Governance, governmentality and project performance: the role of sovereignty
Keywords:project governance, governmentality, project performance, organizational performance, sovereignty
Considerable confusion prevails in the mutual positioning and relationship of concepts like management, leadership, governance and governmentality in projects. This article first develops a framework to distinguish these terms conceptually by use of Archer’s structure and human agency philosophy. This provides for clearer conceptualization and lesser redundancy in the use of terms. Then the interaction between governance and governmentality in the context of projects is assessed, using a contingency theory perspective. This addresses long-standing questions about the nature of the impact of governance and governmentality on each other and on project and organizational performance. The results show that higher levels of project sovereignty (as a measure of governance), are associated with lower levels of authoritarian, but higher levels of neo-liberal governmentality, as well as higher levels of project and organizational performance. The article continues with a discussion of the theoretical implications from different perspectives of causality, which provides for different approaches to improve project performance through deliberate fine-tuning of governance and governmentality.