Dynamic capability through project portfolio management in service and manufacturing industries

Catherine P. Killen*, Robert A. Hunt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to summarise a recent doctoral thesis on the relationship between project portfolio management (PPM) and competitive advantage in service and manufacturing organisations. Design/methodology/approachThis two-phase mixed method study comprises a quantitative questionnaire-based survey and a qualitative multiple-case study to address the “what” and the “how” of the research questions. FindingsThis paper adopts a “dynamic capabilities” perspective, drawing on organisational learning theory to explain the path-dependent nature of PPM capability development and how PPM capabilities work with the resource base to enhance competitive advantage. Findings support prior PPM studies and suggest a positive relationship between structured PPM capabilities and improved outcomes. The research compares service and manufacturing environments; future challenges are likely to result from the increasing blurring of the boundaries between service and manufacturing industries. Practical implicationsThe research has four main practical outcomes: development of a model representing the overall PPM capability; a benchmark for and guidance on specific PPM processes and methods; guidance on the types of organisational learning investments that enhance the establishment and evolution of PPM capabilities; and the initial development of an outcomes and learning-based maturity model for PPM capabilities. Originality/valueThis paper produces the first benchmark of innovation PPM capabilities in Australia, and is the first to include service product-focused portfolios. It is the first study that identifies PPM capabilities as dynamic capability, allowing existing research to be viewed through the dynamic capability lens and, more importantly, providing a theoretical underpinning that may influence future research and practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-169
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Managing Projects in Business
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jan 2010


  • Innovation
  • Learning organizations
  • Manufacturing industries
  • Product development
  • Project management
  • Service industries


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