The Project as a Social System
Asia-Pacific Perspectives on Project Management
Edited by Henry Linger and Jill Owen
In recent years research initiatives in the field of project management have accelerated and are now pursued across many disciplinary fields and a vast range of project types, ranging from construction to organisational change and new product development. This diversity of research into phenomena within the ‘project’ context suggests the dynamism of and progress within this field of study, and its potential to contribute to scholarly knowledge within a range of disciplinary areas outside of project management itself, including organisational studies, knowledge management and organisational learning.
A prominent feature in current project management research is an emphasis on the important mediating influence of context on project performance and operational effectiveness. This shift in focus constitutes a notable divergence within project management from traditional concerns with technical processes. Indeed, many researchers and authors identify projects as primarily social constructs, where sense-making and adaptive behaviours are required to accommodate local contexts, dynamics and personal attributes.
The inaugural Asia Pacific Research Conference on Project Management was held in February 2010 at Monash University Australia. The conference theme was ‘The project as a social system’ and brought together a wide ranging group of project management researchers, primarily from the Asia-Pacific region but also from Europe. This theme encapsulated and encouraged contributions from researchers on diverse social- human- and context-centred phenomena within the project based environment. The papers presented in this book reflect the richness of this developing intellectual area in highlighting how projects interrelate with their social and contextual environments.
About the editors
Dr Jill Owen is a key player in the teaching and research of Project Management within the School of Business at University of New South Wales, Canberra Campus. Her research focuses on the project as a vehicle for organising work and on the role of knowledge based practices and informal processes in influencing how an organisation operates. This complements the contemporary shift of emphasis from the traditional focus on the technical processes of projects to the idea of projects as primarily social constructs that can be considered as social systems. Jill has published in refereed journals and conferences at both the national and international level.
Dr Henry Linger is Deputy Director of the Centre for Organisational and Social Informatics (COSI) and the Knowledge Management Research Program (KMRP) in the Faculty of Information Technology at Monash University. He is also a Research Associate at the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO), contributing to research in social learning and organisational transformation. Henry has a Bachelor of Engineering degree and a PhD in Knowledge Management. He conducts research in the area of knowledge work, knowledge management, organisational learning and the design of ICT systems to support such activity. His research involves national and international collaborations and has been conducted across a broad range of domains including defence, meteorology, epidemiology, immunology and clinical and management aspects of healthcare. His current research focuses on knowledge-based practices managing emergent issues in complex projects; the development of dynamic capabilities for adaptive organisations; and the application of knowledge management to climate change policy development and implementation.
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