The hierarchy of public project governance frameworks: An empirical study of principles and practices in Norwegian ministries and agencies
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionInternational Journal of Managing Projects in Business. 2018, 11 (1), 174-197. 10.1108/IJMPB-04-2017-0040
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to study public project governance frameworks in various ministries and agencies in Norway, following the introduction of such a framework on the topmost level (i.e. the cabinet) which applies to the very largest projects. Design/methodology/approach The study is methodologically designed as a qualitative assessment of project governance frameworks that apply to state-funded investment projects in selected sectors, based on data gathered through document reviews and interviews. Findings The study finds that all of the agencies have introduced their own project governance frameworks, which are basically consistent with the recommendations from the project management literature and with the cabinet’s overall requirements in Norway. By contrast, only one ministry has taken a formalized role as a project owner. Governance tasks thus seem to be extensively delegated to the subordinate agencies. This even includes strategic tasks such as project selection and portfolio management, and implies there is a risk that public project governance has a narrow and internal focus. Originality/value The paper is a first step toward a better understanding of public project governance as a hierarchical system and the relationship between project owners on three levels, the cabinet, the sectoral ministry, and the government agency.