Reflexive project management in high-abition projects: Exploring the competencies for managing innovative sustainable designs

Anne Loeber, T. Vermeulen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    Abstract

    Purpose
    The Aristotelian notion of phronèsis inspired innovative work in the realm of project management as well as in literature on sustainability and societal transformations. We argue that both literatures may benefit from a dialogue between the two, especially in view of outlining project managers' skills and competencies.

    Methodology
    The paper contributes to such a dialogue by reflecting on two practical experiences with managing sustainability-oriented, highly ambitious projects from the perspective of phronètic project management. The argument develops by reasoning to and fro between theory and practical experience.

    Findings
    A key skill is a manager's capacity to distinguish between adopting a responsive attitude (a 'learning attitude') to attune a high-ambition project to the particularities of the participants' circumstances, and a 'leading attitude' to help the project move away from participants' current ideas on what is feasible and desirable in order do justice to its sustainability-oriented ambitions.

    Implications
    The competency to carefully alternate between these two attitudes in the light of a project's specific circumstances is quintessential in reflexive project management.

    Contribution
    The paper explores the concept of reflexivity on micro-level, in project management, and on macro-level, in view of societal transformations, and explores the link between the two, both theoretically and in practical terms.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)15-37
    JournalSocial Business
    Volume6
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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