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Article
Publication date: 5 September 2016

Derek Walker and Beverley Lloyd-Walker

The purpose of this paper is to explore the extent of the continuing influence on project management (PM) research directions of rethinking project management over the…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the extent of the continuing influence on project management (PM) research directions of rethinking project management over the last ten years.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors chose a qualitative research approach that involved reading all papers published in the International Journal of Managing Project in Business since its commencement in 2008. Content analysis was performed on these papers to allow axial coding of key article content influence themes.

Findings

The research identified the strength, over time, of the three research interest clusters on the PM research agenda and resultant changes in the PM paradigm. The five directions put forward by the rethinking PM agenda and other researchers ten years ago have continued to influence the PM research agenda.

Originality/value

Findings provide a better understanding the changes in PM research directions since rethinking PM, the increased breadth and sophistication of PM research in general, and future research directions.

Details

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

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 5 September 2016

Mattias Jacobsson, Rolf A. Lundin and Anders Söderholm

The purpose of this paper is to describe and analyze important parts of the contemporary development of project research and to outline plausible and desirable directions…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe and analyze important parts of the contemporary development of project research and to outline plausible and desirable directions for the future.

Design/methodology/approach

This is accomplished through a review of the “Scandinavian School of Project Management” and “Rethinking Project Management,” which is complemented with a set of questions distributed to 27 active researchers within the project research field from around the world.

Findings

Through the analysis the authors show how the two streams have more similarities than differences, despite the fact that they have been initiated in very different contexty 8ts and ways. The authors could also conclude that the “Scandinavian School” appears stronger on the international scene than in the Nordic countries, and that general perception of what the “school” stands for has changed and been blurred with time. Based on the analysis the authors also proposed the need for a broad, more coherent research effort in terms of a multi-perspective research program on projects and temporary organizations. The essence of this would be: an action research profile to improve practice and foresee the future; a combined research focus on institutional change and project practice to ensure both theoretical and empirical progress; and a strong global perspective to further enrich both theory and practice.

Research limitations/implications

This research has obvious limitations in terms of empirical scope and response selection. The questionnaire results should therefore be interpreted with care.

Originality/value

The value of this research lies in its reflective nature and the proposed trajectory of the project research domain.

Details

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

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 5 September 2016

Darren Dalcher

The purpose of this paper is to identify the major trends and contributions published in the Advances in Project Management book series and place them in the context of…

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1154

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify the major trends and contributions published in the Advances in Project Management book series and place them in the context of the findings and outputs from the Rethinking Project Management Network. A key aim is to address the concerns of project practitioners and explore the alternatives to the assumed linear rationality of project thinking. The paper further offers a guided catalogue to some of the key ideas, concepts and approaches offered to practitioners through the series.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a conceptual review paper that reflects on the main areas covered in a book series aimed at improving modern project practice and explores the implications on practice, knowledge and the relationship between research and practice. The topics are addressed through the prism of the Rethinking Project Management Network findings.

Findings

The paper explores new advances in project management practice aligning them with key trends and perspectives identified as part of the Rethinking Project Management initiative. It further delineates new areas of expertise augmenting those mentioned in the disciplinary canons of knowledge.

Research limitations/implications

The paper offers a new understanding of how knowledge is created in, for and by practice. Improving the relationship between theory and practice may demand a new appreciation of the role of practitioners and the value of their reflection in context.

Practical implications

The primary implication is to explore the new directions and perspectives covered by authors in the Advances in Project Management series, and identify main areas and topics that feature in the emerging discourse about project management practice. In addition, new conceptualisations of the role of practitioners in making sense of project realities are offered and considered.

Originality/value

New areas of interest and activity are identified and examined, offering a catalogue of new writing and perspectives in project practice. Reflection on the relationship between research and practice encourages fresh thinking about the crucial role of practitioner knowledge and reflection.

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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…

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1047

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

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Article
Publication date: 5 September 2016

Per Svejvig and Sara Grex

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the similarities and differences between the Danish rethinking project management (RPM) initiative named Project Half Double (PHD…

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1232

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the similarities and differences between the Danish rethinking project management (RPM) initiative named Project Half Double (PHD) and the RPM research stream. The paper furthermore discusses how PHD and RPM can inspire each other in research and practice.

Design/methodology/approach

This is an empirical paper based on collaborative research between industry and researchers. PHD has developed principles and practices driven by industry consisting of ten leading stars and the impact, leadership and flow (ILF) method. The ten leading stars and ILF method are compared to RPM research. The comparative analysis is then used in a broader discussion about how the research-driven RPM initiative can enrich the industry-driven PHD initiative and vice versa depicted in a theoretical understanding of translations between global ideas and local implementations.

Findings

RPM and PHD share a focus on value creation, social processes, learning and complexity while PHD also focusses on lean thinking, agile thinking, front-end loading and leadership, which are largely topics beyond the RPM research stream.

Originality/value

The paper presents how stakeholders from Danish industry interpret the actuality in projects and how they want to move forward with a radically different project paradigm. This is expressed in the ten leading stars and ILF method, which is compared and contrasted to the existing RPM literature providing a foundation for further development of both RPM and PHD.

Details

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

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 5 September 2016

Lavagnon A. Ika and Jonas Söderlund

The purpose of this paper is to review and analyze Albert Hirschman’s landmark book Development Projects Observed, share its insights for managing big projects, discuss…

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1060

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review and analyze Albert Hirschman’s landmark book Development Projects Observed, share its insights for managing big projects, discuss its theoretical implications and how it may contribute to the current understanding of project behavior, project management (PM), and in what way it may encourage the rethinking of PM.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on an in-depth analysis of Hirschman’s book. The paper draws on the writings of Jeremy Adelman who authored Hirschman’s biography, Cass Sunstein and Michele Alacevich who, respectively, wrote the foreword and afterword of the Brookings Institution classic published in 2014. It also profits from the work of Robert Picciotto who first met Hirschman in 1964, and Bent Flyvbjerg who recently offered a test of validity for Hirschman’s “Hiding Hand” principle.

Findings

Albert Hirschman was an original thinker and, the authors argue in many ways, a father of PM scholarship. His ideas had profound implications for social sciences and lasting influence in academy, policy, and practice. Although, to a great extent based on studies of projects, his ideas have had surprisingly little impact on modern writings of PM. This paper contributes to amending this weakness in current literature on PM. The authors identify in Hirschman’s book a set of core ideas that possess analytical power for explaining problems in contemporary PM. They include the principle of the Hiding Hand, the power of context, the role of complexity and uncertainty, the unexpected project effects, project traits, and latitudes/disciplines. For all his work and way of research, the authors conclude that Hirschman is not only an early behavioral theorist in PM but equally an early rethinker of PM.

Originality/value

This is the first paper that offers a discussion of Hirschman’s ideas on contemporary projects, how to understand them, their behavior, including the principle of the Hiding Hand and other important nuggets of wisdom in his research such as the significance of project traits, latitudes, and disciplines. The authors discuss in what respects these ideas may enlighten PM practice and theory. This paper also conveys the novel idea that Hirschman is an early rethinker of PM.

Details

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

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 5 September 2016

Michelle Turner

The Rethinking Project Management (RPM) research agenda has been influential in multiple domains. These include industry, education and research. In response to the call…

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1610

Abstract

Purpose

The Rethinking Project Management (RPM) research agenda has been influential in multiple domains. These include industry, education and research. In response to the call for papers for this special issue, the purpose of this paper is to consider RPM with a particular focus on the human side of project management.

Design/methodology/approach

Prior to joining academia, the author worked as a project manager for 15 years. This provided an opportunity for the author to consider the influence of RPM from three viewpoints: project practitioner; project educator; and researcher in project management.

Findings

Resources originating from project management bodies of knowledge and professional associations relating to the human side of project management are limited. This serves to emphasize the importance of the RPM-inspired research and its influence on the teaching and education of project professionals. The RPM agenda has also served to endorse a research agenda which is wide ranging and one that seeks to better understand and support the human element of project management.

Originality/value

RPM has encouraged researchers to consider project management beyond classical project management and the iron triangle of time, cost and quality. In doing so, there has emerged a rich and diverse body of knowledge which underpins the human element of project management and positively impacts the skills development of project professionals and the practice of project management.

Details

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

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 5 September 2016

Beverley Lloyd-Walker, Erica French and Lynn Crawford

The purpose of this paper is to identify issues in the long-term development of project workers, their career paths, their contribution to organizational success and their…

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3539

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify issues in the long-term development of project workers, their career paths, their contribution to organizational success and their need for equity of opportunity. The long-term development of project workers, their career paths and their contribution to organizational success is explored.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative research design using semi-structured interviews was employed to gain an understanding of social and human issues related to careers in project management (PM). By researching the lived experiences and feelings of those pursuing a career in PM the aim was to gain insight into the career journeys and experiences of practicing project managers.

Findings

Those who choose to pursue a career in PM have the personal characteristics and sufficiently high levels of self-efficacy to deal effectively with the uncertainty inherent in the nature of projects and of project-based employment.

Research limitations/implications

Participants were drawn from current project practitioners. As a result, the views of those who have worked on projects and chosen not to continue their career in the area have not been gathered.

Practical implications

Predictions are that there will be a continuing demand for project managers with the capabilities required to deliver successful projects. The challenge for organizations is to create an environment that will encourage greater numbers of people to embrace the uncertainty of project. The findings reported provide insight into how organizations might attract, develop and retain the project expertise they require for success.

Originality/value

This research provides further understanding into the lived experience of project managers, with a focus on those who have unexpectedly found themselves pursuing a career in PM.

Details

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

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Article
Publication date: 23 June 2021

Constance Elizabeth Kampf, Charlotte J. Brandt and Christopher G. Kampf

The purpose is to explore how the process of action research (AR) can support building legitimacy and organizational learning in innovation project management and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose is to explore how the process of action research (AR) can support building legitimacy and organizational learning in innovation project management and portfolio practices in merger contexts.

Design/methodology/approach

Meta-reflection on method issues in Action Research through an action research case study with an innovation group during an organizational change process. This case demonstrates an example of an action research cycle focused on building practitioner legitimacy rather than problem-solving.

Findings

Key findings include (1) demonstrating how AR can be used for building legitimacy through visualizing the innovation process, and embedding those visuals in top management practices of the organization; and (2) demonstrating how AR can work as an organizational learning tool in merger contexts.

Research limitations/implications

This study focuses on an action research cooperation during a two-and-a-half-year period. Thus, findings offer the depth of a medium term case study. The processes of building legitimacy represent this particular case, and can be investigated in other organizational contexts to see the extent to which these issues can be generalized.

Practical implications

For researchers, this paper offers an additional type of AR cycle to consider in their research design which can be seen as demonstrating a form of interplay between practitioner action and organizational level legitimacy. For practitioners, this paper demonstrates a connection between legitimacy and organizational learning in innovation contexts. The discussion of how visuals were co-created and used for building legitimacy for an innovation process that differs from the standard stage gate model demonstrates how engaging in AR research can contribute to developing visuals as resources for building legitimacy and organizational learning based on connections between theory and practice.

Originality/value

This case rethinks AR practice for innovation project management contexts to include legitimacy and organizational learning. This focus on legitimacy building from organizational learning and knowledge conversion contributes to our understanding of the soft side of innovation project management. Legitimacy is demonstrated to be a key concern for innovation project management practices.

Details

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

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 15 June 2012

Janice Thomas, Stella George and Pamela Buckle Henning

The purpose of this paper is to consider how multiple logic systems employed by project managers lead to manifold understandings of two foundational project management

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to consider how multiple logic systems employed by project managers lead to manifold understandings of two foundational project management constructs (“project” and “planning”) that in turn influence both the practice of project management and project outcomes.

Design/methodology/approach

Largely conceptual in nature, this paper focuses on the language project managers use to make sense of projects and plans, seeking to get beyond the surface recitation of discourse to the underlying logic systems that influence practice. The discussion is illustrated with stories of practice, collected through interpretive phenomenological interviews with project managers perceived by their peers to demonstrate special skill or knowledge in successfully delivering projects, and reference to project management doctrine embedded in professional standards.

Findings

Expert project managers use multiple thinking styles to adapt their practice to emergent project issues. While instrumental rationality helps project managers focus on how to do things, other rationalities, particularly those labeled non‐rational, help them to decide what to do and why to do it. Expert judgment and practice supported by intuitive, holistic, and relational thinking allows project managers to navigate a sophisticated journey from ambiguity to accomplishment.

Research limitations/implications

This paper illustrates how practice research can deconstruct interpretive phenomenological interviews to get beyond identifying the “what”, or empirical evidence, of practice to explore unique individual habitus that inform each individual's practice. Understanding the actions of expert project managers navigating between prescribed project management doctrine and their own praxis opens a space for us to rethink how we research, teach, and talk about project management.

Originality/value

This paper provides insight into the value and implications of practice‐based research by illustrating: how research grounded in practice identifies and raises more complex questions than professional doctrine currently reflects; and how simplifications utilizing duality as a means of theorizing (i.e. “hard” versus “soft”, rational versus non‐rational, etc.) is neither useful nor reflected in expert practice.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

Keywords

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