Faculty Profile

Anne Live Vaagaasar

Associate Professor - Department of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour

Department of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour

Area of Expertise


Sankaran, Shankar; Vaagaasar, Anne Live & Bekker, Michiel C. (2019)

Assignment of project team members to projects: Project managers’ influence strategies in practice

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business Doi: 10.1108/IJMPB-12-2018-0285

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate how project managers, influence the assignment of project team members by directly assigning or specifying who they want or by indirectly using lateral influence strategies to secure the appropriate resources. This study is part of a wider study investigating the balance between vertical and horizontal leadership in projects in which nomination (or assignment) was identified as a key event contributing to balancing the leadership. It focuses specifically on the nomination or assignment event at the start of a project. Design/methodology/approach: Based on the philosophy of critical realism, case studies were used to collect data through 70 semi-structured interviews in Australia, Scandinavia and South Africa. Interviews were conducted with senior managers, project managers and project team members. Two project team members who worked with the same project manager were interviewed to gather diverse views. The data were analyzed individually by researchers from each location using a coding method proposed by Miles et al. (2014). The researchers then jointly analyzed the findings to arrive at five common themes from that explained how team members were assigned in practice. Findings: Despite the recognized need for project managers to form their own teams, this study found that project team members were often assigned by others. This was because project managers lacked authority to secure their resources. Therefore, they used lateral influence strategies to help with assigning project team members. The study identified five lateral influencing strategies adopted by project managers to assign team members: creating an image of competence; creating coalitions; taking a gamble; waiting for the right moment; and reasoning with facts. Two of these lateral influencing strategies were not identified in the previous literature on influencing strategies used in organizations. Research limitations/implications: The findings should not be viewed as representative of the respective continents where the cases were studied. However, this study contributes to the literature on project management, illuminating how project teams are assigned and by whom and, specifically, the role that influence plays during this event of the balanced leadership theory. It also identifies the types of lateral influence strategies used by project managers when assigning team members to their projects. It provides a pathway to explore the use of lateral influencing strategies by project managers beyond the assignment process. Practical implications: This study will help project managers to become aware of influencing strategies that they can use in practice while assigning team members to their projects. It will also highlight the importance of assigning the right resources to projects with a view to achieving balanced leadership. Originality/value: This research is of value to organizations using projects to successfully deliver their strategies by assigning suitable resources to their projects.

Vaagaasar, Anne Live; Müller, Ralf Josef & De Paoli, Donatella (2019)

Project managers adjust their leadership: to workspace and project type

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business Doi: 10.1108/IJMPB-05-2018-0098

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the triadic relationship between project workspace (i.e. spatial context), project type and project manager’s leadership style. It develops the concept of leadership construct (i.e. mental models of leadership to predispose the way leadership is performed) to explain related preferences for workspace and behaviors.

Yu, Miao; Vaagaasar, Anne Live, Müller, Ralf Josef, Wang, Linzhuo & Zhu, Fangwei (2018)

Empowerment: the key to horizontal leadership in project teams

International Journal of Project Management, 36(7), s. 992- 1006. Doi: 10.1016/j.ijproman.2018.04.003

Leadership in projects can shift between the project manager (a.k.a. vertical leadership) and one or more team members (a.k.a. horizontal leadership). Our study examines the processes, dimensions, and conditions for empowerment of project team members to temporarily assume leadership of project processes. Twenty interviews were conducted in 10 organizations in China. Results show that empowerment for horizontal leadership is a 3-stage process, wherein the project manager takes justification perception and demand factors as essential conditions for his/her empowerment orientation, which in turn frames the announcement, acceptance, control, autonomy and future of horizontal leaders. Four categories of horizontal leaders were revealed, namely Deputies, Future Stars, Bench Players and Oysters. Managerial and theoretical implications are discussed.

Drouin, Nathalie; Müller, Ralf Josef, Sankaran, Shankar & Vaagaasar, Anne Live (2018)

Balancing vertical and horizontal leadership in projects: Empirical studies from Australia, Canada, Norway and Sweden

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 11(4), s. 986- 1006. Doi: 10.1108/IJMPB-01-2018-0002 - Full text in research archive

Purpose The purpose of this paper is twofold: to identify how horizontal leaders (within project teams) execute their leadership task in the context of balanced leadership; and to pinpoint scenarios that can occur when horizontal leaders are identified and empowered by the vertical leader (senior or project managers) and a project task is handed over to them to lead. This research is based on the concept of balanced leadership, which conceptualizes leadership as a dynamic, situation-dependent transition of leadership authority from a vertical leader (like a project manager) to a horizontal leader (a project team member) and back again, in order to contribute positively to a project’s success. Balanced leadership consists of five events (nomination, identification, empowerment, horizontal leadership and its governance, and transition). This paper focuses on the fourth event, and its specific aspect of leadership distribution between horizontal and vertical leader. This event begins when a team member(s) accepts the empowerment to assume the role of horizontal leader. This paper explicitly links the leadership style of the vertical leader based on Frame’s (1987) leadership styles and the nature of decisions taken by both the vertical and horizontal leaders to deliver the project. Design/methodology/approach The method used for this paper is the qualitative phase of a sequential mixed methods (qualitative-quantitative) study. Data were collected through case studies in four different countries, using a maximum variety sampling approach. Data collection was through interviews of vertical leaders (senior leaders who were often sponsors of projects or members of senior management or project managers) and horizontal leaders (team leaders or members) in a variety of industry sectors. Data analysis was done through initial coding and constant comparison to arrive at themes. Thematic analysis was used to gain knowledge about the split of leadership and decision-making authority between the horizontal and vertical leader(s). Findings The results show that for Canadian and Australian projects, a combination of autocratic and democratic leadership styles were used by vertical leaders. In the case of Scandinavian projects, a democratic leadership style has been observed. Linked to these leadership styles, the horizontal decision making is predominantly focused on technical decisions and to daily task decisions to deliver the project. Delegation occurs most of the time to one specific team member, but occasionally to several team members simultaneously, for them to work collaboratively on a given issue. Research limitations/implications The paper supports a deeper investigation into a leadership theory, by validating one particular event of the balanced leadership theory, which is based on Archer’s (1995) realist social theory. The findings from this paper will guide organizations to facilitate an effective approach to balancing the leadership roles between vertical and horizontal leaders in their projects. The findings can also be used to develop horizontal leaders to take up more responsibilities in projects. Originality/value The originality lies in the new leadership theory called balanced leadership, and its empirical validation. It is the first study on the leadership task distribution between vertical and horizontal leadership in projects. Its value is new insights, which allow practitioners to develop practices to find and empower the best possible leader at any given time in the project and academics to develop a more dynamic and, therefore, more realistic theory on leadership as it unfolds in projects.

Müller, Ralf Josef; Sankaran, Shankar, Drouin, Nathalie, Vaagaasar, Anne Live, Bekker, Michiel C. & Jain, Karuna (2018)

A theory framework for balancing vertical and horizontal leadership in projects

International Journal of Project Management, 36(1), s. 83- 94. Doi: 10.1016/j.ijproman.2017.07.003

This paper develops a framework for understanding the interaction between person-centered leadership by project managers (a.k.a. vertical leadership (VLS)) and team-centered leadership by individuals in the project team (a.k.a. horizontal leadership (HSL)). It builds on Archer's Realist Social Theory and its morphogenetic cycle, which describes the interaction of structure with agency for task fulfillment and the resulting reshaping (morphogenesis) or continuation (morphostasis) of structure for subsequent iterations of the cycle. Data were collected globally in 33 case studies with 166 interviews and analyzed using Alvesson's Constructing Mystery technique. A theory about the cycles and events that shape the interaction between VLS and HLS is developed, which includes events such as nomination, identification, selection, execution and governance, as well as transitioning. Managerial and theoretical implications are discussed.

Kokkonen, Anne & Vaagaasar, Anne Live (2017)

Managing collaborative space in multi-partner projects

Construction Management and Economics, 36(2), s. 83- 95. Doi: 10.1080/01446193.2017.1347268

Collaboration across company borders in multi-partner construction projects has proven to be challenging. An increasing number of projects aim to strengthen such collaboration by collocating project members from different companies in the same physical space. Yet we know little about the management practices required for taking advantage of such a collaborative space. To begin to remedy this shortcoming, we present an in-depth case study of a hospital construction project that applied a collaborative space and focus on the management practices influencing this space. With the help of affordance theory, we identified two types of management practices and show how they transform across project phases. These management practices included designing the physical elements of the collaborative space, and creating shared collaboration practices for the space. We contribute to the construction management literature by taking the first step in conceptualizing the connections between space, management and collaboration practices in the context of multi-partner projects. We suggest managers to consider carefully what kind of collaboration practices the space is expected to enhance and plan the physical and social space to support it.

Bygballe, Lena Elisabeth; Swärd, Anna Sundberg & Vaagaasar, Anne Live (2016)

Coordinating in construction projects and the emergence of synchronized readiness

International Journal of Project Management, 34(8), s. 1479- 1492. Doi: 10.1016/j.ijproman.2016.08.006

Vaagaasar, Anne Live (2015)

A spatial perspective to leadership in knowledge-intensive projects

Ropo, Arja; Salovaara, Perttu, Sauer, Erika & De Paoli, Donatella (red.). Leadership in spaces and places

Eskerod, Pernille & Vaagaasar, Anne Live (2014)

Stakeholder Management Strategies and Practices During a Project Course

Project Management Journal, 45(5), s. 71- 85. Doi: 10.1002/pmj.21447

Vaagaasar, Anne Live (2011)

Stakeholders, decisions and narrations

Proceedings of the Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS) Doi: 10.1109/HICSS.2011.383

Vaagaasar, Anne Live (2011)

Development of relationships and relationship competencies in complex projects

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 4(2), s. 294- 307. Doi: 10.1108/17538371111120252

Andersen, Erling S.; Søderlund, Jonas & Vaagaasar, Anne-Live (2010)

Projects and politics: exploring the duality between action and politics in complex projects

International Journal of Management and Decision Making, 11(2), s. 121- 139.

Andersen, Erling S. & Vaagaasar, Anne-Live (2009)

Project Management Improvement Efforts-Creating Project Management Value By Uniqueness or Mainstream Thinking?

Project Management Journal, 40(1), s. 19- 27. Doi: 10.1002/pmj.20096

Andersen, Erling S.; Dysvik, Anders & Vaagaasar, Anne-Live (2009)

Organizational Rationality and Project Management

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 2(4), s. 479- 498.

Hernes, Tor; Schjelderup, Gerhard & Vaagaasar, Anne-Live (2008)

White as snow or milk?

Ch. Garsten and T. Hernes (eds), Ethical Dilemmas in Management

Söderlund, Jonas; Vaagaasar, Anne-Live & Andersen, Erling S. (2008)

Relating, reflecting and routinizing: Developing project competence in cooperation with others. International Journal of Project Management

International Journal of Project Management, 26(5)

Vaagaasar, Anne-Live & Andersen, Erling S. (2007)

On task evolvement in renewal projects

International Journal of Project Management, 25(4), s. 346- 353.

Hernes, Tor; Vaagaasar, Anne-Live & Schjelderup, Gerhard (2005)

Hvit som snø eller melk? Samvittighetshåndtering i kooperativ virksomhet

F. Nyeng and G. Wenn: Organisasjon og emosjoner

Karlsen, Jan Terje; Solli-Sæther, Hans, van Oorschot, Kim & Vaagaasar, Anne Live (1)

Kan du stole på din utenlandske leverandør?

BI Leadership Magazine [Kronikk]

Sankaran, Shankar; Vaagaasar, Anne Live & bekker, giel (2018)

Sankaran, S., Vaagaasar, A. L., & Bekker, M. C. (2018). Nominating project team members with a potential to take on leadership roles in projects. In Proceedings of EURAM 2019, June 20-22, 2018, Reykjavik, Iceland.

[Academic lecture]. EURAM.

Bygballe, Lena Elisabeth; Swärd, Anna & Vaagaasar, Anne Live (2018)

Routines as Truces in multipartner collaborations

[Academic lecture]. Pros Conference,.

Bygballe, Lena Elisabeth; Swärd, Anna & Vaagaasar, Anne Live (2018)

How temporality shapes routine enactment and the understanding of past, present and future routine performance.

[Academic lecture]. Process Symposium.

Bygballe, Lena Elisabeth; Swärd, Anna & Vaagaasar, Anne Live (2018)

Routines in temporary multi-organizations

[Academic lecture]. EGOS colloqium- Tallinn.

Swärd, Anna; Bygballe, Lena Elisabeth & Vaagaasar, Anne Live (2017)

Interorganizational Routines

[Academic lecture]. SMS Costa Rica.

Skyttermoen, Torgeir & Vaagaasar, Anne Live (2017)

Värdeskapande projektledning

[Non-fiction book]. Studentlitteratur AB.

Värdeskapande projektledning är en grundlig introduktion till projektledning där alla de viktiga temana och teorierna presenteras. Boken kombinerar forskning och teori med praktik och presenterar både etablerade teorier och modeller och moderna goda exempel. Läsaren får en god insikt om hur man genomför projekt i en komplex och osäker verklighet präglad av många aktörer, förhandlingar och ständig förändring.
 ”Den här boken täcker det mesta som man kan säga om projekt och deras funktions­sätt. Boken är visserligen en pedagogisk lärobok, men ger samtidigt en god inblick om forskningen och bekräftar det goda rykte som Skandinavien har som ledande inom projektfältet.”

Vaagaasar, Anne Live & Skyttermoen, Torgeir (2017)


[Non-fiction book]. Cappelen Damm Akademisk.

Drouin, Nathalie; Müller, Ralf, Sankaran, Shankar, Vaagaasar, Anne Live, Nikolova, Natalia & Jain, Karuna (2017)

Balanced leadership in projects: The concept of socio-cognitive space to support the building of organizational capabilities. The "Project Hat"

[Academic lecture]. IRNOP 2017 Conference.

Müller, Ralf; Sankaran, Shankar, Drouin, Nathalie, Vaagaasar, Anne Live, Bekker, M & Jain, Karuna (2017)

A theory framework for balancing vertical and horizontal leadership in projects

[Academic lecture]. IRNOP 2017.

Bygballe, Lena Elisabeth; Swärd, Anna Sundberg & Vaagaasar, Anne Live (2016)

Hva skal til for å få til effektiv koordinering mellom bedrifter i store komplekse prosjekter?

[Popular scientific article]. Prosjektledelse, 4, s. 25- 27.

Müller, Ralf; Nikolova, Natalia, Sankaran, Shankar, Zhu, Fangwei, Xu, Xiaohang, Vaagaasar, Anne Live & Drouin, Nathalie (2016)

Leading Projects by Balancing Vertical and Horizontal Leadership –International Case Studies

[Academic lecture]. European Academy of Management Conference (EURAM).

Skyttermoen, Torgeir & Vaagaasar, Anne Live (2015)

Organisering av verdiskapende innovasjonsprosjekter

[Academic lecture]. Neon.

Bygballe, Lena Elisabeth; Swärd, Anna Sundberg & Vaagaasar, Anne Live (2015)

The space where hirarchical and lateral coordination mechanisms meet in inter-organizational projects.

[Academic lecture]. Apros-Egos.

Bygballe, Lena Elisabeth; Swärd, Anna Sundberg & Vaagaasar, Anne Live (2015)

Creating space for coordinating and cooperating in construction projects: The role of Sociomaterial practices

[Academic lecture]. Apros-Egos.

Karlsen, Jan Terje; Solli-Sæther, Hans, Solli-Sæther, Hans, van Oorschot, Kim & Vaagaasar, Anne Live (2015)

Kan du stole på din utenlandske leverandør?

[Popular scientific article]. BI Business Review

Müller, Ralf; Vaagaasar, Anne Live, Nikolova, Natalia, Sankaran, Shankar & Drouin, Nathalie (2015)

The socio-cognitive space for linking horizontal and vertical leadership

[Academic lecture]. APROS EGOS Conference.

Swärd, Anna Sundberg; Bygballe, Lena Elisabeth & Vaagaasar, Anne Live (2015)

Coordinating inter-firm projects: the role of synchronised readiness as an integrative condition

[Academic lecture]. IRNOP conference.

Skyttermoen, Torgeir & Vaagaasar, Anne Live (2015)

Verdiskapende prosjektledelse

[Textbook]. Cappelen Damm Akademisk.

Solli-Sæther, Hans; Vaagaasar, Anne Live, van Oorschot, Kim & Karlsen, Jan Terje (2013)

The organizing of offshoring projects: Copying with control mechanisms and trust

[Academic lecture]. 11th edition of IRNOP (International Research Network on Organizing by Projects).

Solli-Sæther, Hans; Karlsen, Jan Terje, Vaagaasar, Anne Live & van Oorschot, Kim (2013)

Offshoring i partnerskap

[Popular scientific article]. Prosjektledelse, s. 8- 14.

Bygballe, Lena Elisabeth & Vaagaasar, Anne Live (2013)

Interfirm project organizing

[Academic lecture]. 22nd Nordic Academy of Management Conference in Reykjavik.

Bygballe, Lena Elisabeth & Vaagaasar, Anne Live (2013)

Organizing the inter-organizational construction project: A review of challenges, trends and debates

[Academic lecture]. 11th IRNOP Conference.

Bygballe, Lena Elisabeth; Swärd, Anna Sundberg & Vaagaasar, Anne Live (2013)

The practices of organizing in multiparty collaborations

[Academic lecture]. 33rd annual SMS Conference in Atlanta.

De Paoli, Donatella; Vaagaasar, Anne Live & Müller, Ralf (2013)

Project Leadership and Work Space

[Academic lecture]. IRNOP XI Conference (International Research Network for Organizing by Projects).

Vaagaasar, Anne Live & Therese, Dille (2012)

Temporal complexity in projects

[Academic lecture]. EGOS.

Vaagaasar, Anne Live & Pernille, Eskerod (2012)

Mixed staholder strategies for trust maintainence

[Academic lecture]. Egos.

Vaagaasar, Anne Live & Eskrod, Pernille (2012)

Bad cop - good cop, a stakeholder strategy

[Academic lecture]. International Buiseness project workshop.

De Paoli, Donatella Maria & Vaagaasar, Anne Live (2012)

The role of space and place for project work

[Academic lecture]. 28th EGOS Conference.

Dysvik, Anders; Vaagaasar, Anne Live & Andersen, E.S (2008)

Exploring different project perspectives

[Academic lecture]. EURAM annual conference.

Andersen, Erling S.; Dysvik, Anders & Vaagaasar, Anne Live (2008)

Explaining Different Project Perspectives

[Academic lecture]. EURAM Annual Conference 2008 Ljubljana.

Nilsen, Etty & Vaagaasar, Anne-Live (2008)

Learning and knowing through sencing practice

[Academic lecture]. OLKC 2008 Conference, International conference on Organizational learning, knowledge and capabilities.

Vaagaasar, Anne-Live; Hernes, Tor & Nilsen, Etty (2007)

Enacting a case - of what? Methodological reflections on drawing case boundaries in a tangled reality

[Academic lecture]. The Third Organization Studies Summer Workshop, EGOS.

Kolltveit, Bjørn Johs.; Hjertø, Kjell Brynjulf & Vaagaasar, Anne-Live (2005)

Teamutvikling og teamsammensetning i prosjekter : sluttrapport fra TeamPro prosjektet

[Report]. Norsk senter for prosjektledelse.

Dokumentet er et et resultat av "Prosjekt: P016 Teamsammensetning og teamutvikling i prosjekter" -

Vaagaasar, Anne-Live & Nilsen, Etty (2005)

Multivoicedness in organisational identity construction Knowledge creation as the alignment of interests

[Academic lecture]. 6th International conference on Organizational Learning and Knowledge.

Academic Degrees
Year Academic Department Degree
2006 BI Norwegian Business School Ph.D.
Work Experience
Year Employer Job Title
2006 - Present BI Norwegian Business School Associate Professor