MRS Shadi

Topics: Project management, Knowledge, Management, Knowledge management, Problem solving / Pages: 30 (8327 words) / Published: Oct 20th, 2014
Available online at

International Journal of Project Management 32 (2014) 1423 – 1431 Knowledge formation and learning in the management of projects: A problem solving perspective
Terence Ahern ⁎, Brian Leavy, P.J. Byrne
Dublin City University Business School, Dublin City University, Ireland
Received 8 July 2013; received in revised form 6 February 2014; accepted 13 February 2014
Available online 15 March 2014

In contrast to traditional projects, which are assumed to be fully specified and then executed with little learning anticipated, complex projects cannot be fully specified at the outset and require continuous learning over their life cycles. Nevertheless, the key role of knowledge formation and learning in managing complex projects is under-developed for expanding project capability boundaries to include knowledge uncertainty and indeterminacy. Drawing inspiration from Karl Weick 's enactivist ideas and an empirical study of two organizations that developed project capability for complex projects, the paper develops an integrated view of projects and project management that is grounded in problem solving learning and organizing. More specifically, a project is reconceptualized as ‘a mode of organizing to accomplish a temporary undertaking’ with intrinsic learning. This perspective views complex projects under knowledge uncertainty as learning organizations, with implications for project management theory and practice.
© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. APM and IPMA. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Project management; Complex problem solving; Knowledge formation; Modes of organizing and learning (MOL); Practice

1. Introduction
In traditional project research, even when complex projects cannot be fully specified and planned in advance, such as major infrastructure projects, normative expectations require the appearance of planning and control for these projects through

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