Rethinking researching project management: Understanding the reality of project management careers

Lloyd-Walker, Beverley, French, Erica L., & Crawford, Lynn (2016) Rethinking researching project management: Understanding the reality of project management careers. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 9(4), pp. 903-930.

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  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.

Impact and interest:

1 citations in Scopus
1 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 98894
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Uncertainty, Opportunity, New Organizational Structures, Project Management Careers, Temporary Organizations
DOI: 10.1108/IJMPB-04-2016-0033
ISSN: 1753-8378
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Organisational Planning and Management (150312)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 Emerald Group Publishing Inc
Deposited On: 18 Sep 2016 23:20
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2017 13:01

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