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The project-space model: enhancing sensemaking

Bronte van der Hoorn (School of Management and Enterprise, University of Southern Queensland, Brisbane, Australia)
Stephen Jonathan Whitty (Department of Management and Enterprise, University of Southern Queensland, Brisbane, Australia)

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business

ISSN: 1753-8378

Article publication date: 4 January 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose the project-space model as positively influencing sensemaking in the project context. There is currently minimal discussion of the tools used by project managers, teams and stakeholders to build their map of the project terrain or to make sense of a project’s status. However, such sensemaking is critical to ongoing decision making and aligning action in any project.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper uses framework analysis to examine the results of a completed action research case study that utilised a tool: the project-space model. Three frameworks are then utilised as an investigative lens to examine how the project-space model influenced sensemaking.

Findings

The project-space model is found to enhance sensemaking within the case study. Specifically, its visual nature, the focus it brings to the plurality of experience and the need for plausibility rather than precision in understanding.

Research limitations/implications

The findings are based on a single case study. Further studies could be undertaken to confirm extensibility.

Practical implications

The project-space model is identified as having a favourable impact on sensemaking in the case study project. There is a need to consider what other tools are currently used or could be used by project teams to enhance sensemaking.

Originality/value

Empirical, contextualised case study research highlighting the value of the project-space model as a sensemaking tool. Contribution to evidence on the efficacy of the project-space model as a useful tool for project managers.

Keywords

Citation

van der Hoorn, B. and Whitty, S.J. (2017), "The project-space model: enhancing sensemaking", International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 10 No. 1, pp. 185-202. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMPB-05-2016-0039

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited