This thesis reviews the literature on project sponsorship, competence and accountability in the public sector. It adopts a systematic review methodology, which aims to find, evaluate, analyse and synthesize literature on a transparent, replicable basis. Based on a set of keywords derived from a scoping study and practitioner inputs, a series of keyword searches were conducted on a number of databases. The literature found was evaluated for relevance and rigour against a set of specified source, content and quality criteria. I developed new content criteria in response to new uses of keywords in the literature. I also used the reference lists in the material that passed all the criteria to find further literature, which I also reviewed for rigour and relevance against the source, content and quality criteria. Systematic review is therefore a deductive process, which changed my understanding of the research subject form a general one to a more specific one. I found project sponsorship to be a common role in many areas where project management is used. My synthesis of the literature suggested that the role is a powerful, risk-taking one, requiring leadership and ownership. Competence is a divided , ambiguous concept, with current approaches limited by virtue of their rational, dualistic ontology. Accountability is fundamental to any understanding the role of the project sponsor in the public sector, but is a difficult, changing concept, capable of being viewed from either a process or an organizational perspective. I found significant research gaps in the project sponsorship literature. It has been the subject of little direct research. Whilst there is some understanding of the role in relation to the project, the wider aspects of the role and what may constitute competence in the the role are fertile areas for further research.Masters by Researc
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