By Vincenza Previte
Walker School of Business
All doctorate students must defend their dissertations to earn that coveted Phd. For Walker School alum Dr. Jason Kaminsky that was only the first step in making his mark in management. His second was getting a summation of his 2010 work published as an article in a scholarly journal. The article, Impact of Nontechnical Leadership Practices on IT Project Success was published this spring in the Journal of Leadership Studies and could be the next best thing for anyone in the field of project management.
Kaminsky, who graduated in 2010 and is the first Walker School doctoral student to have a dissertation published in a scholarly journal, based his article on a qualitative research study that gathered data from IT projects conducted in different U.S. companies. The result of this study was then contrasted with Harvard Professor Ronald Heifetz’s adaptive leadership framework.
Heifetz’s framework focuses on two distinctions: the first one between leadership and authority, and the second one between technical and adaptive work. Heifetz explains that treating adaptive challenges as if they were technical is a mistake made by failed leaders.
Kaminsky, who’s been a Nestle Purina’s manager for 15 years, said he wanted to find a leadership model that could help people deal with adaptive challenges that are commonly encouraged when leading IT projects.
“There’s a void in available literature concerning nontechnical leadership practices that are important for the success of IT projects,” Kaminsky said. “When I got introduced to the adaptive leadership framework in my class, I thought it would be useful for project management.”
Professor of management John Robinson introduced Kaminsky to Heifetz’ leadership model in a Topics in Leadership course in 2008. Kaminsky’s research found that Heifetz’s model is relevant for the success of IT projects.
“Jason (Kaminsky) was one of the better students I’ve had,” Robinson said. “Jason had a sense of focus, a sense of ‘I want to get this done and I want to make a contribution.’
Robinson said that Kaminsky’s article is important for the field of project management because it acknowledges the technical side to project management and the nontechnical side of leadership as well.
“It (the article) has the potential to move forward the field of project management; additional training on leadership should be incorporated for those who lead the projects.” Robinson said. “Since there are not many articles out there discussing nontechnical leadership skills, Kaminky’s article now provides a basis.”