The importance of ‘process’ in Rethinking Project Management: The story of a UK Government-funded research network

Published on Nov 1, 2006in International Journal of Project Management
· DOI :10.1016/j.ijproman.2006.08.008
Mark Winter10
Estimated H-index: 10
(University of Manchester),
Charles Smith5
Estimated H-index: 5
+ 1 AuthorsSvetlana Cicmil23
Estimated H-index: 23
(University of the West of England)
This paper tells the story of a UK Government-funded research network called Rethinking Project Management, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council between 2004 and 2006. The story is significant because of the considerable attention given to the process of the Network, both the inquiry process of ‘rethinking’ project management, and the broader social process in which the rethinking activity was carried out. In telling this story, the lead organisers explain how the inquiry process was organised as a learning system to enable the Network to ‘learn’ its way to relevant directions for future research, and secondly, how the broader social process was organised and facilitated to create a context for effective interaction between the people involved. A significant challenge in managing the research programme was how to engage the participants in purposeful inquiry, which would serve not only the primary aims of the Network, but would also yield new and interesting insights for the people involved. This paper seeks to explain how the lead organisers addressed this challenge, through a detailed and reflective discussion of how the research programme was organised and facilitated to achieve the Network’s primary aims. In summary, the principal aim in telling this story is to highlight the importance of process in collaborative research activity involving academics and practitioners, in order that other researchers might draw on the experience of this Network.
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