Root metaphors for the management of projects

toward a knowledge-based view

In traditional project management, knowledge integration assumes upfront plans as explicit knowledge. For complex projects that cannot be fully specified in advance; however, knowledge integration requires emergent learning in situated contexts (Lindkvist), which involves explicit knowledge (know-that) and experiential knowledge (know-how). To expand the knowledge boundaries of traditional project management, the root-metaphor perspectives of American philosopher Stephen Pepper (1942) are interpreted as a project management framework, focusing on Mechanism for traditional project management and Contextualism for situated approaches. Using this root-metaphor framework, explicit knowledge and experiential knowledge are mutually complementary when projects are viewed as modes of organizing and learning for temporary undertakings, which encompasses process and task. The implications for research and practice include using the framework for situated research, where Contextualism has greater explanatory power, and for the management of project diversity — traditional, complex, portfolio, and program projects.
member content locked

Log in or join PMI to gain access

or Join



Related Content

  • Project Management Journal

    Determining Contingencies in the Management of Construction Projects member content locked

    By Ortiz, José I. | Pellicer, Eugenio | Molenaar, Keith R. This research describes the managerial approaches that contractors follow to determine different types of contingencies in construction project management. Two large Spanish general contractors were…

  • PM Network

    Signature Move member content locked

    By Parsi, Novid Kiruna, Sweden won't be rebuilt in a day. But the first major milestone for relocating the Arctic mining town made one thing clear: The 18,000 residents are fully invested in driving the vision for…

  • PM Network

    Drones for Health member content locked

    In Vanuatu, an archipelago of 83 volcanic islands in the South Pacific Ocean, delivery logistics are a major impediment to childhood vaccines. Many villages are reachable only by single-engine…

  • PM Network

    Firefight member content locked

    By Bishel, Ashley California, USA endured one of the worst wildfire seasons in the state's history in 2017, when more than 1.2 million acres (485,600 hectares) burned. Last year proved worse. Not only did 1.6 million…

  • PM Network

    HR + IT = The New Performance Imperative member content locked

    The use of performance reviews seems to stretch back eons. But as the pace of business accelerates, more organizations are finding that the annual review is stale—and they're embracing change…


Publishing or acceptance of an advertisement is neither a guarantee nor endorsement of the advertiser's product or service. View advertising policy.