9th Making Projects Critical workshop

The organizing committee of the 9th Making Projects Critical Workshop. From left: Damian Hodgson, Lucia Crevani, Monica Lindgren, Svetlana Cicmil, Anette Hallin and Johann Packendorff. Photo: Karin Berglund.

Mälardalen University in Västerås, Sweden, hosted the 9th Making Projects Critical workshop 17-18 January 2019. 24 scholars from 16 universities in five countries spend two intense days presenting and discussing topics such as projectification of the public sector, projectified selves in social media and freelancing, professions and artificial intelligence, sustainability contradictions, performativity of project management, agile project management, sociomateriality, and much more. The full program can be obtained here. #mpc9workshop

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Bejakande undersökning av distribuerat ledarskap

Distribuerat ledarskap är en alltmer utbrett forskningsperspektiv inom ledarskap, men även ett praxisfält där man söker involvera allt fler medarbetare i organisationens ledarskapsarbete. Den 12/12 ledde Johann Packendorff en heldagsövning med Örebro Kommuns samtliga chefer inom skola och förskola, där man genom en s k ’bejakande undersökning’ tillsammans konkretiserade framgångsrika praktiker i att distribuera ledarskap. Tekniken går ut på att man istället för att fokusera på problem och finna lösningar på dessa, vaskar fram det som organisationen redan idag är riktigt bra på och finner vägar att sprida dessa erfarenheter och göra mer av detta i vardagsarbetet.

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Gendered recognition practices

Presented our paper on Gendered recognition practices and perpetuation of vulnerability at the 10th Biennial International Interdisciplinary Conference on Gender, Work and Organisation in Sydney, Australia. With co-authors Charlotte Holgersson, Marianne Ekman Rising, Monica Lindgren and Anna Wahl, we suggest that
– recognition practices are an important yet under-researched aspect of academic
identity construction processes
– recognition practices are gendered, i.e. we perform gender in our ways of conferring and receiving recognition, constructing what recognition may mean in different local/cultural contexts, constructing when it is to be conferred/received or not, and constructing how it is appropriately played out how in social interaction.
– recognition practices tend to sustain vulnerability among academics, but in different ways for men and women.

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Ohållbara projekt

Projektarbete är en av de vanligaste arbetsformerna i dag. Färska studier tyder på att projektverksamhet står för en tredjedel av den ekonomiska aktiviteten i utvecklade länder. Är då projektarbete hållbart i dag, dvs är det möjligt för projektarbetande människor att ägna sig åt det på ett sätt som inte överkonsumerar deras mentala och kroppsliga välmående? Det som spelar roll för hållbarheten ur individens perspektiv är hur hens arbete utvecklas över tid, genom flera projekt, genom en karriär med projekt. Förvånansvärt många får hantera det på egen hand medan projektledare fokuserar på egna projekt, linjechefer med personalansvar styr på distans och hr-ansvariga inte förstår vad som sker ”ute i projekten”.Läs inlägget!

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9th Making Projects Critical workshop: Call for papers!

The 9th Making Projects Critical workshop will be held at the School of Business, Society and Engineering, Mälardalen University, Västerås, Sweden, 17-18 January 2019. Through the workshop, we hope to highlight and, where possible, remedy the theoretical and methodological limitations of traditional conceptions of projects and project management. In particular, the intention is to draw upon wider intellectual resources than the instrumental rationality, quantitative
and positivist methodologies and technicist solutions, which have been used traditionally to understand, implement and control organisational projects, and to reflect on the implications of alternative perspectives for project management practice. Read the entire Call for papers HERE!

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A Project Nerd’s Guide to Value-Adding Meetings

I know, guides to effective meetings are as ubiquitous on the internet as late-morning infomercials on cable TV. Still, these are some thoughts and ideas that I have found useful over the years, in a world where almost nobody sees their own meeting culture as neither a comparative nor competitive advantage. The perspective here is the project perspective – viewing a meeting as a small project in its own right – which implies a focus on value creation, stakeholders, facilitative leadership, deliverables and SMART decisions. Read more

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A Student’s Guide to Coursework Projects

During a normal university education, a typical student is expected to partake in numerous coursework projects, but this aspect is rarely attended to. Almost all project management courses and textbooks treat the subject as something that students will make use of once they have graduated and started their careers, not as something they may learn by doing as they progress through their university educations. In this short paper, I have collected some tips and advice for students embarking on group/team-based project in their everyday studies. It can be downloaded here!

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Our (rhetorical) question in a speech to the Swedish Project Academy yesterday. Project-based sectors and industries are heavily represented among the recent outcries from women who have been harassed and assaulted in their workplaces by men, who have had their careers and well-being disrupted due to abuse of power. In the wake, we see talent being scared away and dysfunctional organizational cultures sustained. Projects can be marvelous opportunities to break away from the past and create new and better things, but they may as well become arenas for even more intense reaffirmation of existing power structures and practices. Depressing and sad insights. But the good thing is that we know from years of research what to do about it.

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Conference on Long-term provision of knowledge

At the annual conference in the national research program Long-term Provision of Knowledge, held in Saltsjöbaden 15-16 November, preliminary results from our on-going empirical studies in Swedish business schools were presented. Johann Packendorff, Marianne Ekman Rising and Monica Lindgren are in-depth-interviewing lecturers on initiatives aimed at increasing performance and productivity by connecting funding allocation directly to measures on the individual or institutional level, and are specifically interested in (1) how such initiatives are understood and received by academic professionals in their daily work, and (2) in what ways these initiatives affect work practices and academics’ self-understanding.

In our presentation, we centered around empirical themes rather than theoretical developments. Where the practicing of performance-based systems (PBS) is concerned, we reflected on the following themes:
•Hour counting practices – i.e. that teaching time is broken down in detail to hours to be ”produced” by lecturers.
•Research time distribution – i.e. how internal research funding are allocated across faculty and the consequences of the process as such and the allocation criteria
•Accreditation as a self-inflicted additional system: Importing US criteria and organizational models
•Publishing/bibliometrics: Awareness ,strategic behaviour but not embraced
•Salaries as hygiene factor, not seen as reward or incentive, even negative when seen as unfair
•Standardisation important despite variety of work contents and work organisation
•Outcome-based systems rather than process-based systems
•Individualised systems – individuals are responsibilised, measured and evaluated, less so the organisation

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2017 PMI Research Achievement Award

Damian Hodgson and Svetlana Cicmil receiving the award on behalf of the MPC team with Johann Packendorff and Monica Lindgren in the background. Photo: Project Management Institute

Monica Lindgren and Johann Packendorff are the 2017 winners of the PMI Research Achievement Award. They are given the award for founding the Making Projects Critical (MPC) network and workshops, as well as for the ongoing research that opens up project management and project-based organisations to critical examination. The award is shared with their MPC collaborators; Director Svetlana Cicmil at Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, and Professor Damian Hodgson at Alliance Manchester Business School, Manchester University.

PMI (Project Management Institute) is the leading international association for project managers, with operations in over 80 countries. The PMI Research Achievement Award is one of the premier research awards in the field, and has been awarded since 2003 to ”recognize and honor an individual or group of individuals whose work has significantly advanced the concepts, knowledge, and practices of project management through a published body of academic research”. It is the second time the award has gone to Swedish scholars. Read the list of past winners!.

The editor-in-chief of Project Management Journal writes about us in this editorial!

The award was handed over at a ceremony in Boston, 14th June 2017. M J

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