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A critical argument in favour of theoretical pluralism: project failure and the many and varied limitations of project management

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journal contribution
posted on 08.06.2017, 09:14 by Dan Sage, Andrew Dainty, Naomi Brookes
In project management, failure is often assumed to be evidence of deficient management: a problem that can be overcome by better management. Drawing on qualitative research within UK construction projects we examine how four different theoretical approaches (positivism, structural Marxism, interpretivism and actor–network theory) all challenge this managerial assumption. Each theoretical perspective enables a specific analysis of empirical data that critiques the notion that project failures are easily, simply, or largely, associated with the failure of project management. In so doing, our pluralist analysis reveals the social and political contextualization of performance in project management. We thus conclude by proposing that practitioner and scholarly concerns with project failure (and success), can actively contribute to attempts to reflect upon various matters of political concern as developed within the Making Projects Critical community, and by extension Critical Management Studies. Thus, we propose greater interaction between critical and mainstream project research communities.

History

School

  • Business and Economics

Department

  • Business

Published in

International Journal of Project Management

Volume

32

Issue

4

Pages

544 - 555

Citation

SAGE, D., DAINTY, A. and BROOKES, N., 2014. A critical argument in favor of theoretical pluralism: project failure and the many and varied limitations of project management. International Journal of Project Management, 32 (4), pp.544-555.

Publisher

© Elsevier, APM and IPMA

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date

2014

ISSN

0263-7863

Language

en

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