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Institutional development, divergence and change in the discipline of project management

This article looks at the challenges of developing project management as an academic discipline. If we conceive of the project management field as not one community of practice, but as several, we are closer to a realistic interpretation of what is needed to consolidate the knowledge base of project management and its status as a discipline. 

Keywords

  • PMBoK
  • MoP
  • Knowledge production

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What does the paper cover?

A number of studies have been conducted into the development of project management. Taken together, they describe the challenges and opportunities of attempting to institutionalise project management as a singular academic discipline.

The potential advantages of developing the subject are:

  • Common practices: Having a set of common practices that would enable a shared understanding of the nature of project management.
  • Communication: Having a shared set of terminology and guidelines which would help communication and knowledge sharing between distinct communities of practice.

Some of the difficulties in achieving this are:

  • Distinct communities of practice approach project management in different ways.
  • Different communities of practice have developed their own standards and guidelines which do not necessarily mirror each other.
  • The limitations of having a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to project management which can be used across all subject disciplines, but may not be suitable for all.
  • The variations between communities of practice in institutional structures, methods and forms of knowledge production that discourage the sharing of methods, knowledge and learning between those communities.

 

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