Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Gert-Jan de Vreede, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Carol Stoak Saunders, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Matthew Mullarkey, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Alan Hevner, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Shivendu Shivendu, Ph.D.


Program management, Acquisition, Critical, Time sensitive, Action Research, Process


Government leaders stand to benefit from improved program management capabilities within their organizations. Often, they are faced with crisis situations that require a rapid-fire, precise, effective problem solving process. Some of these programs are more severe or complex than others. With time and certainty of the solution as constraints, efficient program management supporting the Defense Acquisition Life Cycle remains an enigma for organizations at best and a hazard at worst.

Program management dealing with crisis problem solving, which is characterized by critical events and high cost, is a real-time process where requirements are identified and resolved to achieve a desired goal, with the path to the goal blocked by known or unknown obstacles. Program management that deals with crisis problem solving situations are plagued by several issues. The crisis situation is likely one not previously encountered; therefore, solutions from past experiences cannot be drawn upon to solve the problem (Heichal, 1992). An individual not experienced or trained often feels the situation is too complex, information is incomplete, time is short, and failure consequences are extreme (Hockey, 1986). Managers who face these dilemmas must have responsive, failure-proof processes in place.

This dissertation explores program management as it deals with problem solving processes in time-critical contexts, including task consolidation and resource selection, with the critical objective of improving crisis event management. The intent is to focus on processes that can be improved in crisis problem solving, specifically time needed to execute current problem solving processes, and introduce a kinetic problem solving approach to increase the momentum of implementing the solutions during crisis situations. This flexibility is facilitated by the researcher’s genuine desire to improve the organizational situation (rather than merely study it) and a client’s willingness to share the details of how they will use the technology and lessons learned.