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Lavagnon Ika

Ika, Lavagnon
Full Professor
Professor of Project Management (PM)
M.Sc. Program Director for Health Systems and Management
BAC C (Collège Père-Aupiais), BAC G2 (National Examination), B.B.A. (Institut National d'Économie), M.Sc. (UQO), Ph.D. (UQAM)
DMS 7109
613-562-5800 x 4781
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Lavagnon Ika is Full Professor of Project Management (PM), former Program Director for the MSc in Management, Faculty Leader for uOttawa partnerships with African Universities, and Founding Director of the Major Projects Observatory at the Telfer School of Management (uOttawa). He holds a joint affiliation with the uOttawa School of International Development and Global Studies. He earned an MSc and a PhD in PM from the Université du Québec, where he eventually became replacement, assistant and then associate professor.

Professor Ika’s academic leadership has brought him to serve as a member of a number of university boards or faculty committees including the Senate Council on Graduate Studies, Center of Academic Leadership, Association of Professors of the University of Ottawa, Faculty Teaching and Personnel Committee, Faculty Research Committee, Graduate Research Programs Committee, Program Innovation and Engagement Committee, President Working Group on La Francophonie, Anti-Racism and Inclusion (Working Group on Research), Mental Health and Wellness Advisory Committee, etc. He has also chaired faculty hiring committees and prestigious conferences. He has been an adjudication committee member or reviewer for SSHRC, FQRSC, the Project Management Institute (PMI), and MITACS grant competitions. As a panel review member for PEQAB, he has assessed programs such as the Yorkville BBA and the Northeastern MSc in PM. He has also reviewed hiring, tenure, and promotion files for a few professors in Canada, the US, the UK, and South Africa. Professor Ika has been a visiting professor at the Skema Business School in France, the Swinburne Business School in Australia, the Institute of Public Project and Cost Engineering of the Tianjin University of Technology in China, the African School of Economics in Benin, the CESAG Business School in Senegal and the World Bank in Washington, DC.

Over the past 20 years, Professor Ika has taught PM at the B.Com, MSc, MBA/EMBA, and PhD levels in both the French and English languages, in Canada but also in Europe, Africa, Australia, and the Middle East. He has led a number of PM workshops in organizational settings and advised a number of project managers and senior business leaders in his consulting work. His clients include public sector departments such as Global Affairs Canada, Transport Canada and Justice Canada, and international organizations like the World Bank and the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), as well as private businesses. A faculty member since 2006, he has supervised a few PhD students and a dozen MSc students and sat on dozens of MSc and PhD committees all over the world including Australia, Botswana, France, India, South Africa, Serbia, Trinidad and Tobago, etc.

Professor Ika’s research topics include: what makes projects successful; why do projects fail and what can be done about it; why projects experience cost overruns and benefit shortfalls; what is the role of project strategy, supervision and management in project success/failure; how projects ‘behave’ or ‘work’; and what makes projects complex. He is the world leader of the research on managing international development projects (e.g., World Bank or Global Affairs Canada-funded projects delivered in Africa), which tend to be complex to manage. Professor Ika is the author of some 45 papers in peer-reviewed journals as well as some 30 conference proceedings. His work has been published in many journals including World Development, Harvard Business Review (France), The Conversation, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, Production Planning and Control, Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, the International Journal of Project Management, the Project Management Journal, Research in Transportation Economics, the International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Development in Practice, the IEEE Engineering Management Review, the Journal of African Business, Revue Management et Avenir, Revue Gestion HEC Montréal, Revue de Management et de Stratégie, Revue Management et Datascience, Revue Gestions Hospitalières, PM World Journal, and Revue Organisations et Territoires. His work has been well received by researchers: it is highly cited (more than 2,780 citations and an h-index of 16 on Google Scholar) or consulted (more than 105,000 reads to date on Research Gate). His most recent article in The Conversation on the complexity of the vaccination rollout has reached 28,000 reads and became the most read article of the month of March 2021 in just one week.

Professor Ika is Associate Editor for the International Journal of Project Management, the highest ranked journal in his field. He is a member of the Academic Boards of the prestigious international project management associations PMI and IPMA, the Editorial Board of Project Leadership and Society and Cadernos EBAPE Brazil, the Editorial Advisory Board of the International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, and of the Editorial Review Board of the Journal of African Business. He is also an international academic advisor for the PM World Journal, a member of Kheops, an international research consortium on the governance of large infrastructure projects, and an advisory committee member of the CEDIMES Institute, USA. His works have been funded by granting agencies such as SSHRC and FRQSC. He has reviewed papers for prestigious journals in project management, business and management, international development, transport, and engineering as well as book proposals for prestigious publishers such as Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press. His co-authored book on managing fuzzy projects is slated to be published in 2022 with McGraw-Hill.

He received the PM World Journal Best Paper Award in 2021, Emerald Best Reviewer Award in 2018, Outstanding Paper Award in 2017 and Highly Commended Paper Award in 2011; the IPMA Research Award in 2017 and the IPMA Research Contribution of a Young Researcher Award in 2012. He was awarded the Telfer’s Innovative Researcher Award in 2017. Two of his papers are among the most cited papers in top PM journals since 2011. Many of his papers are praised by PM practitioners. Some feature in the World Bank concept notes.

Publications during the last 7 years

Papers in Refereed Journals

  • Love, P.E.D., Ika, L.A., Matthews, J. and Fang, W. 2021. Curbing poor quality in large scale transport infrastructure projects. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management.
  • Love, P.E.D., Ika, L.A., Matthews, J. and Fang, W. 2021. A rising tide lifts all boats, ignoring risks can sink them: The peril of rework in large-scale transport projects. IEEE Engineering Management Review.
  • Love, P.E.D., Ika, L.A., Matthews, J. and Fang, W. 2021. A procurement policy-making pathway to future-proof large-scale transport infrastructure assets. Research in Transportation Economics.
  • Love, P.E.D. and Ika, L.A. 2021. The ‘context’ of transport project cost performance: Insights from contract award to final construction costs. Research in Transportation Economics.
  • Tywoniak, S.A., Ika, L.A. and Bredillet, C.N. 2021. A Pragmatist Approach to Complexity Theorizing in Project Studies: Orders and Levels. Project Management Journal.
  • Love, P.E.D., Ika, L.A., Matthews, J. and Fang, W. 2021. From Quality-I to Quality-II: Cultivating an error culture to support lean thinking and rework mitigation in infrastructure projects. Production Planning and Control. Production Planning and Control.
  • Ika, L.A., Rego, M.L., Holzmann, V. and Gil, N. 2020. Call for Papers “Infrastructure delivery and project management in developing and emerging economies”. Cadernos EBAPE.BR.
  • Ika, L.A., Söderlund, J., Munro, L.T. and Landoni, P. 2020. Cross learning between project management and international development: Analysis and research agenda. International Journal of Project Management, 38: 548-558.
  • Ika, L.A., Saint-Macary, J. and Bandé, A. 2020. Quatre questions pour rallier les parties prenantes à la gestion d’un projet. Organisations & Territoires, 29(3): 133-143.
  • Munro, L.T. and Ika, L.A. 2020. Guided by the beauty of our weapons: Comparing project management standards inside and outside international development. Development in Practice, 30(20): 934-952.
  • Bentahar, O. and Ika, L.A. 2020. Matching the project manager’s roles to project types: Evidence from large dam projects in Africa. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, 67(3): 830-845.
  • Love, P.E.D., Ika, L.A., Matthews, J. and Fang, W. 2020. Shared leadership, value and risks in large scale transport projects: Re-calibrating procurement policy for post Covid-19. Research in Transportation Economics.
  • Ika, L.A., Love, P.E.D. and Pinto, J.K. 2020. Moving beyond the Planning Fallacy: The emergence of a new principle of project behavior. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management.
  • Love, P.E.D., Ika, L.A. and Sing, M.C.P. 2020. Does the Planning Fallacy prevail in social infrastructure. Empirical Evidence and competing explanations. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management.
  • Love, P.E.D., Ika, L.A., Luo, H., Zhou, Y., Zhong, B. and Fang, W. 2020. Rework, failures, and unsafe behavior: Moving toward an error management mindset in construction. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management.
  • Signor, R., Love, P.E.D. and Ika, L.A. 2020. White collar crime: Unearthing collusion in the procurement of infrastructure projects. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management.
  • Ika, L.A., Söderlund, J., Munro, L.T. and Landoni, P. 2020. Editorial "When project management meets international development, what can we learn?". International Journal of Project Management.
  • Love, P.E.D., Sing, M.C.P., Ika, L.A. and Newton, S. 2019. The cost performance of transportation projects: The fallacy of the Planning Fallacy account. Transportation Research A: Policy and Practice, 122: 1-20.
  • Love, P.E.D., Ika, L.A., Locatelli, G. and Ahiaga-Dagbui, D.D. 2019. Future-proofing ‘next generation’ infrastructure assets. Frontiers of Engineering Management, 5(3): 407-410.
  • Love, P.E.D., Ika, L.A., Ahiaga-Dagbui, D.D., Locatelli, G. and Sing, M.C.P. 2019. Make-or-break during production: Shedding on change-orders, rework and contractors margin in construction. Production Planning and Control, 30(4): 285-298.
  • Love, P.E.D., Ika, L.A. and Ahiaga-Dagbui, D.D. 2019. On de-bunking ‘fake news’ in a post truth era: Why does the planning fallacy explanation for cost overruns and benefit shortfalls fall short. Transportation Research A: Policy and Practice.
  • Ika, L.A., Söderlund, J., Munro, L.T. and Landoni, P. 2018. When project management meets international development, what can we learn? International Journal of Project Management, 36(2): 331-333.
  • Ika, L.A. 2018. Beneficial or detrimental ignorance: The straw man fallacy of Flyvbjerg’s test of Hirschman’s Hiding Hand. World Development, 103: 369-382.
  • Ika, L.A. and Donnelly, J. 2017. Success conditions for international development capacity building project. International Journal of Project Management, 35(1): 44-63.
  • Paché, G. and Ika, L.A. 2016. European Professional Football Club Image and Human Capital Management. International Journal of Business Administration and Management Research, 2(3): 30-34.
  • Ika, L.A. and Bredillet, C.N. 2016. The metaphysical questions every project practitioner should ask. Project Management Journal, 47(3): 86-100.
  • Ika, L.A. and Söderlund, J. 2016. Rethinking revisited: Insights from an early rethinker. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 9(4): 931-934.
  • Ika, L.A. 2015. Opening the black box of project management: Does World Bank project supervision influence project impact. International Journal of Project Management, 33(5): 1111-1123.
  • Saint-Macary, J. and Ika, L.A. 2015. Atypical Perspectives on Project Management: Moving Beyond the Rational, to the Political and the Psychosocial. International Journal of Project Organization & Management, 7(3): 236-250.

Chapters in Books

  • Ika, L.A. and Pinto, J.K. Nothing succeeds like success but what is it anyway?: Reconceptualizing success. In Research Handbook on Complex Project Organizing. London: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2021.
  • Ika, L.A. Under what circumstances does capacity building work?. In Chrysostome, E.. Capacity Building in Developing and Emerging Countries. United Kingdom: Spinger Nature, 2019.

Invited Contributions and/or Technical Reports

  • McWatters, C.S. and Ika, L.A. 2018. "Understanding our budgeting system".
  • Ika, L.A. 2018. "Measuring the effectiveness of capacity building programs".

Funded Research during the last 7 years

Funded Research during the last 7 years
From-To Source Title * ** Role Amount
2021-2026 SSHRC Le rôle du contexte dans la gestion de projet en Afrique R C PI $ 94,500
2021-2022 University of Ottawa - Carleton University Shared Online Projects Initiative (SOPI) P I Co-PI $ 40,000
2020-2025 Telfer School of Management Major Projects Observatory R I PI $ 60,000
2019-2020 Union économique et monétaire ouest-africaine (UEMOA) Leviers de la mise en oeuvre des réformes de finance publique dans l’espace UEMOA/ CLEAR Project R F PI $ 50,000
2018-2020 School of Management Research Fund (SMRF) To what extent are project managers involved in project planning and does it matter for project success O I PI $ 12,000
2014-2017 School of Management Research Fund (SMRF) Project Leadership and Teamwork in High Power Distance Matrix Structures: The Case of African Science Projects R I Co-I $ 6,000
2014-2015 SSHRC Project manager's level of involvement in project planning: The case of international development projects (Approved but not yet funded) R C PI N/A


C: Contract (R and D) | E: Equipment Grant | R: Research Grant | S: Support Award | P: Pedagogical Grant | O: Other, U: Unknown

C: Granting Councils | G: Government | F: Foundations | I: UO Internal Funding | O: Other | U: Unknown

PI = Principal Investigator | Co-I = Co-Investigator | Co-PI = Co-Principal Investigator

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