Management of Project Portfolios: Relationships of Project Portfolios With Their Contexts

Miia Martinsuo*, Joana Geraldi

*Corresponding author for this work

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Firms create and manage project portfolios to implement and renew their strategies. With the dominant contingency theory view, studies have primarily focused on project portfolios and their internal management whilst acknowledging that different practices are needed in different contexts. A strategic view of managing project portfolios, however, requires adopting a stronger external orientation, both within and outside of the firm. In this paper, we call for research on the management of project portfolios. We investigate the relationship between project portfolios and their context based on four theoretical alternatives: institutional theory, stakeholder theory, resource dependence theory, and sensemaking theory. The results offer explanations to the mechanisms connecting project portfolios with their context, call for a reformulation of portfolio success, and propose a new research agenda to revitalize the study of managing project portfolios in their contexts.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Project Management
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)441-453
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Published online: 13 March 2020


  • External context
  • Project portfolio
  • Project portfolio management
  • Strategy
  • Theory

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