Participative project management as a comprehensive response to postmodernism criticisms

Mehrdad Sarhadi (Department of Project Management and Construction, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran)
Saied Yousefi (Department of Project Management and Construction, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran)
Amin Zamani (Department of Construction Engineering and Management, University of Science and Technology, Tehran, Iran)

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business

ISSN: 1753-8378

Publication date: 3 September 2018



The purpose of this paper is to understand the philosophical changes which underpin research and practices in project management. This study is an attempt to challenge previous studies that have tried to explain this change in order to provide a better explanation.


The authors adopt a critical review research method to challenge previous explanations of the paradigm change and definition of communication. For this purpose, philosophical and social theories and concepts have been used.


This paper proposed changing the paradigm from modernism to postmodernism and the paradigm shift, which happens from postmodernism to participation, as a better explanation for the paradigmatic change in project management. Furthermore, the important role of communication has been illustrated in the participation paradigm.


For the first time in project management, the authors attempt to clarify the role of power in this paradigmatic shift, especially because this concept is an axial concept in postmodern philosophy and a neglected concept in project management literature. In addition, communicative action theory has been used with the aim of pursuing the influence of informal power in the participation paradigm and paving the way for confronting its emerging challenges in future studies.



Sarhadi, M., Yousefi, S. and Zamani, A. (2018), "Participative project management as a comprehensive response to postmodernism criticisms", International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 11 No. 4, pp. 935-959.

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