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Rethinking dichotomization: A critical perspective on the use of hard and soft in project management research
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Business School.
2014 (English)In: International Journal of Project Management, ISSN 0263-7863, Vol. 32, no 4, 568-577 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper elaborates on the categorization dichotomization between hard and soft in project management research. This categorization is becoming more increasingly used in project management research for example by stating that some projects are hard, while other projects are soft, that some project skills are hard, while other project skills are soft etc. The aim is to discuss this dichotomization as an example of hierarchization a power struggle between opposites within project management research and literature and acknowledge the effects for project management research and practice of unreflective upholding of this dichotomy. We provide a critical review and discussion of stage-gate models as an example of hard project management approaches, and agile methods as an example of soft approaches to project management and acknowledge that in project management practice, it seems as if hard and soft approaches are most often combined. Hence, this dichotomy seems to be upheld by the research community while practitioners show a more holistic perspective to project management.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 32, no 4, 568-577 p.
Keyword [en]
Dichotomy, Hard, Soft, Stage-gate models, Agile methods
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-104399DOI: 10.1016/j.ijproman.2013.10.009ISI: 000335617400004OAI: diva2:725382


Available from: 2014-06-16 Created: 2014-06-10 Last updated: 2014-06-16Bibliographically approved

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