Project management as an inter-disciplinary and integrative practice

Project management, as a field of practice and aspiring discipline has enjoyed strong professional formation, driven by active associations of practitioners. In promoting project management as a discipline in its own right, these practitioners and their associations have worked to delimit it from other disciplines and define it through practice standards. As a result project management is practice rich and theory poor. Although the practice standards, based on the espoused theories of practitioners with backgrounds primarily in engineering, are useful and widely used, project management has few, if any, theories of its own. It draws upon theories from other disciplines including engineering, social, organisational, management and natural sciences, operations research, the arts and the humanities.

Recent research trends in the management of projects have drawn attention to the need to recognise the inter-disciplinary and perhaps trans-disciplinary nature of projects, focusing more on projects and temporary organising as a context than on project management as a unitary and singular set of practices. The challenges of complex projects have led to increased interest in systems thinking and complexity theory. New perspectives are offered by recognition that projects in areas such as the film industry and emergency response are managed effectively but largely without reference to mainstream project management standards. Increasing desire by researchers to test theories from a wide range of disciplines in project contexts are driving the re-integration of project management with its parent disciplines.

This video provides access to the useful practices of project management within a broader context of the inter-disciplinary and integrative practices required to manage projects.

Video (30 minutes): “Managing Projects as an Inter-disciplinary and Integrative Practice” presented by Lynn Crawford was a plenary talk at the First Global Conference on Research Integration and Implementation held in Canberra in Australia, online and at three co-conferences (Lueneburg in Germany, The Hague in the Netherlands and Montevideo in Uruguay), 8-11 September 2013. The Microsoft PowerPoint presentation from the video is available as a  PDF (448KB).



Posted: November 2014
Last modified: November 2014