Date of Conferral

2017

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Management

Advisor

Richard S. Schuttler

Abstract

Global projects have a high failure rate, with many project failures attributed to lack of effective leadership. A knowledge gap about leadership requirements and complexities in a global project management environment has increased the risks in global projects. The problem is evident in the increasing project failure rate and the struggling national strategies in the oil and gas industry in the Arabian Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The purpose of this study was to explore the role of leadership in project success and adaptation complexities in GCC. The conceptual framework consisted of complex adaptive systems and contingency theories. A qualitative approach was used to capture common understandings of project leaders' role and the opportunities and challenges in a multicultural global project environment. Personal interviews were conducted with 25 participants from the oil and gas industry in GCC who were selected using a purposive sampling method. Six themes emerged from an exploratory and comparative analysis, including: adaptable project structure with team and environment dynamics; leadership role and the impermanent multicultural environment; project success definition and the success criteria; aligned performance and governance systems; changing organizational strategy; and team building and the project complexity management. Based on study findings, a framework was created for leading 4 organizational processes in global projects, which includes the environment, team building, leadership selection, and setting of project success criteria. Higher efficiency in leading these processes may contribute to positive social change and support practitioners to promote a project environment for active knowledge integration.