The influence of project autonomy on project success

Søren Salomo, Hans Georg Gemünden, Axel Krieger

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


In this article, we address the following research questions: (1) What is project autonomy, how can it be measured, and how much autonomy is given in NPD projects? (2) Does project autonomy increase with project innovativeness? (3) Is project autonomy positively related to success of NPD projects? (4) Does the positive relationship between project autonomy and project success increase with innovativeness of NDP projects? Theses hypotheses are tested using a sample of 104 highly innovative NPD projects, gathered in the first wave of the research project INNOVATION COMPASS. The results show that instruments which are advocated in the mainstream innovation and venture management literature are more frequently used with increasing innovativeness. However, they do not increase success of NPD projects, even not for highly innovative ones. Instruments derived from the organizational behavior tradition are not used more often with increasing innovativeness, but they do significantly improve NPD project success, particularly for very innovative ones. We conclude: Firms should not easily follow fashions, which are derived from prominent case studies. Rather, they should also take into account possible negative consequences of the recommendations. Researchers should lay more stress in discussing and empirically analyzing negative effects of popular recommendations.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Project Management
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)366-373
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


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