Purpose and Objectives of the study
The thesis clearly identifies and discusses the purpose of the study. Since establishment of the projects in developing countries faces immense uncertainties and risks, the purpose of the thesis is to improve management of these uncertainties and risks. The developing countries are unable to manage uncertainties and risks because they do not have enough experience, which is necessary for them to employ effective management strategies in establishment of projects.
The developing countries are unable to manage uncertainties and associated risks because they have an inefficient transport system, unreliable telecommunication, inefficient institutions, poor legislations and policies, and inadequate expertise among other inefficiencies. Owing to the inefficiencies, developing countries take long to establish projects, and thus reducing their success rates. Hence, inability to manage uncertainties and risks mainly reduces success rates of the projects in developing countries. If developing countries can acquire knowledge and skills that are necessary in the management of uncertainties and risks, they can increase success rates of their development projects. In this view, the purpose of the thesis is to enhance management of uncertainties and risks that are common in developing countries.
The thesis also clearly identifies and discusses the objectives of the study. The first objective of the thesis is to improve success rates of development projects in developing countries. Since developing countries are not in tandem with effective management strategies, it implies that uncertainties and risks significantly influence the outcome of the projects. Thus, project managers need to contextualize uncertainties and risks of projects before their establishment so that they can improve their success rates.
The second objective of the thesis is to derive lessons that are applicable in the establishment of projects in developing countries where uncertainties and risks are common. Therefore, the thesis classifies projects in developing countries as high-uncertainty projects with a view of deriving important lessons for the management of uncertainties and risks in development projects.
The thesis clearly identifies and discusses theories, models, and conceptual frameworks that support the assertion that uncertainties and risks are key elements in successful management of projects in developing countries. From a theoretical perspective, the establishment of projects requires application of the social planning framework, which allows all stakeholders to participate in the management of uncertainties and risks.
Given that uncertainties and risks vary from one project to another, project managers should manage them in ad hoc basis. In this view, the theoretical framework perceives projects as ad hoc organizations, which have a specific goals, purposes, and objectives. In addition to theoretical framework, the thesis provides a general model that shows the relationships among uncertainties, risks, opportunities, successes, and failures. According to the model, uncertainty is the likelihood of a project to deviate from expected outcomes. The uncertainty is inversely proportional to the available information regarding the project. In this view, project managers can reduce uncertainty of a project by increasing the information that is essential in the management of the project.
Conceptually, the thesis perceives risks as known undesirable outcomes and uncertainties as unknown undesirable outcomes. The relationships between risks and uncertainties influence the outcome of a given project. Various concepts follow specific model that defines their relationship. Professional qualification of project managers, availability of information, clarity of project objectives, the nature of the situations, volatility of the environment, reliability of decisions, and implementation process are some of the determinants of uncertainty in the management of development projects. The extent of the uncertainty then determines utility of a project in terms of risk and opportunity.
Eventually, the degree of risk or opportunity reflects the successfulness of a project. Although the theoretical framework does not rely on specific theorists, it relies on the general model that outlines the relationships among uncertainties, risks, and opportunities. Therefore, the theoretical framework, model, and concepts support the relevance of uncertainties and risks in successful management of projects.
Situation of the Study
The thesis conducts the study in the field of management. Management of uncertainties and risks, which are associated with the development of projects, has been an issue in management since ancient times. During ancient times, empires struggled to overcome their enemies in war by managing uncertainties and risks well. In modern society, the application of technology in management aims at reducing uncertainties and risks while enhancing success rates of development projects. Since the ability to handle and manage uncertainties and risks is dependent on the level of civilization, developing countries grapple with the challenge of managing uncertainties and risks.
The success rates of projects in developing countries are lower than that in developed countries because of the difference in economic, social, and political aspects. In developing countries, factors such as an inefficient transport system, unreliable telecommunication, lack of expertise, availability of weak institutions, and presence of poor legislations increase uncertainties and risks associated with development projects.
The thesis examines case studies that have led to project failure due to uncertainties and risks. For example, the thesis cites rural development program in Asia, which failed to succeed because of the guerrilla activities that compelled communities to migrate and desert projects, which would have helped them. Moreover, the projects in Asia stalled because the donors were unable to continue funding them, while the governments were also unable to fund. According to the thesis, development projects that deal with commercial fishing are not successful in African countries because droughts cause significant decrease in water levels in some lakes. Such case studies showed that uncertainties and risks are factors that usually reduce success rates of the development projects in developing countries.
Since international donors are aware of the uncertainties and risks associated with establishment of projects in developing countries, the thesis wants to establish gaps in international development assistance with the objective of enhancing success rates of development projects in developing countries.
Analysis of international development projects from the perspective of risk and uncertainty management is essential, as it would indicate the gaps that are present and provide lessons for the management of other development projects. Many studies assume that international development assistance is effective in the management of the risks and uncertainties associated with the development projects in developing countries. Thus, the thesis has established that there is a gap in the management of risks and uncertainties by the international development assistance.
Research Approach and Methodology
The research approach of the thesis is the extensive approach. The thesis provides rationale for using extensive approach as a research design. The extensive approach is a qualitative study that entails collection of qualitative information from diverse sources in the field of management. Given that the management of risks and uncertainties is a complex issue, extensive approach is an appropriate research design. The extensive approach explores all research articles that have information that is relevant to the management of uncertainties and risks. The theoretical basis of the thesis holds that the extensive approach provides sufficient information for the study.
In this view, extensive approach examines reports that provide empirical evidence and enhances validity and reliability of the findings. Through the extensive approach, the thesis enhanced reliability of the study by exploring huge samples of resources. Moreover, the thesis enhanced validity of the study by selecting relevant and appropriate sources to the field of management.
The thesis clearly and fully reports the methodology employed in data collection. Sampling of 250 reports of international development projects was one of the methods employed in collection of data. Since the field of risk and uncertainty management is a complex field, analysis of diverse samples of reports regarding international development projects is necessary. The thesis obtained the summaries of the reports from the Organization for Economic and Cooperation Development (OECD).
Hence, the thesis sampled appropriate and relevant reports from the OECD and analyzed the information for the study. To enhance understanding of management issues, the thesis also used surveys to collect information. The thesis administered surveys to decision-makers and managers of projects under the Norwegian Development Agency. In the surveys, the thesis obtained information from 36 respondents.
The study has no serious ethical considerations except the concerns of the validity and the reliability of the study findings. Since the study employed extensive approach in collecting data from reports and surveys, there is a high probability that collected data have biases regarding risks and uncertainties of development projects. Moreover, the study administered surveys to managers and decision-makers in Norwegian Development Agency only. The administration of surveys to managers and decision-makers in Norwegian Development Agency only reduces the external validity of the data, since the data collected is only unique to the agency. The sample of 36 respondents is not sufficient to warrant generalization of the findings. Therefore, one should consider the reliability and validity when utilizing the findings.
Presentation and Analysis of the Results
The thesis clearly presents the results basing on the theoretical framework of the study. In each of the summary report, the thesis examines strategies and tactics employed by each project. Moreover, the thesis presents uncertainties and risks associated with each project. In this view, the thesis presents the results of each project in a uniform and clear manner for readers to comprehend easily. To enhance understanding of the results, the thesis discusses the findings.
In the discussion part, the thesis tabulates the findings and discusses their relevance in the management of uncertainties and risks. Eventually, the study findings show that there is a need to employ effective management strategies to reduce uncertainties and risks that reduce success rates of development projects in developing countries.
The thesis provides areas that need further research in management of development projects. Since development projects in developing countries experience more uncertainties and risks than development projects in developed countries, further research is necessary to establish if other projects in developing countries experience same uncertainties and risks as development projects funded by donors. In addition, the thesis recommends for further research to establish how perceptions and attitudes of project managers influence their management of uncertainties and risks.