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Connective Capacity of Program Management: Responding to Fragmented Project Management

Author: JEAN-MARIE BUIJS and JURIAN EDELENBOS
Published in PAQ, Vol. 36 No. 1

This article discusses the emerging of program management as a response to fragmentation in public administration. The objective of this study is to provide empirical insight into how programs evolve in a contemporary program management perspective. Program management is considered as a deliberate attempt to interconnect single projects in an overarching program and to connect this program to a line organization. Connective capacity is derived as one of its main features. In this article the connective capacity of program management is studied in the case of the ‘Policy with Citizens’ program within a Dutch ministry. This program was selected since it exemplifies the complexity of connections between project - program, and program - line organization. The article concludes with insights from the case study and how these support and deliver added value to the existing body of literature. It is concluded that program management is a process of sense making. Further conclusions are drawn about the deficiency of conditions for the development of coherent programs in public organizations. Finally the article provides challenges and advice for program management to act in a two-fold co-evolutionary process with projects and line organizations.

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