Disciplining the Professional: The Case of Project Management

19 Pages Posted: 14 May 2003

See all articles by Damian Hodgson

Damian Hodgson

University of Manchester - Manchester Business School

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Hodgson, Damian, Disciplining the Professional: The Case of Project Management. Journal of Management Studies, Vol. 39, pp. 803-821, 2002. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=325116

Damian Hodgson (Contact Author)

University of Manchester - Manchester Business School ( email )

Booth Street West
Manchester, M15 6PB
United Kingdom

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