DBA Student Research

Damir Matrljan

Damir Matrljan

DBA in Strategy, Project Leadership and PMOs
Research topic: The effect of functional stupidity on project failure in project-oriented organizations’


Student Background

Damir Matrljan is a doctoral candidate at SBS Swiss Business School, Zurich, Switzerland.

He holds a Master of Applied Business Research (MABR) degree from SBS Swiss Business School and a Master of Business Administration (specialization in Project Management) from the Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria. Damir also holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree from the Faculty of Engineering, University of Rijeka, Croatia.

Damir is an internationally recognized project management expert and coach. He also holds an IPMA L-A Certified Project Director certificate and is a member of IPMA, CAPM, PMI, AIPMO.

Professional Areas of Expertise and Career Roles

Areas of Expertise

Enterprise Project Portfolio Management; Project, Program and Portfolio Governance; Project Management methodologies and tools; Change Management; Strategic Consulting; Stakeholder Management; Coaching and Mentoring

Previous Roles

PMO Manager; Portfolio and Program Manager; Senior Project Portfolio Manager; Senior Project Manager; Senior Consultant


DAAM International World Symposiums on Intelligent manufacturing & Automation (November 2011), Vienna, Austria;

Scientific Symposium in Management – Baltazar Adam Krčelić (Project Portfolio Management in the pharmaceutical industry; 2010), Zaprešić, Croatia.

Publications in Works

The impact of functional stupidity on project failure rates

Professional Certifications

IPMA: L – A Certified Projects Director, Zagreb, Croatia, (2015).

Professional Affiliations

IPMA (International Project Management Association)
PMI (Project Management Institute)

Seminar Overview

Effective Stakeholders Management – PMI seminar, Zagreb, Croatia, (2016);
Managing the Corporate Project Portfolios – IPMA Advanced courses, Opatija, Croatia, (2008);
Project, Program and Portfolio Management – Roland Gareis Consulting, Vienna, Austria (2007 – 2008).

Doctorate Research Topic

The effect of functional stupidity on project failure in project-oriented organizations

Doctorate Research Area

Damir’s doctorate research lies at the intersection of project management standards, organizational culture and the impact of one’s cognitive capacities on project failure within project-oriented organizations. In particular, he is researching how organizationally supported inability or unwillingness to mobilize one’s cognitive capacities influences the project failure rates.

Research Proposal & Questions

Main Research questions:
R1: What is the relationship between the functional stupidity and project failure?
R2: What is the relationship between the functional stupidity and project failure and is this relationship influenced by governance?

Research Application and expected findings:

• To understand how functional stupidity impacts the domain of project management, in particular, the performance of projects
• To prove the research model, therefore showing the risks of functional stupidity in organizational performance
• To provide insights into further research and to better understand functional stupidity in the field of project management

Next Steps

• Refine research questions and construct validity/reliability
• Write full proposal and validate with supervisor
• Continue literature review
• Investigate sampling method and restrictions
• Create the entire list of questions for the survey
• Refine timeline and research plan

This rigorous doctorate research program guides you through specially designed theoretical and practical courses that tremendously improve your academic abilities and guarantee high-quality research. More importantly, it provides a clear focus on your topic of interest and research principles which you can apply in your professional business career. Besides your research topic, there are special modules that challenge your leadership skills and help you improve them!

Personal Motivation To Enroll Into The Program

As a project management practitioner with more than 14 years of experience across different industries, I was always astonished by the high project failure rates. Even though large population of project managers are applying internationally recognized standards, we still see that around 70% of projects fail to meet certain business goals defined prior to project launch.

I wanted to contribute to our project management community by researching several aspects of human and organizational behavior which may cause these conditions in everyday business practice.

Interesting Facts About Myself

  1. I have spent more than 25 years in handball and beach handball as a player, coach, and referee
  2. I am a certified PADI scuba diver
  3. When I am not working or studying, I hike, meditate, travel, play darts, pool or card games with my friends   

Why SBS/AIPMO’s DBA Program?

I moved to Switzerland 2,5 years ago due to career opportunity and I have decided to continue my academic education. SBS/AIPMO’s DBA program was the best program in DACH region with the renown professors/researches in the subject areas. I manage to combine my doctorate research and work due to the design of this challenging program.