A pragmatic sociological examination of projectification

Régis Barondeau & Brian Hobbs (2018)

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business

Purpose. Boltanski and Thevenot’s Economies of Worth framework and the project world introduced by Boltanski and Chiapello are well known in the fields of sociology and organization theory, but have been largely ignored in the project management literature. The purpose of this paper is to introduce them into the literature on projects and projectification.
Design/methodology/approach. The framework and the project world are described in detail and compared with two streams of writings that are well known in the field of project management: Making Projects Critical and the project as a complex self-organizing emergent network.
Findings. The paper shows that the framework and the project world are relevant to research in project management and the understanding of the projectification of society.
Research limitations/implications. The framework and the concepts presented could be used in both conceptual and empirical research in project management, particularly the analysis of projects in which disputes occur among stakeholders. Several paths that future developments could follow are identified.
Practical implications. The framework can be used to better understand disputes and identify how they can be resolved or compromises can be found.
Social implications. The analysis by Boltanski and Chiapello showed that the evolution of management practice is linked to changes in society and in the dominant ideology.
Originality/value. The paper introduces a very valuable framework into the project literature.

Keywords: Project tools and techniques, Project networks, Conflicts, Critical management studies, Organization theory, Project complexity, Social theory

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