Defining uncertainty in projects – a new perspective (Perminova, 2008)


Perminova, Olga; Gustafsson, Magnus; Wikström, Kim: Defining uncertainty in projects – a new perspective; in: International Journal of Project Management, Vol. 26 (2008), No. 1, pp. 73-79.

Perminova et al. argue that traditional project risk management focuses on risk and that the notion of uncertainties is generealy overlooked. In their literature review the authors show the difference between risk and uncertainties in 6 selected areas of research – Economics, Psychology, Philosophy, Organisational Theory, Dictionary, Project Management. Finally they establish a working definition for project managers: „[uncertainty occurs] when existing factors/assumptions are questioned and therefore the basis for calculating risks is questionable“. Perminova et al. argue that essential for managing uncertainty are reflective learning and sense-making, since they enable  flexibility and rapidness in decision-making especially since they do not restrict the choice of alternative actions in response to the situation.

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