Stephen A. Leybourne
Assistant Professor and Director for Student Admission, Administrative Sciences
Dr. Leybourne is director for student admission and chair of the Academic Policy & Standards Committee in the Administrative Sciences department at Metropolitan College (MET), one of the largest schools within Boston University (BU). Dr. Leybourne arrived in Boston in January 2009 from the UK, where he had been teaching at Plymouth Business School in the southwest of England. At BU, he teaches both in the classroom and online (see his teaching page for details of courses), and carries out research into the behavioral aspects of project-based management, with a particular emphasis on improvised work in the project domain. He is internationally acknowledged as an expert on improvised work in project management, and has presented at major international conferences and published widely on this subject. He has also presented keynote sessions on this subject at the 5th Brazilian PM Congress in 2010 in Brasilia and at the 2019 FuturePMO conference in London, among others. Prior to his academic career, he worked for over twenty years in banking and finance, with his later banking career focused on commercial mortgage financing to small and medium-sized businesses, and the project management of technical, cultural, and behavioral change. Professor Leybourne is an associate editor at Project Management Research & Practice (formerly Organizational Project Management), and is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Administrative Science & Technology.
- MET AD 740 – Program & Project Management
- MET AD 742 – Managing Employees in Professional Teams
- MET AD 743 – Business in a Changing Society
- MET MG 503 – Planning and Operating New Ventures
Member of the editorial board, Journal of Organisational Project Management (May 2015).
Member of the editorial board, Journal of Project, Program & Portfolio Management.
“It’s All Up Here”: Adaptation and Improvisation within the Modern Project.” International Journal of Project Organisation and Management (in press, 2016).
“Emotionally Sustainable Change; Two Frameworks to Assist with Transition.” International Journal of Strategic Change Management 7, no. 1 (2016): 23–42.
Turner, N., Kutsch, E., and Leybourne, S. A. “Rethinking Project Reliability using the Ambidexterity and Mindfulness Perspectives.” International Journal of Managing Projects in Business 9, no. 4 (2016): 845-864. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/IJMPB-08-2015-0074
Leybourne, S. A., and Cook, P. “Rockin All Over the World”: Organisational Improvisation Lessons from the Music-based Practitioner.” International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy 9, no. 1 (2015): 1–19.
Leybourne, S. A., and Kennedy, M. “Learning to Improvise, or Improvising to Learn: Knowledge Generation and ‘Innovative Practice’ in Project Environments.” Knowledge and Process Management 22, no. 1 (2015): 1–10. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/kpm.1457
Leybourne, S. A., and P. Sainter. “Advancing Project Management: Authenticating the Shift from Process to ‘Nuanced’ Project-based Management in the Ambidextrous Organization.” Project Management Journal 43, no. 6 (2012): 5-1
“Steve Leybourne’s Reflections on David Hillson’s Risk Doctor Briefing.” Journal of Project, Program, and Portfolio Management (2011): 8–9.
“Summary of Reflections on David Hillson’s Risk Doctor Briefing.” Journal of Project, Program, and Portfolio Management (2011): 1–2.
“Classifying Improvisation: Comments on Managing Chaotic Evolution.” Proc. PMI Research and Education Conference 2010 (Washington, D.C., July 2010).
Unger, B., Greiman, V. A., and Leybourne. S. A. “A Study of Postinvestment Monitoring Practices in Life Science Venture Capital Firms.” Journal of Transnational Management 15 (2010): 3–25 (Best Paper Award, 18th World Business Congress, Tbilisi, Georgia).
“Project Management and High Value Superyacht Projects: An Improvisational and Temporal Perspective.” Project Management Journal 41, no. 1 (March 2010): 17–27.
“Improvisation as a Way of Dealing with Ambiguity and Complexity.” Graziadio Business Report 13, no. 3 (2010).
Leybourne, S. A., Badger, B., Lean, J., and Perry, J. “Taking Over the Reins: the Needs of Individuals Who Purchase Small Established Enterprises.” International Journal of Entrepreneurship & Innovation 11, no. 1 (February 2010): 57-68.
“Improvisation and Agile Project Management: A Comparative Consideration.”International Journal of Managing Projects in Business 2, no. 4 (2009): 519-535.
“The Changing Bias of Project Management Research: A Consideration of the Literatures and an Application of Extant Theory.” Project Management Journal 38, no. 1 (2007): 62-73.
“Improvisation within Management: Oxymoron, Paradox, or Legitimate Way of Achieving?” International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy 2, no. 3 (2007): 224-239.
“Managing Improvisation within Change Management: Lessons from UK Financial Services.” Service Industries Journal 26, no. 1 (2006): 73-95.
“Managing Change by Abandoning Planning and Embracing Improvisation.” Journal of General Management 31, no. 3 (2006): 11-29.
Leybourne, S.A., and E. Sadler-Smith. “Going-with-your-Gut: The Role of Intuition and Improvisation in Project Management.” International Journal of Project Management 24, no. 6 (2006): 483-92.
“Improvisation within the Project Management of Strategic Change: Some Observations from UK Financial Services.” Journal of Change Management 6, no. 4 (2006): 365-381.
“The Project Management of Change within UK Financial Services: What about Improvisation?” In Proceedings of PMI Research Conference 2002 (Newtown Square, Pa.: PMI, 2002), 343-351.
Warburton, R. D. H., S. Leybourne, and V. Kanabar. “The Third Decade of Online Education: What have we learned.” Paper presented at the 2011 Our Digital Renaissance Conference, Florence, Italy, November 10–12, 2011.
“Improvisation and Project Management: What, When, and How.” Paper selected for presentation at the PMI Global Congress 2011–North America, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Tex., October 22-25, 2011.
“Using Improvisational PM to Mitigate Risk: Is it Acceptable in a Highly-Controlled Environment and, if so, How do you Manage it?” Clinical Project Management Forum of the Barnett Clinical Summit, Cambridge, Mass. October 5, 2011.
“Lost in Translation: Addressing Reviewers’ Comments.” Personal Development Workshop, Academy of Management, San Antonio, Tex., August 2011. Co-presented with Kennedy, M., Blackman, D., and Richardson, J.
“Emotionally Sustainable Change: Two Frameworks to Assist With Transition.” Personal Development Workshop, Academy of Management, San Antonio, Tex., August 2011.
“Improvised Work within Projects: Shifting Away from the Traditional Project Paradigm.” Presentation at the PMI Mass Bay Personal Development Day, February 4, 2011.
“Improvisation and Project Management.” Keynote address, 5th Brazil National Project Management Congress, Brasilia, Brazil, October 28, 2010.
“Project Management and High Value Superyacht Projects: An Improvisational and Temporal Perspective.” Presented at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Anaheim, Calif., August 8-13, 2008.
“Improvisation and Agile Project Management: A Merging of Two Ideals?” Presented at the PMI Research Conference, Warsaw, Poland, July 13-16, 2008.
“Transformation and Change in the UK Financial Sector: Equipping Employees to cope with Change.” Presented at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, Pa., August 3-8, 2007.
“Culture and Organizational Improvisation: Some Conceptions Informed by UK Financial Services.” Presented at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Atlanta, Ga., August 11-16, 2006. Winner of the Rupert F. Chisholm “Best Theory to Practice” paper award.
“The Changing Bias of Project Management Research: A Consideration of the Literatures and an Application of Extant Theory.” Presented at the PMI Research Conference, Montreal, Canada, July 16-19, 2006.
“Improvising within Management: Oxymoron, Paradox, or Legitimate Way of Achieving?” Presented at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Honolulu, Hawaii, August 5-10, 2005.
“Intuition and Rationality in Project Decision-Making: Thoughts on the Impact on Improvisational Working Practices.” Presented at the PMI Research Conference, London, UK, 2004.
“Managing Change or Changing Management: Abandoning Planning and Embracing People within Strategic Implementation.” Presented at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting, New Orleans, La., August 6-11, 2004.
“Managing Improvisation within the Management of Change: Some Lessons from UK Financial Services.” Presented at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Seattle, Wash., August 1-6, 2003.
“The Project Management of Change within UK Financial Services: What about Improvisation?” Presented at the PMI Research Conference, Seattle, Wash., July 14-17, 2002.
“2025: How will we make our way there, and what skills will we need to do it?” Presented at the Institute of Management South Wales Branch. First place award, Millennial Management Paper. 2000.
What advice do you have for new students?
A good degree or higher qualification from a recognized and credible academic institution is the starting point to a better career, and a more productive life. It is accepted that the world of work is changing, and becoming more competitive. A BU qualification is a major stepping stone to the benefits of being able to thrive and prosper in this changing environment. It is therefore worthwhile to apply yourself during your period at BU to maximize those advantages, which will influence the rest of your life.