Stephen A. Leybourne


Assistant Professor of Administrative Sciences; Faculty Coordinator for Online Master of Science Programs in Management

PhD, BSc, Cardiff Business School

Internationally recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on improvised work in project management, Dr. Leybourne’s research activities focus on the use and abuse of improvisational working practices, particularly in project-based work, and the location of project management within the wider academic landscape. A well-known lecturer in human resource studies, innovation, and project and change management, Leybourne has presented at conferences such as the PMI® Research Conference and the Academy of Management, winning a “best paper” award at AoM2006 in Atlanta. He has been a leading manager for several international banking institutions and is secretary of the Organizational Transformation, Change and Development Special Interest Group at the British Academy of Management. Leybourne has published in a variety of journals, including the Journal of Change Management, the International Journal of Management Concepts & Philosophy, and the two leading project management journals in the field, the International Journal of Project Management and the Project Management Journal.

Transcript

I am Steve Leybourne, I am a full-time professor here at BU at MET College and I teach mostly on the Project Management and Innovation Programs.

My research interests are in project management, particularly around improvised work within project management.
Project management, essentially is about planning and then executing the contents of that plan with minimum deviation. But, actually project management is not really like that, so you have to improvise.

My research interests are in project management, particularly around improvised work within project management.
Project management, essentially is about planning and then executing the contents of that plan with minimum deviation. But, actually project management is not really like that, so you have to improvise.

I teach the Project Communications Management course both online and on-campus. And, the interesting thing of course is that a lot of my students come straight from the Introduction to Project Management class, where they’ve been taught the techniques and the process.

I approach project management from a behavioral theory standpoint, rather than from a process and technique standpoint.

I tend to completely flip the existing Intro to Project Management class on its head and say, “Okay, forget all the stuff about tools and techniques, now we need to know about people.”

I think that being an academic is a really great role. I think it’s one of the best jobs you can have. Creating knowledge and then passing on that knowledge to people who have a desire to learn is I think incredibly satisfying.

COURSES

  • MET AD 740 – Program & Project Management
  • MET AD 742 – Managing Employees in Professional Teams
  • MET AD 743 – Business in a Changing Society
  • MET MG 503 – Planning and Operating New Ventures
SCHOLARLY WORKS

Appointments

Member of the editorial board, Journal of Project, Program & Portfolio Management.

Editor of Organisational Project Management

Conference Presentations

Warburton, R. D. H., S. Leybourne, and V. Kanabar. “The Third Decade of Online Education: What have we learned.” Paper presented at the 2011 Our Digital Renaissance Conference, Florence, Italy, November 10–12, 2011.

“Improvisation and Project Management: What, When, and How.” Paper selected for  presentation at the PMI Global Congress 2011–North America, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Tex., October 22-25, 2011.

“Using Improvisational PM to Mitigate Risk: Is it Acceptable in a Highly-Controlled Environment and, if so, How do you Manage it?” Clinical Project Management Forum of the Barnett Clinical Summit, Cambridge, Mass. October 5, 2011.

“Lost in Translation: Addressing Reviewers’ Comments.” Personal Development Workshop, Academy of Management, San Antonio, Tex., August 2011. Co-presented with Kennedy, M., Blackman, D., and Richardson, J.

“Emotionally Sustainable Change: Two Frameworks to Assist With Transition.” Personal Development Workshop, Academy of Management, San Antonio, Tex., August 2011.

“Improvised Work within Projects: Shifting Away from the Traditional Project Paradigm.” Presentation at the PMI Mass Bay Personal Development Day, February 4, 2011.

“Improvisation and Project Management.” Keynote address, 5th Brazil National Project Management Congress, Brasilia, Brazil, October 28, 2010.

“Project Management and High Value Superyacht Projects: An Improvisational and Temporal Perspective.” Presented at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Anaheim, Calif., August 8-13, 2008.

“Improvisation and Agile Project Management: A Merging of Two Ideals?” Presented at the PMI Research Conference, Warsaw, Poland, July 13-16, 2008.

“Transformation and Change in the UK Financial Sector: Equipping Employees to cope with Change.” Presented at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, Pa., August 3-8, 2007.

“Culture and Organizational Improvisation: Some Conceptions Informed by UK Financial Services.” Presented at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Atlanta, Ga., August 11-16, 2006. Winner of the Rupert F. Chisholm “Best Theory to Practice” paper award.

“The Changing Bias of Project Management Research: A Consideration of the Literatures and an Application of Extant Theory.” Presented at the PMI Research Conference, Montreal, Canada, July 16-19, 2006.

“Improvising within Management: Oxymoron, Paradox, or Legitimate Way of Achieving?” Presented at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Honolulu, Hawaii, August 5-10, 2005.

“Intuition and Rationality in Project Decision-Making: Thoughts on the Impact on Improvisational Working Practices.” Presented at the PMI Research Conference, London, UK, 2004.

“Managing Change or Changing Management: Abandoning Planning and Embracing People within Strategic Implementation.” Presented at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting, New Orleans, La., August 6-11, 2004.

“Managing Improvisation within the Management of Change: Some Lessons from UK Financial Services.” Presented at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Seattle, Wash., August 1-6, 2003.

“The Project Management of Change within UK Financial Services: What about Improvisation?” Presented at the PMI Research Conference, Seattle, Wash., July 14-17, 2002.

“2025: How will we make our way there, and what skills will we need to do it?” Presented at the Institute of Management South Wales Branch. First place award, Millennial Management Paper. 2000.

Publications

“Steve Leybourne’s Reflections on David Hillson’s Risk Doctor Briefing.” Journal of Project, Program, and Portfolio Management (2011): 8–9.

“Summary of Reflections on David Hillson’s Risk Doctor Briefing.” Journal of Project, Program, and Portfolio Management (2011): 1–2.

“Classifying Improvisation: Comments on Managing Chaotic Evolution.” Proc. PMI Research and Education Conference 2010 (Washington, D.C., July 2010).

Unger, B., Greiman, V. A., and Leybourne. S. A. “A Study of Postinvestment Monitoring Practices in Life Science Venture Capital Firms.” Journal of Transnational Management 15 (2010): 3–25 (Best Paper Award, 18th World Business Congress, Tbilisi, Georgia).

“Project Management and High Value Superyacht Projects: An Improvisational and Temporal Perspective.” Project Management Journal 41, no. 1 (March 2010): 17–27.

“Improvisation as a Way of Dealing with Ambiguity and Complexity.” Graziadio Business Report 13, no. 3 (2010).

Leybourne, S. A., Badger, B., Lean, J., and Perry, J. “Taking Over the Reins: the Needs of Individuals Who Purchase Small Established Enterprises.” International Journal of Entrepreneurship & Innovation 11, no. 1 (February 2010): 57-68.

“The Changing Bias of Project Management Research: A Consideration of the Literatures and an Application of Extant Theory.” Project Management Journal 38, no. 1 (2007): 62-73.

“Improvisation within Management: Oxymoron, Paradox, or Legitimate Way of Achieving?” International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy 2, no. 3 (2007): 224-239.

“Managing Improvisation within Change Management: Lessons from UK Financial Services.” Service Industries Journal 26, no. 1 (2006): 73-95.

“Managing Change by Abandoning Planning and Embracing Improvisation.” Journal of General Management 31, no. 3 (2006): 11-29.

Leybourne, S.A., and E. Sadler-Smith. “Going-with-your-Gut: The Role of Intuition and Improvisation in Project Management.” International Journal of Project Management 24, no. 6 (2006): 483-92.

“Improvisation within the Project Management of Strategic Change: Some Observations from UK Financial Services.” Journal of Change Management 6, no. 4 (2006): 365-381.

“The Project Management of Change within UK Financial Services: What about Improvisation?” In Proceedings of PMI Research Conference 2002 (Newtown Square, Pa.: PMI, 2002), 343-351.

Journal Papers Accepted

“Improvisation and Agile Project Management: A Merging of Two Ideals?” Under Review at International Journal of Managing Projects in Business (Bingley, UK: Emerald Group, in press).

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