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International Journal of Project Management 28 (2010) 361369


www.elsevier.com/locate/ijproman

Considering Human Resource Management when developing a


project-oriented company: Case study of a telecommunication company
Martina Huemann *
PROJEKTMANAGEMENT GROUP, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Franz Klein Gasse 1, A 1190 Vienna, Austria

Received 17 February 2010; accepted 17 February 2010

Abstract

The paper reports on a longitudinal multi method case study of a company from the telecommunication industry. The company has
developed into a project-oriented company during the last 12 years (19972009). In this paper the development is analyzed and structured
into phases. The limits of planning and managing change processes in practice are reected. The development of the case study company
towards project-orientation was rather ad hoc than planned and structured. The ndings indicate that in a project-oriented company
Human Resource Management also needs to change from an administration function to become a proactive business partner supporting
project-oriented management.
2010 Elsevier Ltd and IPMA. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Change; Project management; Project-oriented company; HRM; Business partner

1. Introduction 12 years (19972009). The focus is on HRM, in which the


relation between employee and organization is managed
Project-oriented working is widely adopted in compa- (Paauwe, 2004). The study indicates that HRM has to
nies (Whittington et al., 1999). Researchers have started change radically to fully support project-oriented working.
dening and analysing the value of project management The objectives of this paper are to:
in organizations (Thomas and Mullaly, 2008). Although
organization and management scholars have indicated that  contribute to a better understanding of developing into
the adoption of Managing by Projects (Gareis, 1990) as a project-oriented company,
organizational strategy in a company should have funda-  analyze required changes in HRM, when developing
mental eects on supporting functions such as the Human into a project-oriented company,
Resource Management (HRM) (Knight, 1977), project-ori-  reect the possibilities and limits of managing the
ented companies are struggling in aligning HRM to the change into a project-oriented company.
needs of project-oriented companies (Huemann, forthcom-
ing; Turner et al., 2008a) and changing HRM, when devel- The paper is structured as following: rst the project-
oping into a project-oriented company seams to be often oriented company is dened, a brief overview on develop-
neglected in practice. ing a company into a project-oriented company is provided
This paper reports on a longitudinal multi method case and special challenges and potentials for HRM in the pro-
study of a telecommunication company, which has devel- ject-oriented company are summarized. The research
oped into a project-oriented company during the last approach and how this case study was conducted are
described. The case study ndings are presented, discussed
*
Tel.: +43 1 31336 5530. and linked back to the literature on HRM in project-ori-
E-mail address: martina.huemann@wu.ac.at ented companies and to change management.

0263-7863/$36.00 2010 Elsevier Ltd and IPMA. All rights reserved.


doi:10.1016/j.ijproman.2010.02.008
362 M. Huemann / International Journal of Project Management 28 (2010) 361369

2. The project-oriented company decentralization of control and standardization of project


management (Hodgson, 2004, 2005; Raisanen and Linde,
It has been widely claimed that there is a paradigm shift 2004), the specic role of executives to support implanta-
in the nature of 21st-century organizations with projects as tion of project management (Thomas et al., 2002), drivers
a specic and signicant characteristic (Whittington et al., for project-oriented working as an organizational innova-
1999). These types of companies are called projectied, tion (Martinsuo et al., 2006). Overall, little reference is
project business, project intensive, project-led, multi-pro- made to change and change management.
ject, project based or project-oriented company (for exam- The implementation of project management in an orga-
ple: Artto and Kujala, 2008; Hobday, 2000; Lindkvist, nization can be considered as a change which touches dif-
2004; Midler, 1995; Turner, 2009). While labels for this ferent identity dimensions of the organization (Stummer
kind of companies vary, the basic assumption that projects and Gareis, 2005). A central dimension to be changed is
can be considered as a means of dierentiation is shared. Human Resources, as personnel require new competenc-
Organizations apply projects to be more dierentiated to es and skills. Thus to provide project management training
deal with the increasing complexity of the environment is often perceived as one of the key functions of HRM to
(Morris, 1997). support the developing of a company towards a project-
In the paper the construct project-oriented company is oriented company. Beyond organizing for project manage-
taken as the basic concept, which emphasis that the com- ment training, little emphasis is given to required changes
pany explicitly chooses to be project-oriented and manages in HRM (Huemann, forthcoming; Bredin and Soderlund,
a project portfolio of dierent internal and external project 2006). Generally, in literature as well as in practice,
types (Gareis, 2005). The project-oriented company is a required developments in HRM, including HRM services,
social construct and has specic organizational strategy, processes and roles are often not considered, although
structures and culture. many challenges and potentials for HRM in the project-
Management by Projects is considered as the organi- oriented company exist.
zational strategy of the project-oriented company (Gareis,
1990, 2005). The company applies temporary organizations 4. HRM in the project-oriented company
such as projects and programs to perform business pro-
cesses, when appropriate (Gareis and Stummer, 2008). To add value HRM needs to be aligned to the context
Temporary structures such as projects and programs and the strategies of the company (Paauwe, 2004; Ulrich,
lead to organizational dierentiation within companies, 1997). Paauwe (2004) stresses the importance of designing
which therefore also require specic integration structures the relation between employee and organization. Accord-
(Morris, 1997), such as, project portfolios, expert pools ing to him exchange relationship involves not only labour,
(Gareis, 2005) or a Project Management Oce (PM Oce) money, and time but also competences, knowledge, infor-
(Hobbs et al., 2008). mation, learning, participation, and well-being (Paauwe,
The project-oriented company is characterized by an 2004, p. 3).
explicit project management culture. The project-oriented The organizational strategy, the specic temporary and
company advocates a culture based on management con- permanent structures and the specic culture challenge
cepts, such as Lean Management, Total Quality Manage- HRM in the project-oriented company. Scholars have indi-
ment, the Learning Organization, and Business Process cated, that in the project-oriented company challenges arise
Re-Engineering (Gareis, 2005). The management culture for authority and responsibility of project managers (Fabi
of the project-oriented company is characterized by cus- and Pettersen, 1992; Gaddis, 1959), the careers of project
tomer-orientation, process-orientation, interdisciplinary managers (Jones and DeFillippi, 1996; Keegan and Turner,
cross functional team work (Lang and Rattay, 2005) net- 2003; Larsen, 2002), salaries and promotion of project
working with clients and suppliers (Gareis, 2005) and managers (Allen and Katz, 1995) employee-wellbeing
empowerment (Beirne, 2006). Values like learning, trust (Packendor, 2002; Turner et al., 2008b), stress (Aitken
(Soderlund and Bredin, 2006), diversity (Hanappi-Egger, and Crawford, 2007; Gallstedt, 2003), coping with project
2006) are pursued. overload (Zika-Viktorsson et al., 2006), resource allocation
(Engwall and Jerbrant, 2003; Eskerod, 1998).
3. Developing as project-oriented company Project-oriented companies require adapted line HRM
processes, such as recruiting, developing, appraising,
Cases of developing as project-oriented company are rewarding, releasing and specic project HRM processes
reported (Thomas and Mullaly, 2008). Specic competenc- such as assigning, developing, appraising, rewarding, dis-
es and capabilities of project-oriented companies are persing (Huemann et al., 2007). But also relatively mature
described in literature (for example: Brady and Davies, project-oriented companies are still struggling with inade-
2004; Soderlund and Tell, 2009). Maturity models to sup- quate HRM. Mutual alignments between project HRM
port the development of project-oriented companies were and line HRM to support the project-oriented company
developed (Andersen and Jessen, 2003; Gareis and Hue- are often missing (Turner et al., 2008a; Huemann, forth-
mann, 2007). Some studies investigate the challenge of coming). HRM in the project-oriented company is more
M. Huemann / International Journal of Project Management 28 (2010) 361369 363

decentralized, requiring HRM tasks carried out by the pretations. This allowed the company also to reection
HRM department, line managers (Soderlund and Bredin, and further development in the HRM dimension, during
2007) as well as by project managers (Keegan et al., 2009). the course of the study.
Thus changing a company to a project-oriented com-
pany requires major changes in HRM, including HRM ser- 6. The case study
vices, processes and roles. This calls for a new mandate for
Human Resources as Dave Ulrich advocates for the con- 6.1. The case study company
temporary rm (Ulrich, 1998, pp. 124125):
The company is part of the wireline telecommunication
 First, HR should become a partner with senior and line industry and is situated in Austria. It was a former state
managers in strategy execution, helping move planning owned company, which was privatized in 1996 and in
from the conference room to the marketplace. 2000 went on the stock exchange. The company was under
 Second, it should become an expert in the way work is a lot of pressure and had to transform itself in several ways
organized and executed, delivering administrative e- to be competitive on the market. In context of the develop-
ciency to ensure that costs are reduced while quality is ment towards a project-oriented company, a transforma-
maintained. tion (Gareis, 2010) from a very hierarchical company to
 Third, it should become a champion for employees, vig- a modern one took place. The number of employees had
orously representing their concerns to senior manage- to be reduced tremendously, while company services were
ment and at the same time working to increase increased and their quality ensured. While in 1998 the com-
employees commitment to organization and their abil- pany had about 17,400 employees, in 2008 there were
ity to deliver results. about 8,570 employees, of which about 70% were civil
 And nally, HR should become an agent of continuous servants.
transformation, shaping processes and culture that
together improve an organizations capacity for change. 6.2. Dierent phases of developing as project-oriented
company

5. Methodology The development can be structured by the researcher


into phases. The phases were labeled by the researcher
The ndings presented in this paper are based on a multi and are present here.
method, multi-year study of a company from the telecom-
munication industry (Eisenhardt, 1989; Eisenhardt and 6.3. Welcome to the project jungle: 19971999
Graebner, 2007). The company was chosen as an example
of a company, which was developing itself from a hierar- 6.3.1. Need for projects and project-orientation
chical state owned company to a project-oriented com- After the privatizations the company was very hierarchi-
pany. The case study covers the period between 1997 and cal. There was a need for internal projects and for their
2009. professional management. One of the rst projects was
Documentation analysis, interviews, observations were the introduction of SAP for four million clients, 2500 work
applied. Documentation analysis was performed on internal places and 12,000 training days, including changes in pro-
company documents as well as public documents such as cesses. Similar projects were conducted and in the technical
annual reports. Sixteen formal single and group interviews unit, product development started considering the rele-
with project managers, project team members, HR manager, vance of project and project management.
PM Oce managers and line managers were conducted. All
together 20 persons were formally interviewed between 2003 6.3.2. Major developments
and 2009. Some of the interview partners left the company, There was little understanding of what a project is. Pro-
others changed their positions within the company. Several ject was considered as a working group, which meets once a
interview partners were interviewed several times in the week. All temporary work was called project. The project
course of the study to be able to follow developments. The management competence was depending on the individual,
interviews were supported by semi-structured interview and was dierent from project manager to project man-
guides. In addition to these formal interviews, many infor- ager. Some big projects were conducted successfully and
mal conversations took place. The author had been observ- professionally, others failed completely. There was little
ing the developments of the company since 1999 and was overview on the projects, no project-portfolio management
partly involved in dierent occasions, for example assess- existed.
ment of the competences of project managers of one of the
units in 2000 (Huemann, 2002), maturity assessment of sev- 6.3.3. HRM
eral units of the company in 2004. As no qualied project management personnel were
The ndings were discussed with interview partners in available, consultants were recruited as project managers
the company in order to clarify understandings and inter- and as core team members, on temporary assignments.
364 M. Huemann / International Journal of Project Management 28 (2010) 361369

Some were oered permanent contracts in the company. approaches, were possible and to dene a common project
The HRM department paid project management trainings, management strategy.
for those who asked for. Who was trained was adminis-
tered in a database. There was no active support of devel- 6.4.3. HRM
oping project managers. For large projects pure project To provide an incentive for the employees to be better
organizations were established, personnel were explicitly able to take over work package responsibility, managers
assigned to the project by the HRM department. This in the technical unit started to promote project manage-
was a challenge for the organization as technically there ment certication. They organized assessment of individual
was no way to establish such a temporary organization. project management competences and supported project
The HR department was itself very hierarchical. HRM management certication. The profession project manager
was a reactive administration function. was started to being established.
The PM oces took responsibility in shaping HRM, to
6.4. We make it work: 20002004 support more adequately for project-oriented working. In
2001 the rst pilot project management certications took
6.4.1. Need for projects and project-orientation place, in 2003 they were rolled out through the company. A
To become ready for the stock exchange, in 1999/2000 career path for project managers, linked to project manage-
more transparency was necessary, project budgets became ment certication levels was established in cooperation
necessary and an overview on the projects became neces- with the HRM department.
sary. Thus there was the need for more professional and To establish large projects as temporary organizations
more standardized project management to ensure transpar- dummy units were opened up and closed down when the
ency and traceability. projects were nished. Personnel were explicitly assigned
to the project by the HRM department. Job descriptions
6.4.2. Status of project-orientation and development for project managers were established by the HRM
initiatives department.
In 1999/2000 top management set an initiative and tried
to introduce project management guidelines. This top 6.5. Growing a project management community: 20052009
down approach failed completely, because there was still
no clear and common understanding what a project was 6.5.1. Need for projects and project-orientation
and the project management guidelines were not ade- There was further need for reducing personnel, further
quately adapted to the organization. But by now several change projects were conducted, which required profes-
islands of project management existed in the company, sional management. Also customer assignments became
which had developed themselves. One island was the tech- more and more complex as new services like providing
nical unit, another one the IT unit, and the nance unit, infrastructure for workplaces, or security services were
responsible for conducting organizational development established. Thus professional project management became
projects. even more relevant, as it now was also of relevance for
In the technical unit, were product development projects complex customer assignments. Dierent internal and
were carried out, the managers found that by project work external projects were performed. Generally, the demand
they could organize the work better and employees would for professional project and program management
be better motivated by working in teams. Still there was increased. In 2008/2009 a large infrastructure moderniza-
a struggle to cooperate with other departments like market- tion initiative was started. By the end of 2009 as personnel
ing, which is necessary for successful product development were further reduced the company was challenged with
projects. Later they established a project management pro- proper resource planning to prevent project over load.
cess for product development including project team mem-
bers from other departments. 6.5.2. Major developments
Finally, in 2001 three PM oces were established in dif- As there was increasing need for projects, project work-
ferent units. Project portfolio databases and management ing was becoming part of the culture in the company. No
were introduced in these three units. Still there was a strug- overreaching PM oce was established, but nowadays
gle with the project denition. The dierent units had dif- three PM oces exist, one in the technical unit, one in
ferent project management approaches, but the started the nance/controlling unit and one in the sales unit. The
working together. musketeers from the previous phase had left the company
A small group of project managers, closely related to the or moved onto other positions. The technical unit started
PM oces promoted project management within the com- an initiative, to establish a company wide project manage-
pany. They were called the musketeers, within the com- ment community to promote exchange of knowledge
pany. In 2004 the units performed a maturity assessment between all project managers and to further promote the
and benchmarked with each other to understand commu- profession.
nalities and dierences. The aim was to establish an over- A company wide categorization system for projects was
reaching PM oce, to standardize the project management established and common minimum project management
M. Huemann / International Journal of Project Management 28 (2010) 361369 365

requirements are currently developed for all project types. The process can be described retrospectively. The described
A central project-portfolio group was established. The process is characterized by trials and errors and initiatives
proper resource planning is now tackled by a central port- set on dierent hierarchical levels of the organization.
folio planning, a professional selection of PMs and com- A project initiated by the board of directors to establish
pany wide denitions of projects and programs, were project management in 2000 was conducted. The main rea-
started to be established in 2009. An explicit change pro- son for promoting it was the need for more transparency
gram to develop professionally into a project-oriented and traceability. It tried to go straight into project-portfo-
company will be rolled out in 2010. lio management without really agreeing what a project is
within the organizations and which project management
6.5.3. HRM process and methods are required for the single project.
The need for growing own project managers, who It failed, as it did neither meet the requirements of the orga-
understand the context of the organization was recognized nizations nor the ones of the employees.
by HRM. Assessment centers for identifying potential pro- It was rather that the change towards a project-oriented
ject managers were developed and conducted. The PM company happened to this organization, than explicitly
career path was further developed. managed. There was little explicit structuring of developing
Standardized training of project managers, team mem- into a project-oriented organization. The development was
bers and project owners were established. Project managers rather ad hoc and very person driven. Especially represen-
were considered as mangers and leaders and received lead- tatives of middle management took on a driving role, as
ership training and were trained in social competences and they could see the benets of professional project manage-
self competences as a basis for the leadership tasks in pro- ment and saw by being able to oer project work to the
jects. To professionalize the communication between pro- employees they could oer attractive working forms. These
ject mangers and project owners, specic trainings and bottom up approaches were more successful, but always
coaching how they can better communicate with each other limited to the restricted area of power inuence of the par-
were established. Project management certication was ticular managers. Thus project management islands within
continued. the company were created and established, which now need
Generally, HRM started supporting HRM in projects as to be broken up and aligned to each other. The PM oces
well as the alignment between HRM in projects and in the played a central role in promoting and professionalizing
line. HR oers incentive packages for project teams to sup- project management.
port a proper project team development. HRM oers ser- One can question what type of change it was. Following
vice to line managers to help nd adequate project the change types of Gareis (2010), who makes the point
mangers provide feedback to team members, formally that change is only change, if it is explicitly managed as
linked to the appraisal system in the line. such, one could argue that as there was no explicitly man-
The HRM activities were shaped by the HRM depart- aged change process this is not change. The develop-
ment in cooperation with the PM oces. In contrast to ments that happened can retrospectively constructed to
the previous phase HR has taken the lead and started make sense to the organization. The company had learnt
actively supporting project-oriented working. to manage projects. But because it was not managed
Because of personal changes in the HR department, accordingly it had taken quite many years. As pressures
there was the possibility for major changes there. The are getting even higher, in 2009 the company explicitly
HRM department is no longer functionally organized, started with organizing a change program to professional-
but there are HRM generalists who are themselves respon- ize project-oriented management.
sible for dierent internal business partner groups. Many
of the HR generalist themselves have project management 7.2. Project management as a byproduct and required
competences and thus they are used in working as team potential
members in projects or managing personnel or change
related projects and programs. HR started to understand The company overall had to change from a hierarchical
themselves as business partner and started themselves former state owned company to a modern project-oriented
being organizing project-oriented. organization. The company was very hierarchical and pro-
Table 1 provides a summary of the dierent phases. jects and project work were new and irritating the estab-
lished structures. Overall, there was an ever increasing
7. Discussion demand for change in the company but very little potential
to change at the beginning of the case study. This can oer
7.1. Change happens? an explanation why the process towards a project-oriented
company rather happened as a byproduct and can only be
The case study provides the opportunity to follow the described retrospectively.
development process of a company as project-oriented The company slowly learnt to do projects. However, the
company over a 12 year period of time. The process was need for change overall increased the need for managing
not planned long term, nor was it managed explicitly. internal projects, and made project management a core
366 M. Huemann / International Journal of Project Management 28 (2010) 361369

Table 1
Overview of the development as project-oriented company between 1997 and 2009.
Phase Need for projects and project-orientation Developments as project-oriented HRM contributions by HRM
company HRM department/PM department
oces
Welcome to the Need for organizing internal it/ Single internal projects were Establishment of project Functional
project jungle: organizational development projects professionally managed (mainly organization organized
19971999 from external project managers) Recruiting of appropriate HRM as
project managers from reactive
outside the company administration
function
We make it work: More need for changing the Project budget was established, PM certication Functional
20002004 organization, change/development which provides a certain autonomy organized
projects were required to the project Assessments of project HRM as
managers and team functionally
members organized unit
PMI oces were established in Establish profession PM
several units started
Technical unit sees advantage of projects Portfolio management in units Career path for project
and PM for product development and started managers Standardized
infrastructure projects PM trainings started
Need for transparency and traceability of PM promoted by PM oces Job description for project
projects required because company went managers
to stock exchange
Growing a project Need for further change projects PM community established Identify high potential HR as business
management project managers partner
community: 2005 Balancing the dierent
2009 career paths
A large infrastructure program is carried PM oces professionalized PM certication continued
out Company-wide portfolio Leadership training for
management PMs started
Customer assignments get more and Company wide minimum PM Proper company wide HR generalists
more complex, some are to be organized standard started resource planning started
as projects Establishment of project owner role Aligning project HRM Project-oriented
started with line HRM started HR unit

requirement to be able to organize the transformation of considered as a project and can be managed by the routine
the company overall. On the one hand the increasing line organization.
demand and pressures for this company forced the com-
pany to learn how to do projects. The less resources are 7.3. Required changes in HRM to support project-orientation
available the more professionalism is required.
On the other hand the company recognized the more As the change towards a project-oriented company was
professionally they manage projects, the better they are not explicitly managed, HRM was not adequately consid-
ready to manage the transformation of the company. Thus ered. Following Huemann et al. (2007) project HRM and
professionalizing project management (for internal pro- line HRM are dierentiated. Tables 2 and 3 summarize
jects) might be considered as one way to raise the potential project HRM and line HRM in the dierent phases of
for change in a company. the case study, which never the less indicate a growing
Further the case study indicates that now as the cus- maturity to support project-orientation.
tomer assignments are becoming more complex, the com- While the reactive HRM administration function in
pany is ready to apply project management to customer phase one and two did not proactively support project-
projects. This provides on the one hand an opportunity orientation, some HRM developments did take place like
for the company on the other hand it increases the demand the establishment of a project management career path
for professionalization of project management and project- and the promotion of the profession project manager, as
orientation in the company. The company is starting to uti- indicated in Table 1. Only in the last phases of the case
lize the strategy Managing by Projects (Gareis, 2005), study HRM took over responsibility to adapt HRM ser-
thus there is awareness that not all customer assignments vices, processes and organization, before the PM oces
might require to be organized as projects, but for some it were driving required HRM changes. Recently the com-
is essential. This requires a clear understanding within a pany has started formally aligning project HRM and line
company, what is considered as a project and what is not HRM.
M. Huemann / International Journal of Project Management 28 (2010) 361369 367

Table 2
Project HRM.
Phase Assigning Developing Appraising Rewarding Dispersing
Welcome to the Consultants as PMs and core Performed together with
project jungle: team members recruited from releasing from company for
19971999 outside the company the external project managers
We make it work: Voluntary assignments for Projects as Feedback in projects, often Non Seldom performed
20002004 internal projects development informal, depending on project monetary
Often rather political chances for manger and project owner team
assignments of project employees rewards
managers
Selecting and assigning partly No formal link to appraising in
supported by PM Oce line
Growing a project Voluntary assignments for Projects as Formal feedback established Non Performed for key personnel
management internal projects development monetary
community: chances for team
20052009 employees rewards
Selecting and assignment of Team Formally linked to appraising
PM supported by HRM and development in the line
or PM Oce supported
Selection core project
personnel key personnel
project supported

Table 3
Line HRM.
Phase Recruiting Developing Appraising Rewarding Releasing
Welcome to the PMs and core team Little developing Not formally External project External project managers
project jungle: members are recruited as eorts for PM performed for project mangers rewarded with are released from the
19971999 consultants from outside personnel managers, as they bonuses company or oered
the company were external permanent contracts
External project
managers are oered
permanent contracts
We make it Recruiting of potential Training for project Annual appraisals Rewarding system Not specic for pm
work: 2000 project managers managers and team recognizes projects as personnel
2004 members variable part of
Recruiting project Some assessment of performance contract Some times still external
personnel for specic project managers and project managers get
project is still possible project team members specic project assignments
PM certication A network of freelance
project mangers is available
Growing a Little recruiting of new Assessment centers for Annual appraisals Rewarding system Not specic for pm
project PMs from outside the project mangers linked to the recognizes projects as personnel
management company Training for project appraising (formal variable part of Some times still external
community: managers, project feedbacks) in projects performance contract project managers get
20052009 team members and specic project assignments
project owners
Developing leadership A network of freelance
competence of project project mangers is available
managers
Coaching of project
managers and project
owners PM
certication

The case study provides evidence that the HRM tasks Project managers carry out HRM tasks for project team
are further distributed in a project-oriented company, even members, even if he or she has no personnel authority. It
beyond the line (Keegan et al., 2009), but at the same time was quite interesting that most of the project managers
HRM is required to provide processes, career and incen- were not aware that they had HR functions on their pro-
tives systems centrally to support project-oriented working. ject, for instance they describe that they are responsible
368 M. Huemann / International Journal of Project Management 28 (2010) 361369

for getting adequate personnel on the project, or do formal tunities, projects as source of motivation and oering
or informal appraisals, but often when asked directly which interesting working forms to employees.
HR tasks they would do on projects, they answered none. The HRM unit changed from a passive administration
This little awareness of project managers that they carry function to a pro active business partner, which takes on
out project HRM as well as little maturity of HRM to ade- a mandate for HRM as advocated by Ulrich (1998). They
quately support project-oriented working in companies as started themselves organizing their work project-oriented.
outlined in literatures (Turner et al., 2008a), might contrib- By understanding project-oriented working, HRM can bet-
ute to explaining why earlier studies on HRM and project ter support the project-oriented company and its require-
success found little importance of HRM for project success ments. The project-oriented HRM unit, could be a
(Belout, 1998; Belout and Gauvreau, 2004). promising research topic that derives from this case study.

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