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Publication Detail
Cleland and King: project management and the systems approach
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Morris PWG
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    634, 642
  • Journal:
    International Journal of Managing Projects in Business
  • Volume:
  • Issue:
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to review Cleland and King's Systems Analysis and Project Management, first published in 1968. Design/methodology/approach – The paper takes the form of a review of the book in its historical context and with relevance to its role in establishing project management as a discipline. Findings – The book is a classic but in retrospect it has some short-comings. These vary from lack of critique of the material to ignoring several of the issues that research shows (and showed at the time) that managers of projects and programs need to address. Had these been covered, the discipline might have been better articulated academically and professionally (which would have been useful given that the PMBOK Guide® was being formulated in the early 1980s). Research limitations/implications – The systems approach that informed the book, and the whole defence-aerospace program and project world of the second half of the twentieth century, should be critically re-examined (for example jointly with Geels' transition theory) in terms of its relevancy to the short, medium and long-terms challenges now confronting society and the contribution that project, program and portfolio management can make to addressing these issues. Originality/value – The paper shows that Cleland and King's book is immensely important as an early exposition on project management and is quite original.
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