Opening up the space of project management

Bradley Rolfe, Steven Segal

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contribution


Edmund Husserl maintains that phenomenological thinking does not begin with the theoretical roof but with the foundations of immediate and concrete experience. Martin Heidegger claims that to begin with immediate experience is to think in moments of disruption or disturbance of the everyday. Using these positions as a starting point, this paper argues for a phenomenologically-based approach to project management that addresses the immediate and concrete experience of project managers. In doing so it attempts to address an over-emphasis on the universalised and abstracted modes of theorising that currently dominate project management practice. Eugene Gendlin's psychotherapeutic technique of 'focusing' provides a practical example of the phenomenological approach in action through a critical dialogue between researcher and practitioner, the co-authors of this paper. This paper argues that the insight derived from such an approach can do far more for a project manager in terms of their relationship to their work, the meaning they derive from it, and their effectivess in the role, than a dedicated adherence to the strictures of traditional project management practice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 6th International Critical Management Studies Conference
PublisherCritical Management Studies
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 2009
EventInternational Critical Managment Studies Conference (6th : 2009) - Warwick, UK
Duration: 13 Jul 200915 Jul 2009


ConferenceInternational Critical Managment Studies Conference (6th : 2009)
CityWarwick, UK

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