Department of Management


Date of this Version



Academy of Management Journal,Volume 11, Issue 2, 1 Jun 1968


(c) 1968 Academy of Management. Used by permission.


Project managers, because of their inherent "authority-gap", have developed a handful of techniques for supplementing their authority. The importance of these techniques will often vary with the dollar-size of the undertaking. The project organization has been in use for thousands of years. Its precise origin is unknown, but the pyramids and Roman aqueducts bear witness to its long history. In recent years a new impetus has been given to the project organization through its application in such areas as aerospace, chemicals, and state government, to mention but a few. One major problem has been cited consistently in studies made of the project organization: while the functional managers have line or direct authority over their subordinates, the project managers must work through the respective functional managers, who supply the team personnel, in running their projects. The project managers have an "authoritygap" because they do not possess authority to reward or promote their personnel.^ They lack complete authority over the team and thus possess what is called "project authority." Because their responsibiiity outweighs their authority, the project managers must find ways of increasing their authority and thus minimizing their "authority-gap." The purpose of this research has been to ascertain what techniques are reiied upon by project managers to overcome their "gap." The initial interviews illustrated some common techniques, and the questionnaire survey elaborated upon and extended these findings. The results show an interesting trend in leadership techniques used by project managers.