Beyond authority:

Power to the people


Advances in Project Management


By Prof Darren Dalcher

Director, National Centre for Project Management
Lancaster University Management School

United Kingdom



In Last month’s article it was noted that effectuation recognises that opportunities are created and effectuation thus puts forward a ‘new’ entrepreneurial way of thinking about developing business. In particular, it was observed that effectuation recognises a plurality of possible new ends, given a set of available means (Dalcher, 2019; p. 5). Entrepreneurs expand the available problem space as they work through emerging opportunities, utilising the resources and connections at their disposal. It is not surprising therefore, that the vast majority of entrepreneurial ventures ultimately develop results that are significantly different to the initial concept they started with.

So, where do entrepreneurs find their inspiration and what resources can they rely upon?

Serial entrepreneur, Sir Richard Branson, puts it into context, when he states that ‘clients do not come first. Employees come first’.

The explanation is rather simple, as Branson quickly adds that ‘if you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients’.

Branson’s ideas do not appear to chime with post-industrial thinking that emphasises shareholder value. Indeed, they don’t directly support a move towards stakeholder thinking either.

Putting your people first

Conventional wisdom dictates that businesses put their customers first, and endeavour to satisfy or even delight them. The customer is always right, goes the thinking, and after all we do need them to return and use our service that continues to delight them repeatedly…

This makes sense to the extent that business relies on customers to engage with the product or service so that the company can start collecting value from the new patterns of use. So, it would take a brave entrepreneur to turn things on their head and reverse the business model. But that’s what successful entrepreneurs do…

HCL Technologies (HCLT) is an Indian multinational technology company headquartered in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India. The company aims to deliver innovative technology solutions based around emerging ideas such as Digital, Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud, Automation, Cybersecurity, Analytics, Infrastructure Management and Engineering. HCLT was originally formed as a research and development division of HCL, and emerged as an independent company in 1991 when HCL ventured into the competitive software services business.

Vineet Nayar took over as the CEO of HCLT in 2005. Nayar (2010) candidly admits that when he took over he did not have a grand plan for the business. Indeed, while Nayar managed to completely transform his business, the phases for the transformation became clear to him only after the transformation fog had started clearing.


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Editor’s note: The PMWJ Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books published by Gower and other publishers in the Routledge family.  Each month an introduction to the current article is provided by series editor Prof Darren Dalcher, who is also the editor of the Routledge Advances in Project Management series of books on new and emerging concepts in PM.  Prof Dalcher’s article is an introduction to the invited paper this month in the PMWJ. 

How to cite this paper: Dalcher, D. (2019). Beyond authority: Power to the people, PM World Journal, Volume VIII, Issue IV (May). Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/pmwj81-May2019-Dalcher-beyond-authority-power-to-the-people.pdf



About the Author

Darren Dalcher, PhD

Author, Professor, Series Editor
Director, National Centre for Project Management
Lancaster University Management School, UK



 Darren Dalcher, Ph.D., HonFAPM, FRSA, FBCS, CITP, FCMI, SMIEEE, SFHEA is Professor in Strategic Project Management at Lancaster University, and founder and Director of the National Centre for Project Management (NCPM) in the UK.  He has been named by the Association for Project Management (APM) as one of the top 10 “movers and shapers” in project management and was voted Project Magazine’s “Academic of the Year” for his contribution in “integrating and weaving academic work with practice”. Following industrial and consultancy experience in managing IT projects, Professor Dalcher gained his PhD in Software Engineering from King’s College, University of London.

Professor Dalcher has written over 200 papers and book chapters on project management and software engineering. He is Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Software: Evolution and Process, a leading international software engineering journal. He is the editor of the book series, Advances in Project Management, published by Routledge and of the companion series Fundamentals of Project Management.  Heavily involved in a variety of research projects and subjects, Professor Dalcher has built a reputation as leader and innovator in the areas of practice-based education and reflection in project management. He works with many major industrial and commercial organisations and government bodies.

Darren is an Honorary Fellow of the APM, a Chartered Fellow of the British Computer Society, a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, and the Royal Society of Arts, A Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Member of the Project Management Institute (PMI) and the British Academy of Management. He is a Chartered IT Practitioner. He sits on numerous senior research and professional boards, including The PMI Academic Member Advisory Group, the APM Research Advisory Group, the CMI Academic Council and the APM Group Ethics and Standards Governance Board.  He is the Academic Advisor and Consulting Editor for the next APM Body of Knowledge. Prof Dalcher is an academic advisor for the PM World Journal.  He is the academic advisor and consulting editor for the forthcoming edition of the APM Body of Knowledge. He can be contacted at d.dalcher@lancaster.ac.uk.

To view other works by Prof Darren Dalcher, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/darren-dalcher/.