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  • Rotterdam School of Management

    Erasmus University

    Success criteria and critical success factors for

    contractors of urgent and unexpected projects

    A multiple case study within the maintenance & repair sector

    Master thesis

    October 2014

    Gert Korbijn

  • Rotterdam School of Management

    Erasmus University

    Success criteria and critical success factors for

    contractors of urgent and unexpected projects

    A multiple case study within the maintenance & repair sector

    Date: 23 September 2014

    Student name: Ing. G. Korbijn

    Student number: 377361

    Coach: Dr. F.J. Sting

    Co-reader: Dr. S.A. Rijsdijk

    Master programme: Operational Supply Chain Management

    Degree: MScBA

  • 2

    Preface

    This thesis was written as a final testing of proficiency for the major Supply Chain Management, being

    part of the part-time Master of Science Business Administration at the Rotterdam School of

    Management, Erasmus University.

    Herewith I would first of all like to thank Stephanie van Winsen, my caring and supporting girlfriend

    who strongly encouraged me, while being confronted with the necessary study frustrations during the

    last two years. I would also very much like to thank my coach Dr. Fabian Sting for his infectious

    enthusiasm, reflective feedback, and methodological expertise, and co-reader Dr. Serge Rijsdijk for

    his methodological reflection and practical contributions. My thanks also go out to my family who

    were very supportive and willing to provide feedback on the form, language and content of this thesis.

    Finally I would like to thank the company Stork and its employees, with a special thanks to Dr. van

    Beek, for making this master’s degree financially possible and providing me access to extensive data

    which was used during this research.

    Tuesday, 23 September 2014

    Gert Korbijn

    Warmond, the Netherlands

  • 3

    Content

    PREFACE ................................................................................................................... 2

    CONTENT ................................................................................................................... 3

    SUMMARY .................................................................................................................. 5

    1 INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................................... 7

    2 THEORETICAL EXPLORATION .................................................................................... 9

    2.1 SUCCESS CRITERIA AND SUCCESS FACTORS, TWO DIFFERENT BUT RELATED CONCEPTS ............................... 9 2.2 PROJECT SUCCESS CRITERIA ........................................................................................ 9

    2.2.1 Project success beyond the traditional criteria ...................................................................................... 9 2.2.2 The assessment of project success over time ....................................................................................... 11 2.2.3 Project success from the eyes of the beholder ..................................................................................... 12 2.2.4 Project success and project management success............................................................................... 14 2.2.5 The emergence of project success frameworks ................................................................................... 15

    2.3 PROJECT CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS ............................................................................. 17 2.3.1 A background on critical success factors .............................................................................................. 17 2.3.2 Project critical success factors .............................................................................................................. 18

    2.4 THE INFLUENCE OF CONTEXT ON CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS ..................................................... 19 2.5 URGENT AND UNEXPECTED PROJECTS ............................................................................. 22

    2.5.1 The characteristics of urgent and unexpected projects ....................................................................... 22 2.5.2 Why urgent and unexpected projects need to be managed differently .............................................. 23

    3 METHODOLOGY .................................................................................................... 24

    3.1 RESEARCH STRATEGY ............................................................................................. 24 3.2 CASE SELECTION .................................................................................................. 25 3.3 DATA COLLECTION ................................................................................................ 26

    3.3.1 Interviews .............................................................................................................................................. 26 3.3.2 Documentation ..................................................................................................................................... 27 3.3.3 Direct observations ............................................................................................................................... 27

    3.4 DATA ANALYSIS ................................................................................................... 28 3.4.1 Phase one: defining the concepts ......................................................................................................... 28 3.4.2 Phase two: defining the relations ......................................................................................................... 30 3.4.3 Chain of evidence .................................................................................................................................. 30

    4 CASES DESCRIPTIONS ............................................................................................. 31

    5 RESULTS ............................................................................................................. 33

    5.1 SUCCESS CRITERIA ................................................................................................ 33 5.1.1 The success criteria for contractors of urgent and unexpected projects ............................................. 33 5.1.2 A cross-case analysis of the success criteria ......................................................................................... 34 5.1.3 The relations among success criteria for contractors of urgent and unexpected projects ................. 34 5.1.4 A robustness check on the effects of job functions on results ............................................................. 35 5.1.5 The rating of success criteria and development of propositions ......................................................... 35

    5.2 CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS ...................................................................................... 38 5.2.1 The critical success factors for contractors of urgent and unexpected projects ................................. 38 5.2.2 A cross-case analysis of the critical success factors ............................................................................. 42 5.2.3 A robustness check on the effects of job functions on results ............................................................. 42 5.2.4 The rating of success criteria and development of propositions ......................................................... 42

    6 DISCUSSION ......................................................................................................... 45

    6.1 THEORETICAL IMPLICATIONS ...................................................................................... 45 6.2 MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS ....................................................................................... 46 6.3 RESEARCH LIMITATIONS ........................................................................................... 47 6.4 FUTURE RESEARCH ................................................................................................ 48

  • 4

    6.5 CONCLUSION ..................................................................................................... 49

    7 REFERENCES ........................................................................................................ 50

    APPENDIX I: LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS .............................................................................. 56

    APPENDIX II: INTERVIEW PROTOCOL SENIOR MANAGER ........................................................ 57

    APPENDIX III: INTERVIEW PROTOCOL TEAM MEMBER ........................................................... 62

    APPENDIX IV: SUMMARY FINDINGS WITHIN-CASE ANALYSIS ................................................... 66

    APPENDIX V: RESPONDENT SUCCESS CRITERIA SCORES ........................................................ 69

    APPENDIX VI: ASSESSMENT REFERENCE POINTS CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS ............................ 70

    APPENDIX VII: DEVELOPMENT OF SUCCESS CRITERIA PROPOSITIONS ....................................... 71

    APPENDIX VIII: DEVELOPMENT OF CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTOR PROPOSITIONS ........................... 74

    APPENDIX IX: ROBUSTNESS CHECK OF SUCCESS CRITERIA ...............................................