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Literature Review

The concept of modern Project Management as a field originated in the late 1950s to early 1960s (Codas, 1987). The proliferation of information about planning and control methods, as well as literature addressing aspects related to project management such as human resource management, risk management and leadership, necessitated the creation of a structured work containing the best practices available. The Project Management Institute (PMI) took on this initiative and the result was the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) presented for the first time in 1987 (Packendorff, 1995).

Rethinking Project Management

PMBOK became a standard after 1987. Nevertheless in the 1990s,practitioners and researchers started to question the universal techniques and abstract principles presented by PMBOK, based on the considerable amount of project failures in both public and private sectors (Cicmil and Hodgson, 2006).
One of the earlier contributors to question these universal techniques was Packendorff (1995), who argued that there are three problems:
1. The underlying assumption of PMBOK that project knowledge is applicable to most types of projects in most types of organisations. It assumes that even though the outcomes of projects are different (as an example the outcome of a construction project may be a building and that of a software development project an application), the process groups of the project (initiation, planning, executing, controlling and closing) are the same in all projects. Packendorff (1995) argues that different projects require different approaches, teams, project managers, planning and evaluation methods and that the project as a unique undertaking has not received the required attention in research literature. He notes that valid observations from case specific studies are ignored in favour of observations that can be generalised to the de facto standards proposed in bodies of knowledge.
2. The lack of empirical research of projects which involve gaining
knowledge by means of observation or experience. Packendorff (1995) argues that most textbooks and conference papers contain lessons learned from projects that were either successes or failures by highlighting the correct or incorrect use of theory, procedures and approaches as advocated by bodies of knowledge. Empirical evidence and practical experience are rarely used in project management handbooks and research findings, as these most often cannot be applied to the ‘universal project’. But projects still continue to fail and the reason for the failure of projects is not covered by the books available to project managers. Packendorff (1995) suggests that empirical studies must take place to understand the actual realities of a project as this sharing will be of more use to the project management practitioner.
3. Projects should not be researched merely in terms of their ability to deliver a certain undertaking, but emphasis should be placed on the project as a temporary organisation with its own culture, team motivation and processes.
Based on the above, Packendorff in summary suggests that project management research should move from:
“…prescriptive, normative theory, grounded in ideal models of project planning and control…(to that of) …descriptive theory, grounded in empirical narrative studies on human interaction in projects. Research (should be) undertaken as comparative case-studies.” (1995:326).Hodgson and Cicmil (2006) also challenge the concept that all projects can be managed in a universal and consistent way as promoted by PMBOK and highlight that it is creating a dangerous perception—that the best practices offered are universal laws of project management application. Morris, Jamieson and Shepherd (2006) expand further on this and note that too much belief is put on PMBOK in its ability to guarantee performance. Implementing and accepting these best practices do not necessarily ensure project success or prevent failure. It is evident in current reports and studies indicating that only 16% of IT projects are generally considered successful by the project stakeholders. This is creating a disparity of what the bodies of knowledge offer vs. its effectiveness in delivering (Cicmil and Hodgson, 2006). Delisle and Olson (2004) investigated this claim that many projects still fail despite the availability of better methodologies. The question remains: “What could cause these
failures?”.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 
STATEMENT 
TABLE OF CONTENTS 
LIST OF TABLES 
LIST OF FIGURES 
1. INTRODUCTION 
1.1. RESEARCH CONTEXT 
1.2. RESEARCH QUESTION 
1.3. RESEARCH OBJECTIVES 
1.4. ASSUMPTIONS
1.5. DELIMITATIONS 
1.6. IMPORTANCE AND SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY 
1.7. CONTRIBUTION OF THE STUDY IN RELATION TO THE EXISTING BODY OF KNOWLEDGE 
1.8. CLARIFICATION OF CONCEPTS 
1.9. OUTLINE OF THE RESEARCH PROPOSAL
1.10. SUMMARY 
2. LITERATURE REVIEW 
2.1. RETHINKING PROJECT MANAGEMENT 
2.2. PROJECTS AS INSTRUMENTAL PROCESSES
2.2.1 Linear sequence of tasks
2.2.2 Codified knowledge, procedures and techniques
2.2.3 Projects as temporary apolitical production processes
2.2.4 Summary
2.3. PROJECTS AS SOCIAL PROCESSES 
2.3.1 Flux of Events
2.3.2 People and Organisations
2.3.3 Social Networks
2.3.4 Culture and Tribalism
2.3.5 Language and Metaphor
2.4. SUMMARY 
3. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 
3.1. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY THEORY 
3.2. RESEARCH DESIGN 
3.2.1 Research Study Questions
3.2.2 Propositions
3.2.3 Units of analysis
3.2.4 Criteria for interpreting the findings
3.3. THE SAMPLE 
3.4. DATA COLLECTION METHOD
3.5. DATA ANALYSIS 
3.6. VALIDITY AND RELIABILITY
3.6.1 Construct Validity
3.6.2 Internal validity
3.6.3 External validity
3.6.4 Reliability
3.7. LIMITATIONS 
3.8. ETHICAL ISSUES 
3.9. SUMMARY
4. RESEARCH RESULTS 
4.1. PROFILE OF RESPONDENTS 
4.2. PMBOK KNOWLEDGE 
4.3. FLUX OF EVENTS 
4.4. PEOPLE AND ORGANISATIONS
4.5. SOCIAL NETWORKS 
4.6. CULTURE AND TRIBALISM 
4.7. LANGUAGE AND METAPHOR 
4.8. SOCIAL PROCESS
4.9. SUMMARY 
5. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.1. SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
5.2. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.2.1 Flux of events
5.2.2 People and Organisations
5.2.3 Social Networks
5.2.4 Culture and Tribalism
5.2.5 Language and Metaphor
5.3. SUGGESTIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH
6. REFERENCES 
ANNEXURE A: MEASUREMENT INSTRUMENT 

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