Disciplining the professional: The case of Project Management

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Despite its rapid growth in recent years, Project Management has received very little critical attention, particularly when compared to the more 'hyped' managerial fashions such as TQM (cf. Wilkinson and Willmott, 1995) and BPR (cf. Grey and Mitev, 1995; Grint, 1994). My intention in this paper is to critically examine the ongoing construction of Project Management as a professional discipline in modern organizations. Drawing on an understanding of 'discipline' based in Foucauldian work, I will briefly trace the historical construction of Project Management as a form of managerial knowledge, outlining the key models and techniques which make up contemporary Project Management. Through an empirical study of the articulation and reproduction of Project Management within two Financial Services institutions, the everyday construction of Project Management as an 'objective' and 'abstract' body of knowledge will be described. I then contrast this with the embodied and power-laden operation of Project Management, with disciplinary effects not only on those employees whose work is restructured in line with Project Management principles but equally upon self-professed Project Management professionals themselves.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)803-821
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Management Studies
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2002


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