What do project management practitioners think governance is? A study on perceptions in Queensland, Australia

McGrath, Stephen Keith and Whitty, Stephen Jonathan (2020) What do project management practitioners think governance is? A study on perceptions in Queensland, Australia. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 13 (5). pp. 961-980. ISSN 1753-8378

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Abstract

Purpose – To determine if there is confusion in governance terminology amongst experienced management
and project management practitioners.

Design/methodology/approach – Practitioner interviews and subsequent analysis.

Findings – Significant differences in governance terminology were found. The participants had nevertheless
arrived at similar operating arrangements for their committees, even though they came from different
segments of different industries and did not agree on the definition of governance. It was possible to develop a
list of working parameters for operation of these committees from their responses. The labelling of committees
associated with governance as steering or decision-making was found to be problematic and various causes/
motivations for the differing definitions of governance having arisen were detected. These ranged from
altruism, through dogmatic belief in particular frameworks, to enhancing career prospects/ego.

Research limitations/implications – The sample came from organisations and industries in one state in
one country. The need for review of governance terminology used in various project management practitioner
reference documents and methodologies was identified.

Practical implications – Projects and business alike can potentially achieve improvements in efficiency and
effectiveness through consistency of terminology and the clarity this brings to governance arrangements and
committee operations.

Social implications – Creation of a unifying feature within the project and management literature, shifting
the understanding of governance and its boundaries and limitations. This will help progress governance from
complexity to simplicity, from an art to an understandable practice, from a concept that has been hijacked for
partisan and political gain to a lean social tool which can be put to use for the benefit of organisations, whether
public, charitable or private.

Originality/value – The value is clarity – resulting in the avoidance of confusion and misunderstanding
together with their consequent waste of time, resources and money.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Accepted version deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Management and Enterprise (1 Jul 2013 - 17 Jan 2021)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Management and Enterprise (1 Jul 2013 - 17 Jan 2021)
Date Deposited: 19 May 2020 03:28
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2020 02:12
Uncontrolled Keywords: governance, project management, project governance, practice based research, governance of projects, IT project, PM theory
Fields of Research (2008): 15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1503 Business and Management > 150312 Organisational Planning and Management
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMPB-09-2018-0180
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/38669

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