Knowledge translation in project portfolio decision-making: the role of organizational alignment and information support system in selecting innovative ideas

Maria Carmela Annosi, Lucia Marchegiani*, Francesca Vicentini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: The present study aims to describe the micro-dynamics of decision-making that refer to knowledge translation pursued by organizational actors to see how they affect the travel of new ideas within the managerial practice of Project Portfolio Management (PPM). The study focuses on how the alignment of actors' meanings is reached at the organizational level and how they move towards a common direction by synthesizing information and negotiating meanings across the activities that constitute PPM. The study also investigates the intermediation function of information support systems in knowledge translation, which brokers information among those involved in the PPM practice. Design/methodology/approach: This piece of research uses an inductive, qualitative research approach and a methodological combination of case study research and grounded theory to investigate and explore the processes of knowledge transfer and translation enacted by the organizational actors (both human and non-human) involved in innovation portfolio decision-making. Findings: The findings of this research reveal the sequence of portfolio decision-making process that confirms that PPM occurs not only in a single hierarchical level or meeting, but that decisions are made across different organizational levels in a complex network of relationships where many actors are involved. We also show that the technological artefacts have an intermediate role in knowledge translation. Research limitations/implications: Despite referring to a single case study, the results discussed in this piece of research provides insightful evidence for academics and practitioners alike. In fact, the paper discusses organizational pre-alignment and alignment as a crucial enabler of knowledge transfer. Moreover, the intermediate role of an information support system is discussed. Practical implications: Our study highlights the positive effect on actors' meaningful participation in PPM associated with the adoption of information support systems in PPM. Moreover, our results highlight the importance of considering a horizontal perspective in the decision-making process, so that knowledge translation occurs by leveraging on all the actors' breadth of experience and expertise. Originality/value: This research emphasizes two organizational routines termed as decision- making preparation processes that were identified as key enablers of portfolio decision-making: cross-functional pre-alignment and an information support system.

Original languageEnglish
JournalManagement Decision
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Aug 2020


  • Innovative ideas
  • Knowledge transfer
  • Knowledge translation
  • Organizational alignment
  • Project portfolio management

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