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A Case Based Comparative Analysis of Project Management Leadership Styles

ET Cases, 15 Pages
AUTHOR(S) : Dr. Arnab Banerjee, Principal Consultant, Enterprise Application Services – Oracle Supply Chain Competency, Infosys Ltd

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A case based comparative analysis of project management leadership styles


It was rainy and humid as Dr. Arnab Banerjee looked out of the window. Summer had arrived in Germany and so had the good time. Dr. Arnab Banerjee told the team, “Looking back, this is the time we have been waiting for.” The happy moment was well cherished by Dr. Banerjee as it was a month since the German Driveshaft Manufacturing Plant of Dream Driveline Corporation had gone live and things were going pretty well. ‘It is time to review and analyze the work my team has been doing since last 12 months in Europe,’ he thought to himself. He recollected his onboarding to the project some 12-13 months ago when his company (Systems Group) won the project to transform the supply chain of Dream Driveline Corporation’s three plants in Europe. Dr. Banerjee, as the program manager for the transformation project in Europe, led a talented team of consultants. The transformational project consisted of business process re-engineering (BPR) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementation for the plants in France, Sweden and Germany. The overall outcome of the European sojourn was a mixed bag: It was mediocre success in the beginning, disappointing in the middle and successful towards the end. ’Although tough, working on the project has been a great learning experience which needs to be shared with others,’ Dr. Banerjee thought and smiled, as he returned to France from Germany.

While bidding adieu to his friends in Europe over a farewell dinner with some nice wines, baguettes and cheese, everyone was eager to hear from Dr. Banerjee about his experience in Europe. Dr. Banerjee said professionally there was one aspect he would reminisce most about. With the eager listeners looking at him in anticipation, Dr. Banerjee continued while sipping a glass of wine, “I worked in three plants for the transformation project. One plant based out of France, another in Sweden and the third in Germany, each of which had its own plant manager responsible for the respective Information Technology (IT) led process re-engineering transformation followed by ERP implementation in their respective plants. I can definitely say the failure or success of the massive transformation project, to a great extent, hinged on these three people. The results in the three plants were different in each case, and can be attributed largely to the different project management styles of the three plant managers............


Exhibit I: Comparative Analysis of Project Management Skills

Exhibit II: Comparative Analysis of Soft and People-Oriented Skills

Teaching Note Preview

A case based comparative analysis of project management leadership styles



The case study begins with the main protagonist Dr. Banerjee reflecting on his European sojourn which has been a mixed bag of success. He decides to pen down the experience so that it can be taught as a case on Information Technology [IT] Project Management in business schools. The story revolves around IT-driven transformational project of Dream Driveline Corporations ’three plants in France, Sweden and Germany. The case focuses on the project management aspect in the transformational journey, and highlights the details of project management styles of each of the plant’s project managers. Dr. Banerjee, who works closely with the three protagonists “ Mr. Gerard of France, Mr. Lucas of Sweden and Mr. Hubert of Germany “ the Plant and Project Manager for the three units, explores the decisions taken by the managers in various phases of the project and how it impacted the overall project results. The project first starts in France and it goes well till the design and testing phase, after which it runs into troubled waters. There are certain decisions and attitudinal e aspects that help Mr. Gerard of France overcome the problems. The project then moves to Sweden, and gets into trouble from the very beginning. The reasons are certain decisions taken by Mr. Lucas in the Sweden plant. Decisions and attitude both work against the project, and it remains a troubled experience for everyone, with no good results till the end. The project then moves to Germany, and is led by Mr. Hubert. The decisions and attitude of Mr. Hubert work favorably well for the project, under his leadership, and end results are good. The case helps draw a comparison among the three project managers with regard to project management and people-oriented skills, and how they fared against each other in almost same situations. A comparative analysis is drawn with a reference of the decisions that worked good for the project and those that worked against the project. The comparative analysis and findings help compare the characters of the project managers. This paves the way to determine the ideal traits and skills of a successful project manager for such transformation projects..................

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Product code: OM-1-0043, OM-1-0043A


The case study describes the Information Technology (IT) driven transformational project of Dream Driveline Corporation’s three plants in France, Sweden and Germany, from the perspective of project management. There are three stories – one about each of the three manufacturing plants –highlighting the individual project  management styles of the plants’ project and-plant managers. The protagonist of the case is the Program Manager of the organization’s IT team, Dr. Banerjee, who works closely with the three plant managers, Gerard of France, Lucas of Sweden and Hubert of Germany, who represent their respective business teams. The case study explores the decisions taken by the three managers in various phases of the project and how these impacted the overall project results. The case then draws a  comparative analysis through a relative rating of the three managers for different project tasks. A comparison is drawn among the managers’ project management skills and soft skills. The comparative analysis and findings help compare the personality traits/personal qualities and characteristics of the project managers. The protagonist then draws out traits and skills of an ideal project manager for such transformational projects.

Pedagogical Objectives

  • To help students understand the various roles, responsibilities, traits, skills, situation handling abilities required and expected of a project manager for IT and ERP transformational projects
  • Appreciate the Importance of Soft and People skills to get into a project management role. Awareness and learnings about how to deal with subordinates, counterparts and managers in a project environment for a successful end result
  • To learn about the potential pitfalls of wrong decisions in a transformational project

Case Positioning and Setting

  • Information Technology
  • Project Management
  • Project Management in Information Technology
  • Strategy Management

This Case Pack Includes:
- Abstract
- Case Study
- Teaching Note (**ONLY for Academicians)
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