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Nov 9, 2013 (3 years and 11 months ago)

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Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


1






Version 6 9/15
/2010

MJGlovis@gmail.co

Mobile:
248 649 2013



Lawrence Technological University

College of Management

Dissertation Proposal

A QUALITATIVE STUDY IN THE EXPRESSION OF

FLOW
: I
NTRINSIC
MOTIVATION IN DEVELOPING INDIVIDUAL AND GROUP
TRANSCENDENCE WITHIN THE DELIVERY OF COMPLEX SYSTEM
INTEGRATION
PROJECTS


Presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements


For the degree of

Doctor of Business Administration


Michael John Glovis



2011






Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


2






TABLE OF CONTENTS

PREFACE

................................
................................
................................
................................
.....

10

CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION

................................
................................
...............................

16

1.1

Background to Study

................................
................................
................................
..

16

1.2

Problem Statement

................................
................................
................................
......

20

1.3

Purpose of Study

................................
................................
................................
.........

26

1.4

Research Question

................................
................................
................................
......

27

1.5

Hypotheses
................................
................................
................................
..................

28

1.6

Significan
ce of Study
................................
................................
................................
..

30

1.7

Project Overview

................................
................................
................................
........

32

1.8

Contribution of Dissertation to Academic and Practitioner Audience

.......................

32

1.9

Delimitations
and Limitations of the Research

................................
..........................

33

1.10

Definition of Terms

................................
................................
................................
....

34

1.11

Academic Literature Review Research Structure

................................
.......................

37

1.12

Summary

................................
................................
................................
.....................

37

CHAPTER 2

LITERATURE REVIEW

................................
................................
....................

40

2.1

Introduction

................................
................................
................................
................

40

2.2

Project
Delivery and Performance

................................
................................
..............

48

Table 2.1.
Nine Schools of Project Thought

................................
...........................

50

2.2.1

Project Management

................................
................................
......................

52

2.2.
2

Systems, Applications and Products in Data Processing (SAP)

...................

55

2.2.3

History of SAP

................................
................................
..............................

55

2.2.4

SAP Enterprise Applications

................................
................................
.........

58

2.2.5

SAP Project Overview

................................
................................
..................

62

2.
2.6

SAP and Flow
................................
................................
................................

65

2.2.7

SAP Flow Research

................................
................................
.......................

67

2.2.8

Project Management and SAP Literature Review Summary

........................

68

Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


3




2.3

Introduction to Flow

................................
................................
................................
...

69

2.3.
1

Origin of the Flow Experience

................................
................................
......

69

2.3.2

Examples of Flow
................................
................................
..........................

71

2.3.3

Elements of Flow

................................
................................
..........................

74

2.3.4 Skill and Challenge

................................
................................
.......................

77

2.3.5 Flow in Organizations, Projects, and Team Members

................................
..

82

2.3.6

Flow Summary

................................
................................
..............................

84

2.4

Motivation

................................
................................
................................
..................

87

2.4.1

Extrinsic Motivation

................................
................................
......................

89

2.4.2

Intrinsic Motivation

................................
................................
.......................

90

2.4.3

Intrinsic Motivation and Timelessness

................................
..........................

91

2.4.4 Timelessness, Computer Gaming, Flow, and the

WEB

................................
.

98

2.4.5 The Multiple Lenses of Project Teams

................................
........................

101

2.4.4

Transcendence

................................
................................
.............................

102

2.4.5

Transcendence, Organizations, and Creativity

................................
...........

103

2.4.6 Motivation Summary

................................
................................
..................

107

2.5

Positive Organizational Scholarship

................................
................................
.........

108

2.5.1

Flow

................................
................................
................................
.............

110

2.5.2

Projects

................................
................................
................................
........

112

2.5.3

Strategy
................................
................................
................................
........

113

2.6

SOAR
................................
................................
................................
........................

113

Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


4




2.6.1

Strategy
................................
................................
................................
........

116

2.6.2

Sustai
nability

................................
................................
...............................

116

2.7

Flow Literature Update

................................
................................
.............................

116

2.8

Summary

................................
................................
................................
...................

116

CHAPTER 3

RESEARCH DESIGN AND PROCEDURES

................................
..................

117

3.1

Introduction

................................
................................
................................
..............

117

3.2

Research Perspective

................................
................................
................................

117

3.3

Research Design

................................
................................
................................
.......

118

3.4

Research Variables

................................
................................
................................
...

119

3.5

Research Question and Study Hypotheses

................................
...............................

122

3.6

Survey Participants

................................
................................
................................
...

124

3.6.1

Participant Recruitment Procedure

................................
................................
...........

125

3.6.2

Institutional Review Board

................................
................................
.......................

125

3.7

Path Analysis Modeling
................................
................................
............................

125

3.8

Mediation

................................
................................
................................
..................

127

3.9

Survey Instrument Development

................................
................................
..............

129

3.10

Survey Data Collection Methodology

................................
................................
......

132

3.11

Data Analysis

................................
................................
................................
............

133

3.11.1

Structural Equation Modeling

................................
................................
...............

133

3.11.2

Model Specification

................................
................................
....................

134

3.11.3

Model Identification

................................
................................
....................

136

3.11.4

Model Estimation

................................
................................
........................

137

3.11.5

Testing Model Fit

................................
................................
........................

137

3.11.6

Model Re
-
specification

................................
................................
...............

138

3.12

Research Timeline

................................
................................
................................
....

139

3.13

Summary

................................
................................
................................
...................

139

CHAPTER 4

DATA ANALYSIS

................................
................................
...........................

141

CHAPTER 5

AREAS for FUTURE STUDY

................................
................................
.........

142

REFERENCES

................................
................................
................................
...........................

144

Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


5




APPENDIX A
Survey with Soar,
flow.xlsx

................................
................................
................................
.....................

160

APPENDIX B

................................
................................
................................
.............................

165

Construct:
Variable Name
Variable Description
Column1
About You
How you were engaged in the Project
Cl
Team Member - Employed Directly by Customer
CLC
Team Member - Free agent or contractor employed directly by customer
PA
Team Member - Employed directly by Supplier Partner
FA
Team Member - Free Agent contracted by Supplier Partner
COS
Client Management & Oversight - (PMO/Controlling/Executive Mgmt./Board
Member)
POS
Partner Oversight - (Acct. Exec/Principal/Delivery Leader)
SF
I was engaged from project start to finish
Your Language
L1
Your first language was the same as that of the local customer's first language
L2
Your first language was not the same as that of the local customer's first language
Knowledge of SAP
SAP1
Little or none, first experience with SAP
SAP2
Class work only and no practical experience
SAP3
Class work plus project experience - consultant level
SAP4
Senior experienced Lead consultant level
SAPM
Project Manager
Number of Prior SAP Projects in which you
worked
SW1
This was my first SAP project
SW2
3 or less
SW3
More than 3
Primary Project Area of Expertise
FICO
Finance/Tax/Treasury/Controlling
SD
Sales and Distribution/Order to Cash
MM
Material Management/Purchase order to Payment
WM
Warehouse Management
SCM
Supply Chain Management
CRM
Customer Relationship Management
OTH
Developer
SRM
Supplier Relationship Management
BASIS
System setup and related tasks during project
ABAP
Other Area
Survey Instrument for Analysis of
Flow
in SAP Projects
Prepared by Michael J. Glovis in Partial Fulfillment of the Degree of Doctor Business Administration
Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


6




APPENDIX B(Continued)
................................
................................
................................
................................
...............

166

APPENDIX C

................................
................................
................................
.............................

167

Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


7




APPENDIX D

................................
................................
................................
.............................

168

APPENDIX E

................................
................................
................................
.............................

171

APPENDIX F
................................
................................
................................
..............................

178

APPENDIX F
................................
................................
................................
..............................

180

APPENDIX G

................................
................................
................................
.............................

181

Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


8




APPENDIX H

Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


9





.......

186

APPENDIX I

................................
................................
................................
..............................

190




Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


10




PREFACE

The Child

A young child can hardly wait for the next morning and counts the moments until he can
go out
side and play. He wakes up early, clear
-
headed, with plans forming in his young mind, he
quickly dresses, eats breakfast, kisses his mom and runs out of the hous
e to experience a new day
full of promise
, challenge

and opportunities to advance his skills.
His favorite pastime is to dig in
the backyard.

Bud Millslagel, a neighbor and retired steelworker explains in a very serious tone, that
the boy takes as gospel

truth
, that if he digs far enough he would find gold; for sure water, and
even further he coul
d end up in China. How exciting the prospects

of

realiz
ing

such possibilities;
he dreams of showing his parents the fruits of his labor and energy
.

He calculates the challenge
of keeping the sides of the perceived enormous pit from collapsing and the engineering required
to dig a whole deep enough to reach China; this surely requires ardent calculations
,

but the
youngster is not aware of his limitati
ons.
Regardless if he finds gold, water

or China
,

he feels
intrinsically motivated and rewarded. He does not get paid for his effort, but he does it with a
tremendous vigor
;
time passes so quickly when engaged in the labor of his passion.
In his mind
,

no economic, physical or other limitation is insurmountable! His challenges are met with his ever
increasing skills!


The sky is blue and the air fresh. In the background
,

the din of the steel mills can be
heard while the sun gently warms his hands. Lat
er
,

friends come to visit
,

and
with

arms tired
from
the
labors and intricate designs of connecting two holes with an underground tunnel,
he
decides to go off with the other kids to build models, team up and play baseball, football and
Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


11




other game
s, chase butterflies

and

put on shows for the children
.

He does

those things that are
truly inspirational and lead to thoughts of greater adventure; for he hears the universe calling
him. Creative thoughts bubble into his wide open mind and he caref
ully stores them for the next
opportunity to test and enhance his ever increasing skills!

All too soon he hears his mother calling
:

”It’s

time to come home for dinner
.

It’s
getting
dark
.

Time
to put your toys away
.

You
have
school tomorrow
.

How
did you get so dirty
?

Just
look at your clothes
!”

He hears all

the other humdrum words and tasks that link a child to his
adult future. Suddenly
,

time is no longer flying but dragging through the toils of a bath and
getting ready for bed.
T
he rigors of life
ultimately
challenge
the
day’s wonderful experience.
Freedom, creativity and enthusiasm are challenged and often too quickly surrendered to an
unforgiving world. Can the magic
and “
flow

of these
experiences

ever be recaptured?

The Artist

The artist

deftly moves her brush across the canvas
.

She
mixes colors and hues that may
never have been seen by the human eye
,

and strokes the canvas with a touch that may never
again be duplicated.
She is in a state of optimal experience
; a condition

that
Csiks
zentmihalyi
(1975)

called
flow
.
She looks at her work and self critiques certain aspects that she wanted to
improve, yet smiles inwardly at the results. She looks out the window; time seems strangely
altered as she lose
s herself, gazing at the setting sun, staring at the trees that are lush and for a
moment
,

vividly spots the fairies who are dancing in the fading sunbeams. She cannot remember
where the day went! She looks at the fruit of her artistic labor, nods that the

painting has for the
most part captured her inner feelings
.
She
lovingly lifts the canvas off the easel, places it upright
on the floor with all of the other works which she has completed over the past months, and puts a
fresh canvas on the easel. She looks again and thinks inwardly of unique and even more
Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


12




challenging
techniques to express her imaginative thoughts. Her challenge has become her
passion as she develops her skills to express her ever evolving
creative
style. Unceremoniously
,

she starts over without regard to the financial aspects of the unsold paintings th
at are piling up
to
form a colorful backdrop to her studio. She has to pay the rent and frets for an instant, but her
passion is neither the reward nor the money. Her passion blooms

as

each canvas
reflects

the
intrinsic satisfaction
gai
ned from
skills
tested by
the challenge
s

of
art.


The Race Car Driver

The

Formula One

driver
,

Ayrton Senna
, who during qualifying for the

1988 Monaco
Grand Prix

ex
plained

the
flow

experience
:


I was already on pole…

and I just kept going. Suddenly I was nearly two seconds faster
than anybody else, including my team mate with the same car. And suddenly I realized
that I was no longer driving the car consciously. I was driving it by a kind of instinct,
only I was in a
different dimension. It was like I was in a tunnel.

(Wikipedia, 2004)

The

Party

At a cocktail party, ask someone what


Flow


means
, and even though they may be
experiencing it at that very moment, the answer will most likely be “What?” They had been
enjoying the moment of camaraderie with other party goers without thought as to time or place.
They were talking, laughing and losing tr
ack of their daily concerns.

They were experiencing
flow

in that very moment
!


The Project

Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


13




The project team had been at the client’s site for over
six

weeks. The project had started
out as so many

do with handshaking, business discussions
,

and high expectations. Everyone was
excited and happy to be engaged. All too soon the bloom was off the rose. What seemed trivial at
first became friction, which gave way to mistrust
,

which gave way to strong com
plaints of
incompetence and name calling.
The client
required
changes or they would either pull the plug
on the project or engage another delivery firm and sue for damages.
The project was in trouble.
The
flow

of the proj
ect was obstructed.
The situation happens, and it is not unique. Similar
situations occur to sports, medical, and military squads, and to
individuals at work or leisure
when challenge overpowers skill or lack of challenge creates apathy, either way, the results spell
something less than an optimum experience.

Without
flow
, the trust, transcendence, creativity,
and delivery
are

absent
,

an
d the committed scope

of a project

is

jeopardized.

Flow

The child at play with his imagination. The

artist
lost in her craft. The race car driver
instinctively navigating a track at 200 miles an hour. The
cocktail

party goers lost in
conversation.

All t
hese situations are examples of experiencing
a concept
that has been labeled
as “
Flow
”, an autotelic or optimal experience

proposed
in the
mid
1970
’s

by Professor Mihaly
Csikszentmihalyi
(1975)
.
Flow

is considered a key factor in transcendent behavior, the
propensity to overcome limitations and constraints and produce optimal results.
But
why should

flow
,

and ultimately transcendent behavior
,

be
inhibited among

individuals and group
environments?

There are two possibilities that may
explain
the

limits of
transcendent behavior. First,
many people are told
from
childhood
through adulthood that people are egocentric, competitive,
and serve
the market economy
.
Their
u
tilitarian

self
-
interest norms

become a self
-
fulfilling
Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


14




prophecy

that can potentially

inhibit transcendent behavior

(Miller, 1999)
. S
econd, perhaps most
people have a low self
-
efficacy regarding transcendent behavior
;

they

reasonably believe
it is
difficult or impossible to transcend personal
limitations
, break through constraints, create
extraordinary change, far exceed demands, or turn failed or limited opportunity into great
success, while optimizing across both performance and subjective well being.
Bateman and
Porath
(
2003)

propose that

it

may be

more accurate to suggest that it’s not a matter of low self
efficacy; transcendent behavior may requ
ire extraordinarily high self
-
efficacy.

The intent of this

dissertation
is
to

understand

the concep
t of
flow

through its application
to project management
,

and specifically
,

SAP projects. These applications of
flow

may
provide
an opportunity to examine the resulting transcendent behavior
,

and through the use of
intervention techniques and test methods,
to
determine

if
flow

can be harnessed to improve
organizational performance, innovation,
and
creativity
.

My j
ourney into this discovery began as a child
,

and how the days would sai
l softly away
while enjoying the wide
-
eyed wonder of youth. But this expression of life seemed to pass
quickly and all too soon the magic of freedom had become the drudgery of schedules,
limitations, gains
,

and losses. I journeyed on life’s path and there

were moments of luster that
would catch my interests and consume my energies. These were the times when the emotion of
optimum experience kindly danced for me
,

and in those moments
,

there was a magic that did not
exist in the world of everyday life. Such
moments included emotional, physical, academic, and
career successes. I pondered the question, why cannot life be a series of optimum experiences
?

(Glovis, 2000)

“Life is a gift do not waste it”, pointed to the vision of life’s mastery
,

but what
was the

common denominator for achievement?

Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


15




As I searched for my dissertation topic, I
was
ironically
struck with the same sense of
serendipity experienced by the imaginative child and the

creative artist

it
was
flow
. I had been
searching
my entire life
for this experience and how to create it. Interestingly, the more I worked
on this dissertatio
n project the more
flow

moved me to its completion.
It
became a

per
sonal
autotelic
,

defined as

an experience

“rewarding in and of itself”
.


Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


16




CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION

1.1

Background to Study


The

essence of this resea
rch is
to explore a concept called
f
low
,

its capability to
improve
projec
t success rates
,

and
how this concept can aid

project teams

and
and its members
deal with
the demands

encountered
in the delivery of complex S
ystem
I
ntegration

(SI)

projects.

SI projects
are complex
,

as they often include technological, business, process, and role changes. To be
successful
,

SI projects require

high quality project management, motivation, and leadership skills

(Hagopian, 2009)
.

SI project teams are co
mprised of individuals who participate in
multiple
,
and
often complex

roles
that require
varied
levels of
skill,
knowledge,
experience, language
,

and
interest in the success
ful delivery

of the project

(Krish, 2009)
. Additional compounding factors
include budget, timing
,

and scope constraints

(Project Management Institute, 2008)
. Successful
projects require transcending all of these elements by the individuals comprising t
he project
team
.
The objective of this study is to investigate the

ability

of

team members
to successfully
transcend

constraints based upon the level of
flow

experienced in the project
.

F
lo
w

is defined as an optimal human experience

(Csikszentmihaly, 1988)

and it

will be
explained

later i
n this chapter and the next. This study will focus on

why

flow

is an
important
concept
to
research
,
the conditions drivin
g interest in this topic,

how enterprises respond to
strategic business challenges
,

and the role of teams in delivering
transcendent

results

through
optimal human performance
.

The rationale for this investigative study of
flow

begin
s

with
a
review of t
he

current business environment,
how strategies are

implement
ed
,
and
the criticality
of projects
.

Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


17




Several studies

indicate

that
organizations
achieve realization of their
strategies
through
the implementation of

projects
.

The

Project Management Institute (PMI)
defines a project
as
,
“A

temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique
product, service,

or result


(2008, p. 5)
.

T
o a
large degree,
the success of the

organization’s
planned

o
verarching
strategy is dependent upon
the
very
propriety of the

project
’s

implementation

(Archibal, 2003
;

Jamieson, 2005)
.
Organizations have been increasingly using projects to achieve their strategic objectives

while
dealing with increasing complexity, uncertainty, and ambiguity affecting
themselves
and the
socio
-
economic environment within which they operate

(Anbari, Bredillet, & Turner, 2009)
.

To provide a
delivery framework and methodology to improve project success rates, the
Project Management Institute (PMI) publishes the Project Mana
gement Body of Knowledge
(PMBOK),

actively pursues advancement of pro
ject management initiatives,

administers
,

and

maintai
ns the certification process for

the

Project Management Professional (PMP)

member
certification
.
Without question, the PMI organization is an excellent resource for

developing

project management s
kills
.

H
owever
,

a large number of projects do not a
chieve their stated
objectives,
are not completed
,

or fail.

Based

upon their research
, Martin and

Cheung
(2005)

report
:

Less than half of all large
-
scale enterprise software projects achieve even half of

their

business
benefits they aimed for”, according to a report by consulting house

Accenture.
The study, “The future of enterprise solutions”, paints a grim picture for

companies
planning a major enterprise software project. The process will be long and

expensive, and
ev
en then stands a good chance of fall
ing well short of expectations.
(p. 186)


Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


18




According to
Morris
(1997)
,

p
roject
s are the legacy of generations and
ha
ve

always been
held in high esteem by mankind
,

beginning with the biblical account of
G
enesis
, and noting such
great achievements as the pyramids, the architectures of ancient cities, and the Great Wall of
China.
Project manag
ement
was looked upon as a low t
ech, low level, and questionable activity

until

modern

project management emerged between the 1930s

and 1950s
. This ascendancy

is due
to
:

1)

Development of
systems engineering in the defense,
aerospace
,

and process engineering
industries
; 2)
Developments i
n modern management theory, particularly in organizational design
and team building
; and 3)

Evolution of the computer
,

which provides project management tools
for planning and control systems
.
T
he importance of project management dramatically
accelerated w
ith the outbreak of World War II
,

and perhaps no project except for the Tower of
Babel

yielded a greater impetus for developing
project management
science
,

than the Manhattan
Project

(Morris).


T
he
modern
study of projects is

a

relatively new area of research and it

is
becoming
increasingly
evident that

there is a strong

need for
additional
academic
exploration

in

this arena

(Anbari, Bredillet, & Turner, 2009)
.

Supporting
this need
is Jamieson

(2005)
,

who
states,
“It can
be concluded, therefore, that although project strategy management is an underexplored and
insufficiently described subject in the business and project liter
ature, it is, in fact, a relatively
well
-
trodden area, deserving of more recognitio
n, formal study, and discussion


(p. 36)
.

Of significance in the realm of strategic

organizational

change is the growth of Ente
rprise
Resource Planning (ERP) projects

(Soja, 2008)
.
ERP

software application
s are designed to

improve operational efficiency and productivity of business processes of the enterprise

(SAP,
2008)
.

They are examples of “whole
s
ystems”
which
,

due to their
broad organizational
invasiveness and complexity
,

are particularly prone to difficulty during implementation

(Soja,
Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


19




2008)
.
One of the leading providers of ERP solutions
is
Systems
Applications
and Products in
Data Processing (SAP)
. As a software vendor, SAP
is
extremely interested in the delivery of

efficient and

successful
project

implementations

to encourage sales
. To foster
positive
project
delivery, they

have

invested

heavily in training consultants,
developed
a proprietary project
methodology kn
own

as

Accelerated
SAP

(ASAP)
,

and

created a

software

tool called Solution
Manager to

further

improve the success rates of their

ERP system

implementations
,
functionality
,

and operational supp
o
rt
.



Ultimately the success of any endeavor rests in the hands of those individuals who
actually perform the work

the
team members

who
square off,
eye to eye with the
competition,
face to face with
constraints
,

and
are often
bayoneted by overwhelming
internal and
external
handicaps
.

Y
et
,

they

must perform
in
their daily roles

and not miss a beat as t
he
unemployment lines are long and
familial
responsibili
ties weigh

heavy

on their hearts. I
t is these
individuals

whose diligence is called upon

in
times of
crisis
,

and whose creativity fills in the
gaps that oft
en exist in strategic initiatives

that are
all too often
contemplated,
designed and
i
nitiated

by those
in
leaders
hip roles

who never toiled

in the
bloody
guts of the organization

(Krish, 2009)
.

T
his dissertation

will focus on
the
team members
,

and
wi
ll

examin
e

their

propensity to be
fully engaged
in

project
s

as measured by
their
experiential level of
flow
.
Conceptually,
flow

is

defined by Csikkszentmihaly

(1975)

as the

mental state of operation in which the person is fully
immersed in what he or she is doing by a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and
success
in the process of the activity. Per
Csíkszentmihályi
,
flow

is

a state of

completely focused
motivation

and

single
-
minded immersion
that

represents perhaps the ultimate in harnes
sing the
emotions in the activity

of performing and learning.

Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


20




Projects
,

by
definition
,

offer a unique study specimen

since
they have a lifecycle with a
spec
ific beginning and an end
,

a
s
t
ated scope, budget, timeframe

and quality specification

(PMI
,
2008)
.
F
or the purpose of this

research
,

the field of study will be complex, System Integration
(SI), SAP project
s. The investigation of SAP projects

provides a
n

expansive

window into the
organization’s ability to sustain strategic initiatives
while
placing a

study

probe
carefully
into the
proje
ct
team’s
delivery
experience

this probe will be

designed to measure

the project team’s
experiential level
s

of the characteristics which define
the
flow

phenomenon.


Creativity, the production of novel and useful ideas

(Amabile, 1988)
,

is considered by
Simonton
(2000)

to be an optimal form of human functioning and an indicator of me
n
tal and
emotional well being. While most
tasks

are performed in a normal range, transcendent

perfor
mances are extraordinary by definition and surpass prior works, environmental
,

and or
personal limitations. Transcendent behavior is influenced less by extrinsic consequences than by
intrinsic motivation

(Hackman, 1976)
, and int
rinsic motivation involves feelings of enjoyment,
interest, challenge
,

and
flow

(Pinder, 1998)
.

Flow

arises when people face challenges that match
or slightly exceed their capablilities under certain conditions

(Csikszentmihalyi, 1997)
.
In
summary, Bateman and Porath
(2003)

state
“F
low

may render efforts at transcendent behavior
both more likely and successful


(p. 127)
.
By studying
the level of the
flow

phenomenon
experienced in complex SAP projects
, this dissertation

has the potential to improve
project
success rates, provide more creative “out of the box” solutions

for companies
, and improve the
individual’s feeling of connectiveness with the team and the organization.


1.2

Proble
m
Statement

Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


21




The need for improved project
delivery has been previously noted based upon failure
rates and the fact that projects are the primary vehicle by which organizations adopt new
strategies in response to the growing complexity of business, competition, and technological
advancement. The su
ccessful completion of project implementations, the overpowering of
constraints and delivering of creative solutions is germane to the sustainability of organizations
(Zhang, 2010)
.

G
argeya and Brady

(2005)

cite a Gartner Group study that found nearly 70 percent of all
ERP projects fail to be fully implemented even after three years, with no single reason for a
failed implementation or
successful one.
The
y classified

two levels of failure:
1)

a complete
failure
,

where

the project
was
scuttled before implementation

or
,

2)
a failure
,

where

the company
suffered significant long
-
term financial damage.

On the positive side
,

th
ey

acknowledged

two
levels of
ERP project
success: 1)
a complete success
,

in which

everything goes according to
plan
, or
2) a success
in which there

are few alignment problems. Theses alignment problems tend
to be more of an

inconvenience or downtime

with minor issues that have to be resolved
i
n the
weeks and months following

the

“go
-
live” date

and generally

are

n
ot severe enough to disrupt
daily operations.


The primary purpose of
Gargeya and Brady
’s

research was to find the factors that
contribute t
o
project
success and failure in adopting SAP
.

Their

review of the literature
,
however,

found
little

available
research
identifying the success and failure factors of SAP
implementations. Consequently, they based
their research on the content analysis of published
articles and books related to SAP implementations
. The data generating and data reduction
methodology involved analyzing textbooks,

journals and magazine articles for information
related to companies that

had implemented SAP software between 1995 and 2000. This analysis

Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


22




included the
work of Nah
et al.

(as cited in

Gargeya and Brady,

2005)
. Nah’s

study

identified
eleven factors critical to ERP implementation project success which are: 1) ERP teamwork and
co
mposition; 2) Change management program and culture; 3) top management support; 4)

business plan and vision; 5) business process re
-
engineering and minimum customization; 6)
effective communication; 7) project management; 8) software development, testing,

and
troubleshooting; 9) monitoring and evaluation of performance; 10) project champion; and 11)
appropriate business and information technology legacy systems.


Gargeya and Brady

(2005)
then

focused their research on

44 c
ompanies that implemented
SAP

projects,
of which
29 were considered successful and 15 unsuccessful
,

and they identified
six factors

for success and failure of SAP implementations

which are identified in Table 1
.1
.
Interestingly
,

the results of their study found

that the factors that contribute to

the success of SAP
implementation are not necessarily the same as the factors that

contribute to failure.

Accordingly,

Table 1.1 shows that
the primary factors
for successful implementation
s

of SAP
(working with
SAP functionality and maintained scope, and project team/management support/consu
ltants)
are
not necessarily
the primary factors
that contribute to failure of SAP implementations

(inadequate
internal readiness and training, and inappro
priate planning and budgeting)
.
This observation
points out that i
mplementing an ERP system can be one of

the most challenging projects any
company, regardless of size, can undertake
.







Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


23







Frequency of Factors Reported by the “Successful” and “Unsuccessful” Implementation Firms

Gargeya & Brady

(
2005)



M
ost companies implement ERP systems just to
stay competitive
.

Yet
,

even

with the aid
of project
implementation tools
,
current
research on the contributing factors,

and methodologies,

ERP

project endeavors sustain a high failure rate
(
Gargeya &

Brady
, 2005;
Martin

& Cheung
,
2005)
. Th
e

research
undertaken in this dissertation
will look beyond the
conventional

project
tools and methodologies
,

such as those developed and promulgated by the Project Management
Institute

(2008)
,

and explore how

flow
, as experienced by delive
ry team
s, individual

team
members
,

and stakeholders may enhance project delivery success rates

and the transcendence of
constraints
.
If a
significant
positive relationship

can be proven to exist between the level of
flow

experienced by team members and the project’s outcome
,

then research to focus on methods that
can positively influence the fundamentals of
flow

will be

a necessary next step.

It is in this
regard that SOAR and motivation will be explored as mediators i
n the engendering of
flow
.


Figure 1.1 illustrates the techniques

of the SOAR framework
.
SOAR,

which
is
based
upon positive constructs
, has been found to be a

successful intervention technique

under a
variety of contexts
(Stavros & Hinrichs, 2009)
.

Table
1
.
1

Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


24








The
principl
e
s of

SOAR

and those practiced by leadership in the delivery of
successful

projects presents an opportunity to evaluate the degree to which
SOAR
influence
s

flow

and
project

success. If the
characteristics
that promote

flow
,

the princip
l
es of
SO
AR
,

and
those
practiced

in successful
project
s show a positive relationship
,

then
activities that encourage the
application
of these characteristics and principles

early in the project’s conceptualization phases
Figure 1.
1
.

SOAR Framework


Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


25




and
reemphasized
later in situations where
flow

may be
at

deficit

becomes paramount
,

providing
an opportunity to advance overall proj
ect and organizational success
.

The importance of studying
project implementation and the relationship with the corporate strategy is supported by Jamieson
(2005)

who states:


Corporate strategy is one of the most actively researched and taught subjects in business
today. Projects and project management are often quoted as important means of
implementing strategy, but there is so
me confusion in the literature on how this happens
and, in any case, the topic has not been the subject of detailed review.

(p. 2)


Traditional management writing has in general exhibited a bias

to cover

only

the strategic
management processes that formulate and implement strategy at the corporate level

(Hill &
Jones, 2001
;
Mintzberg & Quinn, 1996
;

Thompson, 2001)
.

Jamieson

(2005)

adds, “
T
here is a
dearth of writing about h
ow corporate strategy gets translated into implementation, particularly
at the program or project level.


(p. 3)


Expressing the need to better understand how projects,
strategy, and enterprises are related, Jamieson
embellishes the contention and states,


Yet, in
practice, the two sets of activities are well connected; projects and programs are important ways
for str
ategy to be implemented in the enterprise and we ought to understand much better how this
occurs

(Jamieson A. , 2005, p. 3)
.


Based upon their research
Anbari,

Bre
dillett and
Turner

(2009)

further
affirm

the
importance of understanding this relationship between projects and organizational
strategy:


Organizations have been increasingly using projects to achieve their strategic objectives,
while dealing with increasing complexity,

uncertainty, and ambiguity affecting
Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


26




organizations and the socio
-
economic environment within which they operate. Through
projects, resources and competencies are mobilized to bring about strategic change, and
thereby create competitive advantage and other

sources of value.

(p. 1)


Based upon the academic literature
researched,

in

which

the search terms
included flow
,
and
:

1)
S
AP
,
2) ERP
,
3) Project Management
,
4)

Projects
,
5)

IT
,
and
6)

Project Success
. O
ver

127

references from sources including the Academy of
Management
,

Project Management
Institute, SAP, and academic search engines including
Emerald Extra,

found no

studies that
linked flow to SAP
and project success.

Research by Whitty
(forthcoming 2010)

that
linked
flow

with
project manager role
suggests that
there are

interesting
insights
into project managers

when comparing them to the
literature on psychological
flow

but more particularly to flow gaming

(Sweetser & Wyeth,
2005)
. He
s
tates

his finding as follows
:

Projects can be immersive and engaging pursuits and an intrins
ically rewarding activity,
with artifacts such as the Gantt chart that act as an interface or proxy to the real world
that
are rewarding themselves to use. Further research might show that moments of flow
(see (Csikszentmihalyi, 2000) pgs 38
-
47 for
characteristics of these) can be found in
aspects of the PM experience.

(Whitty, forthcoming 2010, p. 16)




1.3

Purpose of Study

The purpose of this

study is
to

improve the delivery success rates for SAP projects

by

explo
r
ing

how
flow
,
motivation, and SOAR
interrelate in producing

this

desired outcome.

It is
hypothesized that successful pro
jects will exhibit a

higher level of
flow

than less

successful

Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


27




projects.

It is further hypothesized that
both
SOAR and m
otivation
affect
flow
.

Additionally
,

if
SOAR and m
otivation
have a positive effect on
the
project success
,

it
will validate the
hypotheses

that

flow

i
mpacts project success
.


I
f
the hypotheses that
flow
,

a
s an independent variable
,

is

a predictor of project success
,

then SAP project stakeholders should encourage

activities that engender
flow

in projects

to
improve

the
chances

of

success by
: 1) p
romot
ing

team

and

member

transcendence
,
2
)
encouraging
the o
verpowering
of constraints
,
3
) support
ing

the d
eliver
y

of extraordinary results
,
and
4
) p
romot
ing

higher levels of intrin
sic motivation among

team members
.

The study center
s on SAP project delivery s
takeholders
and their
flow

experience in the
actual delivery of
projects.
A
field research study will be conducted by surveying members of the
A
merica’s SAP Users Group (ASUG)
,

an SAP sponsored association of companies licensed to
use SAP with over 85,000 members
.

As a service to the membership
, ASUG

also
provides
benchmarking
and other services for member companies
.


1.4

Research Question



What
can
project stakeholders do to encourage success

in SAP
project
s
?

This research question
encom
passes the relationship among
moti
vation, SOAR
,

flow
,

and
the desired outcome of successful SAP projects
.

Any endeavor
that
begins with a spark of desire
is fueled by
motivation
,

which is essential for the achievement
,
of the undertaking. Motivation is
the activation of goal
-
orientated behavior and is said to be either
intrinsic
, which is satisfying in
its own right or
extrinsic
,
which is
motivated by external factors

(Broedling, 1977)
. Per
Csikszentmihalyi, i
ntrinsic motivation is a key element
when in a state of flow

(1988)
.

Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


28




In addition to the primary research question stated above, two additional questions
follow
:



If

the phenomenon of

flow

can be correlated with the elements of

the SOAR
framework in the delivery of successful projects, can the introduction of the
SOAR framework early in a project’s conceptualization phases and later in
situations where
flow

is at

deficit

improve overall project and organizational
successes?



Can
t
he
eigh
t factors of
flow

be cultivated to encourage intrinsic motivation and
the occurrence of the optimum experience phenomenon among team members
duri
ng the delivery of complex SAP projects?


1.5

Hypothes
e
s

Based upon the research question
s

and literature

review
ed
,

the following hypotheses were
developed
to validate the impact on the end goal of
successful

project perfo
rmance
,

as illustrated
in
the Path Analysis
Figure 1.2.



H
1



As an independent variable (X),
flow

will have a positive effect on the dep
endent
variable (Y) Project Success, such that project teams embracing the use of the flow
concepts are predicted to have increased project success.



H
2


As an independent variable (X),
flow

will have a positive effect on the dependent
variable (Y) SOAR,
such that project teams embracing the use of the
flow

concept are
predicted to have increased project success.

Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


29






H
3



As an independent variable (X),
flow

will have a positive effect on the dependent
variable (Y) Motivation, such that project teams embracing the use of the
flow

concept are predicted to have increased project success.



H4
-

As an independent variable (X), SOAR will have a positive effect on
the
dependent variable (Y) Project Success, such that project teams embracing the use of
SOAR are predicted to have increased project success.



H5
-

As an independent variable (X), Motivation will have a positive effect on the
dependent variable (Y) Project

Success, such that project teams embracing the use of
Motivation are predicted to have increased project success.



H6


SOAR and Motivation are interrelated such that project teams that are
influenced by SOAR will also be influenced by motivation.



H7a
-

As

an independent variable (X),
flow

will have an indirect effect on the
dependent variable (Y) Project Success through the mediator variable (M) SOAR,
such that the relationship between
flow

and Project Success is mediated by SOAR.



H7b
-

As an independent
variable (X),
flow

will have an indirect effect on the
dependent variable (Y) Project Success thr
ough the mediator variable (M) m
otiv
ation,
such that the
relationship
betwee
n
flow

and project success is mediated by m
otivation
.

Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


30





1.6

Significance of Study

Work occupies approximately one
-
third of a person’s life and the phenomenon of
flow

occurs more frequently in the work environment
than in leisure

(Csikkszentmihaly, 1988)
. But
what happens when job and career opportunities are limited or nonexistent? The
Gallup
organization’s first World Poll, a new, complex, comprehensive poll of people from 100
different nation
s p
rovided the following
:


Figure 1.2
.

Path Analysis
Model for the Study of
Flow
, SOAR, and
Motivation, on Project Success




Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


31




What the whole world wants is a good job. That is one of the single biggest discoveries

Gallup has ever made. It is as simple and as straightforward an explanation of the data as
can

be expressed
.

Whether you are

were walking down the street in Khartoum, Tehran,
Berlin, Lima, Los Angeles, B
aghdad, Kolkata, or Istanbul, you

would discover that on
most days the single most dominant thought carried around in the heads of most people
you see is, "I want a good job." I
t is the new current state of mind, and it establishes our
relationship with our city, our country, and the whole world around us. Humans used to
desire love, money, food, shelter, safety, and/or peace more than anything else. The last
25 years have change
d us. Now we want to have a good job.

Jobs provide independence,
the power to control their own income, their own destiny, by means of making a
contribution to society. Most people around the world would rather have a decent job
than handouts.
(Strong, 2009, p. 1)


Flow

provides the mechanism to create, transcend
,

and achieve greater results than
l
ulling
in a state of depression
. This is

consistent with

the theory put forth by

Csikszentmihalyi
(1975)

that the optimal experience of
flow

is a desired state of human functioning
. In other words,
flow

positively influences the development of transcendent behavior that encourages the
overpowering of constraints and
incents the delivery

of optimum results.


Transcendent behavior has especially positive consequences in that it is self
-
interested as
arguably all motivated behavior is, but unlike other classes of behavior, transcendent behavior
overrides constraints, contingencies, and mat
erial in ways that enhance a broader set of
outcomes.


People engaging in proactive behaviors initiate and maintain actions that a
lter their
environment
(
Bateman
&

Porath
,

(2003)
.

It is the intent of this study t
o determine if the concept
of
flow

can
impact

project delivery
to benefit the

organization.

Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


32




1.7

Project

Overview

The research effort will be conducted to evaluate the degree to which the concept of
flow

influences the

successful

implementation of SAP p
rojects
.

A

survey instrument will be

developed to assess
the intensity

to which
the
elements of
flow

are
factor
s

in project success.
Related characteristics will also me
asure the team’s and its member
s


level t
o which they
experience
d
flow

by ph
ase of the project. Factors that influence the occurrence of
flow

will
be
assessed so that
flow

can be encouraged

for the successful delivery of SAP and other projec
ts.
Additionally
,

the elements

of SOAR
and motivation
will be measured
to determine the
cor
relation to which they support the occurrence of an optimal experience
.

The unit of analysis

will be conducted
using the America’s SAP User’s Group (ASUG)
as a source for completing the survey instrument. ASUG is

a user’s group for the America
s and
is chartere
d to (1) influence SAP product d
evelopment, (2) foster a year round community for the
members and (3) provide knowledge and training in SAP. As a corollary
,

they provide
benchmarking and other services for members. The use of ASUG provides an ex
cellent cross
section of data points for the survey. It is also noted that ASUG is multi dimensionally structured
with Special Interest Groups (SIG) representing specific industries and modular levels of
influence such as Finance & Controlling, Sales & Dis
tribution,
and
Material Management
.


This dissertation will build on the work of other research
which is explored in Chapter 2,
The Literature Review. The unique aspects of this study will be the focus on SAP, and projects
in general. Further the assess
ment of
flow

elements by stage of project and the overarching
assimilation of change via projects provide ample opportunities for future research.


1.8

Contri
bution of Dissertation to Academic and Practitioner Audience

Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


33




F
low

as a concept and its impact on hum
an achievement
has roots dating back centuries.
The concept has various names and has been a subject of study by Maslow

(1965)

and others. It
was however, not a subject of special study until Csikszentmihalyi focused it

based upon his
observations of artists at work. Because of his initial research, that of Massimini, and others,
flow

is now recognized as a mechanism that can influence intrinsic behavior, transcendence, a
nd

the

overpowering constrain
ts. These behavior
s are considered key elements in the
upward spiraling
of human development.

To date, much of the research relating to
flow

has been in the areas other than
management, which will be discussed in the literature review. The contribution of this
dissertation to academic literature is in the area of human emotion, which is a vital component in
the suc
cess or failure of any endeav
or
. C
onsidering that humans are social beings the opportunity
to be part of something

that is greater than one
-
self

adds to the emotional relevance
.

By studying
the individual’s emotions during the different stages of a project and the factors that influence
transcendent behavior, observations can be garnered that may create a new lens from which to
assess the level
flow

that
influences project teams.

This study presents the opportunity to
examine intrinsic

and extrinsic

motivation and the correlation to the triggers that precede and
precipitate. The exploration of organizational behavior and change management are also
derivatives of this research.

Fro
m a practitioner’s standpoint the value of this study is the focus
on the behavioral side of project management. Typically, fundamental project delivery
methodology is often quite unemotional focusing on methods and less on the behavioral factors
that are
as critical to overall success.

1.9

Delimitations and Limitations of the Research

Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


34




This research study will encompass a

cross section of respondents

who have had various
positions
in SAP projects classified by their role in the project, level of experience,
prior training
and other delineating factors included in the proposed survey
.

The respondent’s

experiences will
be captured based upon the survey questionnaire analyzed to determine the correlation to the
variables

of

flow
,
SOAR,
motivation,

and the
projec
t’s level

of success.


A limitation to the study is that most of the respondents will be memb
ers of ASUG,
which

is

generally

a group of users that have completed an SAP implementation project that
was
launched successfully or after remediation
is

now

functioning. There will likely be

a

limited
response from r
espondents who have participated in
a
failed
SAP project
or
have left the
industry.


1.10

Definition of Terms

This section provides an abbreviated list of terms found in this dissertation

Anxiety



Occurs w
hen a person believes that his action opportunities are too

demanding for his
capabilities.

The

resulting s
tress is experienced as anxiety


(Csikszentmihalyi, 1975, p. 49)
.


Apathy



When a person is in

a state of low challenge and
low skill

re
sulting in a
condition

of
i
ndifference, and in which

motivation is absent.


Apathy is described as a response to an easy
challenge
,

for which the subject has matched skills

and
it
is t
he opposite of
flow

since
flow

occurs at the thresholds of challenge an
d skill


(Csikkszentmihaly, 1988, p. 270)
.


Autotelic



A state that o
ccurs w
hen we step beyond consciousness to experience new
opportunities for being
,

that lead to

the

emergent self.


This condition is considered
autotelic
Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


35




motivation, because its goal is primarily the experience itself, rather than any future regard

or
advantage it may bring


(Csikszentmihaly, 1988, p. 29)
.


Extrinsic

Motivation


When effort is expended in
activities that are carried out mainly for the
sake of ex
trinsic rewards such as money,

fame
, prestige and profit
.


Competition is

thus

considered extrinsic because it encourages the individual to win and beat others,
and
not to enjoy
the intrinsic rewards

of the activity


(Csikszentmihaly, 1988, p. 55)
.


Flow



Csikkszentmihaly

(1988)

defines the experience of

flow

as
:

The self is fully functioning, but not aware of itself doing it, and it can use all attention
for the task at hand. At the most challenging levels, people actually report experiencing a
transcendence

of self, caused by the unusually high involvement with a

system of actions
so much more complex than what one usually encounters in everyday life…
.
When all
these elements are present, consciousness is in harmony, and the self which is invisible
during the flow
episode


emerges strengthened…
The
negentropic

qual
ity of the
flow
experience makes it
autotelic,
or intrinsically rewarding
.

(p. 33)


Intrinsic Motivation




An

event
must

be

satisfying in its own
right

that

is
,

it

must be perceived
as intrinsically rewarding
, in order to

offer the potential for
experiencing
flow


(Csikszentmihaly, 1988, p. 55)
.


Optimal Experience

(
also called

flow

or psychic negentropy
)

-

O
ccurs when all
contents of
consciousness

are in harmony with each other

and the goals that define the person’s self.

Th
e
characteristics of the experience

are high concentration and involvement, clarity of goals and
Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


36




feedback, and intrinsic motivation, all made possible
by a balance between perceived challenges
and personal skills


(Csikszentmihaly, 1988, p. 60)
.


Project (
In
P
roject
M
anage
ment)


A
project consists of a temporary endeavor undertaken to
create a unique
product, ser
vice
or result
. The temporary nature of projects indicates a definite
beginning and end. The end is reached when the project’s objectives have been achieved or when
the project is terminated because its objectives will not or cannot be met, or when the nee
d for
the project no longer exists

(Project Management Institute, 2008, p. 5)
.


Project Management



Is t
he application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project
activities to meet the project requirements.

Project management is accomplished through the
appropriate application
and integration of
logically grouped project management processes
comprising five process groups which are: 1) initating; 2) planning; 3) executin; 4) monitoring
and controlling; and 5
) closing

(Project Management Institute, 2008, p. 6)
.



SAP
(Systems, Applications and Products in Data Processing)



SAP

is a supplier of Enterprise
Resource Planning (ERP) software and

is the world's la
rgest business so
ftware company with
more than 12 million users, 140,000
worldwide
installations, over 2,400 certified partners
,

25
industry
-
specific business solutions, and more than 75,
000 customers in 120 countries

(SAP
History, 2007)
.


SOAR



A

f
ramework for

strategy and strategic planning.

It

is a
strength
s
-
based whole
system approach

that focuses on

the
organization
’s

strengths, values,
shared vision
,

and
Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


37




mission of those who maintain a stake in the organization’s success or failure


its

stakeholders.

The acronym stands for
S
trengths,
O
pportunities,
A
spirations, and
R
esults

(Stavros & Hinrichs, 2009)
.


Time
lessness



Mainemelis
(2001)

defined timelessness as:

T
he experience
of transcending time and one's self by becoming immersed in a
captivating p
resent
-
moment activity or event
.…
Creativity in particular is associated with
highly intrinsically motivated states, called "ecstasy"
(May, 1994)

and "
flo
w
"

(Csikszentmihalyi, 1990)
, in which total involvement in the task at hand results in loss of
self
-
consciousness and the sense of time
(Csikszentmihalyi
,
1997; Massimini & Carli,
1988).
(p. 548)


Worry
-

A state that occurs when the demands for action are fewer, but still more than what the
person feels capable of handling. It is a state of moderate challenge and low skill

(Csikszentmihaly, 1988, p. 270)
.


1.11

Academic L
iterature

Review
Research
Structure

In Chapter Two, the academic literature review research structure will include: 1) p
roject
d
elivery
and
p
erformance
, p
roject
m
anagement
, and
SAP
; 2)
flow
,
as a

concept, and research

on
the phenomenon; 3)
Motivation

in general and specifically, e
xtrinsic

m
otivation
, i
ntrinsic
m
otivation
, and t
ranscendence
; 4)
Positive Organizational Scholarship

as it relates to
f
low
,
p
rojects
, and s
trategy
; and
5)
SOAR
, with emphasis on strategy, and s
ustainability
.


1.12

Summary

Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


38




In this chapter the concept of
flow

was introduced with an overview of what precipitators
trig
ger and sustain this phenomenon
to present a clearer understanding of the concept and its
applica
bility and potential value to the business environment

in project delivery performance
.
The eight key elements of
flow
; clear goals, immediate feedback, balance between challenge and
opportunity, concentration, being in the present, control, altered time
,

and loss of ego as defined
by Csikszentmihalyi were presented and discussed. The relevance for these

conditions is that
they are

the basis for generating the survey document.

With the concept of
flow

defined the focus then shifted to the nature of project
s. The
applicability of projects as a research universe was discussed and supported based upon the
definition of projects provided by the Project Management Institute, which defined a project as
an effort that has a beginning and end so that a lifecycle sn
apshot of the emotional picture
experienced by the interviewees during the project can be obtained for research. Additional
academic literature indicates that the trend among many organizations is that they assimilate
change through the introduction and co
mpletion of projects. The focus on projects as a
microcosm of organizational change creates an interesting lens to view the dynamics of strategy
assimilation, acceptance
,

and rejection. The cultural and overarching impact of projects on an
organization how
ever is a topic left for future study.

With the research environment defined as

projects, the area of study will be

tailored to
address only SAP projects. The rationale for limiting the study to SAP projects reflects the
organizational invasiveness of
ERP/
SAP implementations, the broad spectrum of SAP projects
from which to gather research data, the degree to which multi cultural teams frequently engage in
SAP implementations, the global footprint of enterprises using SAP and other unique elements.

Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


39




To provi
de an understanding
of how

SAP

reached this level of prominence in the ERP market,

a
brief history of th
e company will be

included in the literature review.


The development of the survey instrument was
introduced

and the
relationships to the
eight element
s of flow were

discussed. The instrument will be

constructed to define the role of
the interviewee, the project, language and the elements of the
flow

state experienced during the
course of the project. Based upon the perceived value that such a state can
engender the
application of
flow

to projects and specifically SAP projects formed the foundation for the
research universe.


There are two

additional chapters

in this dissertation

proposal
. Chapter Two

is a literature
review of
flow
, project management and

SAP, providing further insights into other studies of the
phenomenon known as
flow
. Chapter 3 addresses the research methodology utilized to study
flow

in SAP projects.

Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


40




CHAPTER 2

LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1

Introduction

The legendary Zen master
Takuan Sōhō

once said
, “The mind must always be in the state
of '
flowing
,' for when it stops anywhere that means the
flow

is interrupted and it is this
interruption that is i
njurious to the well
-
being of the mind. In the case of the swordsman, it
means death.”

F
or this study

the importance of
flow
,

in

a project environment will be explored.

When a
project’s
flow

stops,

it can

mean the project’s death, and if not death
at least
an uphill battle to
project completion, and delivery of the committed scope. To investigate the relationships of the
elements that

influence

projects the following topics will be investigated

in this literature review
:

1)
Project Delivery and Perf
ormance
; 2)
Flow
; 3)
Motivation
; 4) Positive Organizational
Scholarship (POS); and 5)
SOAR
.

Th
is literature review

is address
ing the fundamentals of flow by

defining the history of
flow, its influence on individual and team creativity, and its importance t
o an organization.
As a
corollary, the SOAR

framework will be benchmarked to determine if the elements of SOAR

influence the degree of
flow

manifested by the project team and the individual team members.
The

elements

identified as

necessary for
flow

will
be introduced and examined through a
research study of teams specifically focused on SAP deployment projects. To support this
specialized area of research, a literature review related to project management and SAP will be
presented accordingly.

Our journey

includes

the implementation
and delivery aspects
of projects,
and their importance, recogn
izing that they are the princip
l
e

means by which strategies are
integrated into organizations

(Archibal, 2003
;

Jamieson, 2005; Malone, 2010)
. The research will
Expression of
FLOW

in complex projects


41




be
geared to sampling the degree of flow experienced and the factors that precipitated or wher
e
antecedent to its incubation with a direct focus on the
SOAR

F
ramework.
To familiarize the
reader with the leading Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) tool, SAP is
presented, and why it is
fertile ground for the research on generating and measuring flow as experienced by individuals
and project teams
. An overview of the SOAR

Framework, will be analyzed to
establish

it
s

collateral value to the foundational aspects of
this research study.


The research question that this literature review has been developed to examine is stated
as follows:



What can project stakeholders do to encourage success in SAP projects?


To fully explore the research results, it then follows to d
etermine:

1.

The
alignment
and impetus
of the elements of SOAR

and the generation of
individual