Published here May 2013.

PART 1 | Search for Basic Project Management Research
Project and Management Dissected | Another Perspective
Technology Management versus Project Management 
A Particularly Helpful Reference | A Useful Postscript | Summary


In Part 1, we drew attention to a most interesting paper entitled Managing the Institutional Context for Projects [1] by Peter Morris and Joana Geraldi [2] published by the Project Management Institute ("PMI") in its Project Management Journal ("PMJ") of December 2011. As we said, the paper is clear, well researched, well-argued and well presented. In all, if you do not have a copy of that PMJ, it is well worth obtaining a copy of the paper from PMI and studying it closely.

In Part 1 of this paper we examined the concept of "organizational levels" described in the Morris and Geraldi paper. In this Part 2 we will raise the need for basic research in project management.

Paper abstract

As background for our observations that follow, the Abstract to the authors' paper states:

"Project management is widely seen as delivering undertakings on time, on budget, and on scope. This conceptualization fails, however, to address the "front end"[3] [of a project] and its management. Addressing the front end moves the discipline to a second, more strategic level. This article proposes a third level of conceptualization: the institutional level, where management is focused on creating the conditions to support and foster projects, both in its parent organization and its external environment. Management is done for and on the project rather than in or to it. We show that management at this level offers an enlarged research agenda and improvement in performance."[4] (Emphasis added.)

Last month we discussed the concept of "Levels" and their place relative to the "front end" of projects. This month we tackle the question of project management research as implied by the authors' reference to "an enlarged research agenda".


1.Morris, Peter W. G., & Joana Geraldi, Managing the Institutional Context for Projects, Project Management Journal, published by the Project Management Institute, Philadelphia, USA, December 2011, pp20-32
2. Professor Dr. Peter Morris and Dr. Joana Geraldi are both from the Bartlett School of Construction and Project Management, University College London, London, UK
3. "Front end" refers to that part of the project life span that is at the very beginning, or even just before it, depending on when the organization responsible for the project, deems it to "start".
4. Morris, et al., p20
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