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Sponsorship and IT vendor management of projects

Abstract

Project sponsorship is assumed to be critical to the success of information systems development and implementation. However, there is limited research on the effect of vendor-based sponsorship on the management of information technology (IT) projects. This paper contributes to that emerging body of evidence. Drawing on literature on psychological contract, management control and project sponsorship, the authors propose that vendor-based sponsors influence project performance in two main ways. One is to protect project quality by renegotiating contract with the client; and the other is to resource the project. Based on a survey of senior managers in IT services vendor organisations, it reports that project sponsorship improves the quality, but not the cost or timeliness, of vendor delivery of IT projects. The findings suggest that IT services vendors can improve their project delivery capability by appointing project sponsors.

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Acknowledgements

We wish to gratefully acknowledge the contribution by Chris Sauer and Kim Johnston in the design of the questionnaires, and the financial support from the Australian Research Council and the University of Sydney. We also wish to express our gratitude to Sussanne Nottage and Rosemary Alarcon for their assistance in the administration of the questionnaires, and to the many managers in the construction and IT services industries who responded to the survey. Finally, we thank our colleagues Lynne Markus, Peter Reynolds, Peter Seddon, Rajeev Sharma, Joan Spiller and Michael Vitale for their insights and critical comments. As always, the errors are ours.

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Correspondence to Li Liu.

Appendix

Appendix

See Table A1.

Table a1 Survey instruments

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Liu, L., Yetton, P. Sponsorship and IT vendor management of projects. J Inf Technol 24, 46–54 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1057/jit.2009.2

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Keywords

  • sponsor
  • sponsorship
  • project performance