Archive for the ‘Ethics’ Category

The PM_BOK Code (Whitty & Schulz, 2006)

Donnerstag, Oktober 23rd, 2008

 The PM_BOK Code (Whitty & Schulz, 2006)

Whitty, S. J.; Schulz, M. F.: The PM_BOK Code; in: The Proceedings of 20th IPMA World Congress on Project Management, Vol. 1 (2008) , pp. 466 – 472.

The bold claim of this article is that project management is more about appearance than productivity.
Whitty & Schulz argue that our hard-wiring for memes and the western culture have turned project management (in it’s special representation in the PMI’s PMBOK) into a travesty.
The western culture is synonymous with the spirit of capitalism combined with the meme of the corporation, which has been disected many times most noteably by Achbar, Abbott & Bakan.

The authors compare the everyday madness of projects to nothing else but theatres. Keeping up appearances. They draw similarities between the theatrical stage – think meeting rooms and offices, costumes – think dark suits or funny t-shirts, scripts – think charts and status reports, props – think powerpoint, and audience – think co-workers and managers. Whitty & Schulz that the big show we put up everyday is to appear in control and successful.

Project management is the ideal way to represent western culture. Being flexible, ready for change, constantly exploiting new opportunities.
On the flip side, the authors argue, that project management kills creativity and democracy. It fractionalises the workforce, thus driving down productivity.

The way out of this predicament is to „reform […] the PMBOK® Guide version of PM in a way that elieves practitioners from performativity, and opens project work up to more creative and democratic processes“ (p. 471).

The impact of Puritan ideology on aspects of project management (Whitty & Schulz, 2007)

Mittwoch, August 13th, 2008

Puritan Ideology and Project Management

Whitty, Stephen Jonathan; Schulz, Mark Frederick: The impact of Puritan ideology on aspects of project management; in: International Journal of Project Management, Vol. 25 (2007), pp. 10–20.

This paper roots today’s prevalent ethics in Western project management to classical Puritanism. [Max Weber anyone?] Whitty & Schulz see the doctrinal supremacy, work ethic, and depravity of puritanism as a direct predecessor of today’s project management. They argue that the Purtianism descendants of Liberalism, Newtonianism, and Taylorism are another major influence.

The authors conclude with the remark: „Through no fault of their own, scholars and practitioners like are being driven by powerful memes that not only rive their behaviour but create the very fabric of their society. We owe it to ourselves to break free of the tyranny of these Puritan memes. But first, we must acknowledge that our past and present actions have been determined by them.“ (p. 18).

The ethical dimension of project management (Helgadóttir, in press)

Freitag, Juli 11th, 2008


Helgadóttir, Hildur: The ethical dimension of project management, in: International Journal of Project Management, Article in Press

Helgadóttir argues that project management needs perfection (=logical thinking), beauty (=creative thinking) and goodness (=ethical thinking). Then the author describes different ethical philosophies and how these philosophies manifest in teams and management decisions. First Helgadóttir describes the outcome oriented philosophies of virtue ethics, and utilitarianism. Secondly she details the process oriented philosophies of deontological ethics, natural rights theory, and social contract theory.