Directions for future research in project management: The main findings of a UK government-funded research network
Published on Nov 1, 2006in International Journal of Project Management4.69
· DOI :10.1016/j.ijproman.2006.08.009
In 2003 the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) agreed to fund a research network – Rethinking Project Management – to define a research agenda aimed at enriching and extending the subject of project management beyond its current conceptual foundations. The main argument for the proposed Network highlighted the growing critiques of project management theory and the need for new research in relation to the developing practice. Being the first paper of this Special Issue, this paper presents the Network’s main findings: a framework of five directions aimed at developing the field intellectually in the following areas: project complexity, social process, value creation, project conceptualisation, and practitioner development. These areas are based on a comprehensive analysis of all the research material produced over a 2-year period and represent the dominant pattern of ideas to emerge from the Network as a whole. They are not meant to be the agenda for future research, but an agenda to inform and stimulate current and future research activity in developing the field of project management. Methodologically, the five research directions represent a synthesis of ideas for how the current conceptual base needs to develop in relation to the developing world of practice. As well as presenting the main findings, the paper also presents a practical research framework aimed at researchers working in the field. The intended audience for the paper is the project management research community, and also researchers in other management areas for whom the Network’s findings might be of interest.