Search results

1 – 10 of 28
To view the access options for this content please click here
Article
Publication date: 5 September 2016

Joana Geraldi and Jonas Söderlund

In 2006, the “Rethinking Project Management” network called for a paradigm shift in project research, and proposed five research directions. The directions inspired…

Downloads
1048

Abstract

Purpose

In 2006, the “Rethinking Project Management” network called for a paradigm shift in project research, and proposed five research directions. The directions inspired research and marked a milestone in the development of the field. The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the past decade and to rejuvenate these research directions.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors propose the umbrella term: “project studies” to denote the research related to projects and temporary organizing. Project studies is conceived not only as a body of research, but also as a social process embedded in research communities, and contemporary Zeitgeist. Based on Sandberg’s interpretative approach to the fit between work and works (in this case research-researcher) and Habermas’ three types of human interests: technical, practical, and emancipatory, the authors develop a conceptual framework circumscribing three types of research in project studies.

Findings

The conceptual framework is used to craft future research directions, in the lines proposed by Winter et al. (2006b).

Research limitations/implications

The authors conclude by proposing for a sixth theme on the practice of theorizing, and call for engaged, ambidextrous scholars, who’s “job” goes beyond the writing of articles and research applications, and includes shaping discourses of project research, nurturing new project scholars, contributing to project practice and carefully considering the legacy of projects and project studies in society.

Originality/value

This paper positions research as a social process, and the role of researchers as actors shaping research in project studies.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 9 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Article
Publication date: 7 September 2012

Joana Geraldi and Thomas Lechter

The purpose of this paper is to explore a classic tool in project management, which for some has become almost synonymous with project management: the Gantt chart. The…

Downloads
17340

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore a classic tool in project management, which for some has become almost synonymous with project management: the Gantt chart. The Gantt chart was developed in the early twentieth century, at the heart of Scientific Management; yet, the chart is used with very little adaptation across a wide range of types of projects. In this conceptual paper, the authors question its universal and unreflective use.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors analyse the conceptual roots of the Gantt chart, its historical development and use, derive its engrained principles, and analyse its implications to the management of projects.

Findings

While a Gantt chart can be useful to cope with some of the “complicatedness” of projects, and embraces the importance of time and timing, it is based on principles that are not valid to all projects. The consequence is a propagation of a management approach that does not explicitly cope with complexity, ambiguity, uncertainty and change. In that respect, the Gantt chart fails to acknowledge insights from years of organization theory research and project management research with a firm grounding in contingency theory.

Originality/value

While the majority of contemporary project management thinking already accepted that a normative use can be inappropriate, the practice is still pretty much embracing this approach. By showing the conceptual roots of the Gantt chart, the authors hope to make some of its limitations more evident to practitioners and academics, and encourage its use to be more reflective and contextualised.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 5 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Article
Publication date: 7 September 2012

Jonas Söderlund and Joana Geraldi

The purpose of this paper is to argue for the need of continuously revisiting and reformulating the contributions of past research. In particular the focus is on project…

Downloads
2797

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to argue for the need of continuously revisiting and reformulating the contributions of past research. In particular the focus is on project management writings. In addition, the purpose of the paper is to introduce the reader to the special issue on Classics in project management and give an overview of the different contributions.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on literature in related fields and the approach is paradigmatic, illustrating the value of common literature and common language to develop a knowledge domain.

Findings

The authors provide an introductory framework and arguments for the need to revisit the contributions of the past. Since “the past” and readings of it will continuously change and develop, exploring it is not a “one‐off” job, but part of the dialogue within the academic community. From an evolutionary perspective, the authors make the point that an important role for scholars is to “store” knowledge from the past to tell the stories found in prior research, the influential ideas and their development within the knowledge domain/discipline. In a critical realm, the authors also see the role of critical engagement with the past to question what we take for granted to be able to improve our collective ability to think and from that end develop project management thinking and research. In that sense, revisiting the past might provide avenues to future research and adventurous explorations.

Originality/value

The authors introduce the idea of classics in project management as an ongoing and important debate among scholars within the field. This discussion has so far received only limited attention among scholars in the field of project management.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 5 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Article
Publication date: 23 August 2011

Joana Geraldi, Harvey Maylor and Terry Williams

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to operations management (OM) practice contingency research by describing the complexity of projects. Complexity is recognised…

Downloads
7869

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to operations management (OM) practice contingency research by describing the complexity of projects. Complexity is recognised as a key independent (contingent) variable that impacts on many subsequent decisions in the practice of managing projects.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents a systematic review of relevant literature and synthesises an integrated framework for assessing the complexities of managing projects.

Findings

This framework comprises five dimensions of complexity – structural, uncertainty, dynamics, pace and socio‐political complexity. These five dimensions present individuals and organisations with choices about how they respond to each type of complexity, in terms of business case, strategic choice, process choice, managerial capacity and competencies.

Originality/value

The contribution of this paper is to provide a clarification to the epistemology of complexity, to demonstrate complexity as a lived experience for project managers, and offer a common language for both practitioners and future empirical studies considering the individual or organisational response to project complexities. The work also demonstrates an application of systematic review in OM research.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 31 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Article
Publication date: 23 January 2009

Joana G. Geraldi

The purpose of this paper is to present the key findings of a doctoral thesis aimed at exploring how multi‐project companies reconcile order (efficiency, control, clarity…

Downloads
902

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present the key findings of a doctoral thesis aimed at exploring how multi‐project companies reconcile order (efficiency, control, clarity) and chaos (creativity, trust, uncertainty, ambiguity).

Design/methodology/approach

The research was focused on multi‐project firms in general and CoPS (Complex Products and Systems) producers in particular (companies involved usually as main contractors in construction and engineering projects). It followed three phases: Exploratory phase (literature review and interviews), Conceptualisation phase (abductive elaboration of the model based on field and longitudinal studies in a multi‐project firm), and Validation phase (deductive validation of the model through multi‐case study).

Findings

The thesis proposes a model to map order and chaos of companies, departments, projects or people based on the complexity faced by the tasks and the flexibility of the organizational structure to deal with it. The analysis of how departments moved in this map led to several findings, such as in the case of mis‐balance, higher flexibility is preferable to excessive control.

Practical implications

The model provides project practitioners with a tool to evaluate and make sense of the degree of necessary project flexibility, and how this can and should change across the project and disciplines.

Originality/value

This paper assists practitioners and academics to reflect on organisational structures of multi‐project companies, how these vary over time and how to avoid the bureaucratisation or the chaotification of structures.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 2 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 13 September 2011

Downloads
112

Abstract

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 4 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

To view the access options for this content please click here
Article
Publication date: 7 September 2012

Tuomas Ahola and Andrew Davies

The purpose of this paper is to scrutinize the influence of the highly cited Organization Theory and Project Management on consequent project research and to highlight the…

Downloads
2284

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to scrutinize the influence of the highly cited Organization Theory and Project Management on consequent project research and to highlight the key contributions of the book, how it has affected consequent project research and to identify areas that could be further explored in future research.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper takes the form of a book review and literature analysis.

Findings

It is found that the book offers insights to elaborating the salient characteristics of large, complex and uncertain projects. It identifies the underlying theories and concepts to improve our understanding of the three main issues: the sources of uncertainty in large engineering intensive projects; management and governance approaches utilized to tackle uncertainty; and project routines and innovation. Some of these insights have later been acknowledged by project scholars focusing topics such as project governance and the management of uncertainty in projects.

Practical implications

The book offers several insights and lessons to scholars and practitioners working with large engineering intensive projects.

Originality/value

The contribution of the book is not used to its full potential in project research. The paper's identification of the book's key insights should be useful for both scholars and practitioners.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 5 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Article
Publication date: 7 September 2012

Kristian Kreiner

Kristian Kreiner is one of the co‐authors of Projektledning i en ofulständig värld. The purpose of this paper (commentary) is to reiterate and update a few of the…

Downloads
865

Abstract

Purpose

Kristian Kreiner is one of the co‐authors of Projektledning i en ofulständig värld. The purpose of this paper (commentary) is to reiterate and update a few of the fundamental tenets on which the original text was based. The purpose is also to argue that the need to challenge conventional project management thinking is still pressing today.

Design/methodology/approach

This commentary highlights two ideas and makes one plea for future research.

Findings

Project managers must bridge two notions of a project: one focussing on some desired future state which can guide current, contingent action, and the other one focussing on the conscious design and planning of social action to enable efficient, collaborative achievements. In practice, project managers face a dilemma in having to encourage both behavioural flexibility (adaptability) and behavioural rigidity (discipline). Secondly, project managers face conditions of complexity, uncertainty, and ambiguity. Conventionally, such conditions are made to signal poor project management, but they are often managerial premises rather than problematic outcomes.

Research limitations/implications

We need to theorize project management under imperfect, but realistic circumstances in which complexity, uncertainty, and ambiguity are central. One way to start may be to reject the notion that good project management is equivalent to good planning of processes and responsibilities. Rather, we should search for intelligent ways of using plans which necessarily will be rendered inadequate and imperfect by change and turbulence.

Originality/value

The plea delivered in the paper is to change our academic focus from devising optimal ways of planning and organizing projects to a search for more intelligent ways of exploiting plans and organizational forms that are, by definition, inadequate and imperfect.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 5 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Article
Publication date: 7 September 2012

Malin H. Näsholm

The purpose of this paper is to report on a thesis on global careers; a topic relevant to many project managers working internationally. The main purpose of the thesis was…

Downloads
770

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to report on a thesis on global careers; a topic relevant to many project managers working internationally. The main purpose of the thesis was to contribute to the understanding of global careers through applying an identity construction perspective on narratives of global careerists' working lives.

Design/methodology/approach

Through a narrative approach, 20 interviews with Swedish global careerists were analyzed and comparison of two types of global careerists was made – repeat expatriates and international itinerants.

Findings

The repeat expatriates and international itinerants are shown to have different patterns in their identity construction and there are differences in their career orientations, in their identifications with the organizations they work for, with their careers and with what they do. They also differ in how they identify with their home country and culture and the countries and cultures in which they live. Circumstances such as the type of location, the time abroad, and if the work abroad is perceived as temporary, are significant in their identity construction.

Practical implications

Both organizations and individuals benefit from understanding the implications of such careers. The results of this study can lead to the development of HRM practices to attract and maintain the relationship with these individuals and draw on their skills.

Originality/value

By considering individuals' subjective experiences of global careers through an identity construction perspective, new understanding can be reached on individuals undergoing multiple transitions over the course of their careers.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 5 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Article
Publication date: 7 September 2012

Monique Aubry and Sylvain Lenfle

The purpose of this paper is to revisit Christophe Midler's contribution through L'auto qui n'existait pas (The car that did not exist), first published in 1993. The paper…

Downloads
1096

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to revisit Christophe Midler's contribution through L'auto qui n'existait pas (The car that did not exist), first published in 1993. The paper summarizes and examines the main themes of the book based on current knowledge and ends with suggestions for future research opportunities.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is grounded in an in‐depth analysis of Midler's book and a one‐hour interview with him.

Findings

Midler argues that projectification is not a temporary managerial fashion; quite the contrary. At Renault, he witnessed a profound industrial transformation founded on collective learning. Central to this transformation was the establishment of project management as an engine of renewal within the permanent organisation.

Practical implications

Revisiting Midler's work on projectification generates new insights into understanding the current situation confronting organisations in all industries as they evolve in their approach to creativity and innovation.

Originality/value

Two original facets of Midler's seminal work still influence the field of project management. First, he provided a global understanding of the creative organisation. He described, analysed and explained how an organisation reinvents itself, not only in terms of project management, but more globally, from a permanent organisation perspective. Recent research developments focus on project‐oriented organisations, program and portfolio management, organisational project management, and others. Midler's work should be more widely known and referenced for its capacity to conceptualise what simultaneously happens in multiple, concurrent, organisational terms as a project is carried out (e.g. financial, commercial, technological and career development). Second, Midler conducted a study from within an organisation for four years. In this respect, he could be seen as a precursor of recent project management research practices.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 5 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

Keywords

1 – 10 of 28