Project Management Institute

Making the case-- how to improve and develop project management professionals' competence for the world of practice

case studies vs. cookbooks

Despite the accomplishment of project management researchers in developing theoretical knowledge that has helped the field evolve and enabled professionals to develop new competencies, practitioners--as identified via a Project Management Journal reader survey--prefer to read technical papers and case studies instead of academic papers. This editorial discusses how academic researchers can integrate these two perspectives to develop a body of work that help practitioners resolve common, everyday challenges while pushing forward the field's knowledge. In doing so, it lists three types of conditions that can help researchers transfer a learning experience to other situations, conditions that enable researchers to connect abstract concepts to lived reality. It then explains the purpose and process of using these conditions--analogy, conceptual metaphors, archetypes--and identifies models for using these in research.
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