The role of tacit knowledge in knowledge intensive project management
Lam, Kee Yung
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The traditional doctrine of project management, having evolved from operations management, has been dominated by a rationalist approach in terms of planning and control. There is increasing criticism that this prescriptive approach is deficient for the management of dynamically complex projects which is a common characteristic for modern-day projects. In response to this and the relative lack of scholarly literature, this study uses an emergent grounded theory design to discover and understand the softer, intangible aspects of project management. With primary data collected from twenty semi-structured personal interviews, this study explores the lived experiences of project practitioners and how they ‘muddle through’ the complex social setting of a knowledge intensive financial services organisation. The model which evolved from the research portrays the project practitioner as being exposed to multiple cues, with multiple meanings around five causal themes: environmental, organisational, nature of the task, role and knowledge capability. In response to these cues, the practitioner reflects upon their emotions and past experiences in order to make sense of the uncertain situation to determine their necessary course of action. As a coping strategy the project practitioner takes on the role of bricoleur, by making do by applying combinations of the resources at hand, in order to facilitate the successful delivery of their projects.