Reassembling Project Management: An Actor Network Theory Based Supplementary Method to Manage Projects as Social Movemen
Wednesday 19 January 2011, 13:00
LT5, Management School
Abstract: Project Management (PM) is being rethought in light of the continuing prevalence of project failures. A key issue or concern believed to be important when addressing failure is the need to focus on the sociopolitical processes in PM, because of their importance to project issues or contingencies such as complexity, uncertainty, and ambiguity. Such contingencies call for supplementary PM methodologies that embrace and effectively anticipate and manage them.
In response, MTS is proposed as an ANT-based supplementary project management methodology for Mapping, Tracking and Stabilizing actors associations by managing their related contingencies, aiming to improve project and related diffusion outcomes.
MTS uses Latour’s views of enrolment and translation along with Pitch et al. reviewed views on project contingencies and its effects on project outcomes to Map the emerging social movements that are possible from the project outset, Track their evolution as the project evolves, and Stabilize actors’ relations to reach project closure.
It is believed that MTS enhances existing hard PM methodologies by providing practitioners with a new lens to manage projects as social movements by enabling them with three soft operational methods; Mapping, Tracking and Stabilizing.
A quasi-experimental design was used for comparing the performance of two project teams tasked with the implementation of the same IT artefact across four different sites; the treatment team used MTS supplementing the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK – the most widespread PM methodology currently in use), the control team only PMBOK.
Since a quasi-experimental research design allows for external validity and there is strong crossover evidence suggesting a genuine treatment effect, it can be conservatively concluded that MTS might benefit other similar projects within the same organization. Also that the selection of theory (ANT), ANT-based methodology (MTS) and quasi-experimental design is a powerful paradigm potentially useful in developing and testing ANT-based methods.