
Crawford, L. & Pollack, J.B. 2007, 'How Generic are Project Management Knowledge and Practice', Project Management Journal, vol. 38, no. 1, pp. 87-96.
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Project management knowledge and practice are often considered to be generic and suitable for standardization. However, projects are also viewed as fundamentally unique pieces of work. This paradox of project uniqueness lies at the heart of project management. This paper discusses this tension between uniqueness and similarity, before reporting on the results of a series of assessments of practitioners project management knowledge and use of project management practices. Results are analyzed across countries, industry sectors, and application areas, and interpreted in relation to the ongoing development of standards for project management.
Crawford, L., Pollack, J.B. & England, D. 2007, 'How Standard are Standards: An Examination of Language Emphasis in Project Management Standards', Project Management Journal, vol. 38, no. 3, pp. 6-21.
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In light of current work toward the development of global standards for project management, this paper analyzes differences between a selection of various countries' existing project management standards. The analysis is conducted using computational corpus linguistics techniques, resulting in the identification of similarities and differences between the standards of five countries.
Pollack, J.B. 2007, 'The changing paradigms of project management', International Journal of Project Management, vol. 25, no. 3, pp. 266-274.
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This paper examines the academic literature on Project Management in relation to the hard and soft paradigms, two broad tendencies for thought and action that have had considerable impact on the development of a variety of comparable fields. A critical reading of the literature confirms strong links between the hard paradigm and Project Management. However, it is also demonstrated that undercurrents exist in the literature, which suggest a growing acceptance of the soft paradigm. Models of the field are presented through which the influence of these paradigms on the field can be understood, and a way is suggested in which further developments in the use of the soft paradigm in Project Management could be progressed.
Crawford, L., Pollack, J.B. & England, D. 2006, 'Uncovering the Trends in Project Management; Journal Emphases over the last 10 Years', International Journal of Project Management, vol. 24, no. 2, pp. 174-184.
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The field of project management continues to develop in response to changing emphases in the management community and the demands of new project management application areas. This paper uncovers the trends of emphasis within the project management literature over the period 1994-2003, by analysing articles in the International Journal of Project Management and the Project Management Journal. Trends identified in this study are then compared to trends of emphasis identified in a variety of previous studies of changes to the field. These results are then synthesised to provide a overall impression of how the field is changing.
Pollack, J.B. 2006, 'Pyramids or Silos: Alternative Representations of the Systems Thinking Paradigms', Systemic Practice and Action Research, vol. 19, no. 4, pp. 383-398.
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This paper is written from the perspective of a practitioner-researcher coming to terms with methodologically or theoretically pluralist practice. Common depictions of the relationship between the hard and soft paradigms are discussed, including the influence of the problem of paradigmatic incommensurability. The consequences of different ways in which this relationship is depicted are examined, in light of various perspectives on the relationship of Critical Systems Thinking to these paradigms. Alternative models of this relationship are provided, followed by discussion of how these models can be extended to combinations of other paradigms in different contexts
Crawford, L. & Pollack, J.B. 2004, 'Hard and Soft Projects: a framework for analysis', International Journal of Project Management, vol. 22, no. 8, pp. 645-653.
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This paper provides clarification on the use of the terms `hard' and `soft' in the context of project and program management, by exploring what it means for a project to be hard or soft. This paper draws on the authors' practice based research into large organisational change programs in a variety of contexts, and the literature on project management, systems thinking and evaluation. A framework for exploring the hardness and softness of project process and outcomes is provided. It acts as an aid to structured discussion and informed decision making about the application of methods for managing projects and programs and the appropriate methods for evaluating their success. This framework is designed to aid in the transfer of lessons learned to practice by offering a common point of comparison between projects, and has potential for use as a predictive aid to resourcing. Its use is demonstrated in three cases.
Crawford, L., Costello, K.L., Pollack, J.B. & Bentley, L. 2003, 'Managing Soft Change Projects in the Public Sector', International Journal of Project Management, vol. 21, pp. 443-448.
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Non traditional outputs

Pollack, J.B. & Adler, D., 'Lines of Thought', DAB LAB Research Gallery, UTS.