Background Project management literature does not describe how the sponsor behaves during project control in this specific occupational safety and health (OSH) public sector project context. Project management literature does not describe how the sponsor perceives the impacts of projects in this OSH context. It also seems that the literature does not recognise how the behaviour of the sponsor is related to sponsor perceptions of project impact. The objective of this study is to increase understanding of sponsor behaviour and impacts in public sector projects from the viewpoint of the sponsors themselves.
Methods This study is based on the qualitative method. Interviewees were selected on the basis of archive material. Interviews were organised for twenty sponsors, and the experiences of the sponsors were analysed on the basis of Grounded Theory.
Results The study indicated that sponsor behaviour was polymorphic. The main terms found for sponsor were bureaucrat, participator, expert and observer. The results indicated that the sponsor recognised many impact dimensions. Connexions were found between the behaviour of the sponsor and the impact dimensions that were determined from the perceptions of the sponsor. This study also suggests that there is a relationship between the behaviour of the sponsor and how the sponsor recognised the impact dimensions of the project.
Conclusions This study increases the understanding that other sponsors, ministries, researchers and project executors have regarding sponsor actions in the OSH field. It provides better possibilities for open discussion of sponsor activities in public sector projects. The study provides improved opportunities for continuing discussion about the impact of projects. According to the study, more research is needed on sponsor behaviour.
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