Beyond the positivist mirror : towards a project management 'Gnosis'

Bredillet, Christophe (2004) Beyond the positivist mirror : towards a project management 'Gnosis'. In International Research Network for Organizing by Projects-IRNOP VI, Turku, Finland.

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This paper aims to clarify the foundations of the discipline of project management (PM). Historically, PM has evolved from a conceptual approach based on a positivist paradigm. The author questions the appropriateness of such foundations for the kind of project management which claims to deal with complex problems. To answer this question, a brief history of project management emphasizes key concepts useful to the discussion. Comprehensive definitions of knowledge, competencies, performance and knowledge management are reviewed to provide a better understanding of the project environment in terms of its present positivist epistemological position. This paper explores the tensions and paradoxes encountered in PM practice, when set within the boundaries of a normative approach; it also highlights the polysemic nature of PM, for which an extended framework is proposed. Dialectic, qualitative and interpretative aspects of PM are presented alongside its quantitative body of Knowledge. The author finally introduces an innovative overview of project management, set in the greater context of the learning organization. Implications and applications of this perspective are discussed and lead to the presentation of the MAP metamethod, a systemic practical approach.

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ID Code: 49502
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: project management, epistemology, theory, ontology
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Business and Management not elsewhere classified (150399)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Civil Engineering & Built Environment
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2004 IRNOP VI Conference
Deposited On: 04 Apr 2012 00:03
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2012 08:39

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