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Publication Detail
Understanding Project Management: philosophical and methodological issues
  • Publication Type:
  • Authors:
    Smyth H, Morris P, Cooke-Davies T
  • Publication date:
  • Place of publication:
    Oslo, Norway
  • Status:
  • Name of conference:
    Proceedings of Euram 2006
  • Notes:
    Imported via OAI, 7:32:45 12th Oct 2006
A unified theory of the management of projects does not exist. Projects are context-specific and located in open systems. While this is now widely acknowledged, research methodologies often continue to overlook this. This paper addresses methodological issues that have yet to be resolved in research in the management of projects and evaluates how these have a direct and indirect impact upon practice. We argue that the pursuit of explanations that rely upon identifying general patterns based upon cause and effect marginalises the particular, while a focus upon the particular frustrates the emergence of common patterns, shared meanings and normative recommendations. The paper reviews various epistemological underpinnings to research methodologies, arguing that the realist approach is the only one that sufficiently reflects context while having the explanatory power to identify both the general and particular in ways that are useful to develop the discipline theoretically and to improve practice.
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