Bibliometric evaluation of the literature indicates that a unified theory of program management does not yet exist. The vastly different definitions and implementations of programs across organizations and industries indicate that program management as an organizational concept is not well understood. As researchers have tried to make sense of various perspectives and definitions, it becomes clear that different kinds of programs exist, and further attention to their context is needed. While relationships between structural and environmental variables have been extensively researched in organizational studies, studies in program management are scant, lack incorporation of environmental variables relevant to programs and projects, and lack a theoretical basis with defined concepts. Questions remain on how well these works actually represent and enlighten practitioners. To address these issues, this research applied the Delphi technique along with contingency theory as a theoretical lens to the field of program management to enable simultaneous advancement of theoretical and practical knowledge through participation of fourteen 14 technical program management experts from the public aerospace industry, including the Department of Defense (DoD), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). A conceptual model with constructs and relationships was developed to identify different organizational and management structures that fit optimally with different environmental conditions or contexts. Fundamental to the research was to gain an understanding of (a) impacts to program management for different contexts (b) how and why programs are structured in a particular way, and (c) which structures are more successful than others. The research results informed a program management framework with both academic and practical contributions that may (a) assist managers in deciding how to structure their programs, (b) provide insights on how to correct impacts to success, and (c) aid future researchers in the development of an overarching theory of program management.


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Graduation Date





Rabelo, Luis


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Industrial Engineering and Management Systems

Degree Program

Industrial Engineering


CFE0009257; DP0026861





Release Date

August 2022

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)