On a new philosophy of project management: an investigation into the prevalence of modern project management by means of an evolutionary framework

Whitty, Stephen Jonathan (2011) On a new philosophy of project management: an investigation into the prevalence of modern project management by means of an evolutionary framework. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 4 (3). pp. 524-533. ISSN 1753-8378


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present an overview of a completed doctoral thesis that focuses on the application of evolutionary theory to various aspects of project management.

Design/methodology/approach – Generally speaking the methods of research are founded on the epistemological framework of co-evolution which regards human values, preferences, artefacts, and behaviours as evolutionary adaptations in the same way one would regard bipedal walking. A conceptual evolutionary (memetic) framework is developed to explore the prevalence of project management concepts, practices, and artefacts in a Darwinian manner.

Findings – The findings of this thesis can be summarised by saying; that we are hardwired for project management as our behaviours and artefacts are encoded across our biology and our culture; that some are drawn to aspects of project management because they get an emotional fix from it; that modern project management is not founded on evidence-based practices, rather it has evolved the way it has for reasons other than that it leads to successful project delivery; that aspects of modern project management reflect the morals and values of our largely Judaeo-Christian culture; and that the various concepts, practices, and artefacts of project management are loaded with local meanings which are selected and passed on to others.

Practical implications – This thesis makes a contribution to the field by developing a new philosophy of project management that is concerned with raising questions, with the assistance of an evolutionary framework, about how one should consider projects and project management, why various concepts, practices and artefacts are more prevalent than others, what are their essential natures and how they are being adapted, and how we might go about progressing project management into the future.

Originality/value – This thesis proposes and advances an evolutionary framework for project management research.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to published version due to publisher copyright policy.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Business and Law - School of Management and Marketing
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2011 07:51
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2014 11:37
Uncontrolled Keywords: emotion; evolution; flow theory; gesture; memetics; project management
Fields of Research : 15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1503 Business and Management > 150311 Organisational Behaviour
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170107 Industrial and Organisational Psychology
22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2203 Philosophy > 220304 Epistemology
Socio-Economic Objective: B Economic Development > 91 Economic Framework > 9102 Microeconomics > 910202 Human Capital Issues
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1108/17538371111144210
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/19345

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