What is the Project Society phenomenon? The answer can be simple as well as complicated. A simple answer refers to the fact that projects nowadays are much more prevalent than earlier in mankind history. At that the word project is used in many different contexts. Construction of buildings as well as peacekeeping operations in troubled parts of the world can both be considered and treated as projects even though the latter case has uncertainty and complexity as heavy ingredients. Projects play increasingly prominent roles in our private lives as individuals and as members of groups and organizations. In fact, project has become something of a household word for a wide variety of phenomena so, they come in many different shapes.
As of now there are lots of handbooks and publications covering how projects should be run and handled individually and how to do so in an efficient way, but the step to regard the present development as a kind of a mass movement where temporary organizations proliferate has been less prominent in the past. Now the focus is on the macro or societal level and the question is: How has Project Society come about and where is it heading? The keyword is projectification!
In general, projectification has influenced society and is transforming it in the Project Society direction. This transformation has occurred gradually and changed practice and ways of getting things done. But it has also influenced mindsets people have and theories. What mechanisms are at work, both in terms of how projectification occurs in steps but also in terms of challenges meeting projectification trends and tendencies? Existing society and mindsets are not necessarily tuned in on the current development, so there is a need for relearning
The projectification story can be told in a historical-logical way beginning with the backgrounds to Project Society, leading over to discernible paths for projectification including illustrations. Thereby the stress is on projectification as a process. As indicated above, there are different contexts for projects and the variation in terms of projectification is context dependent. It goes without saying that construction of buildings and peacekeeping operations provide very different challenges. But still, there might be a spillover of knowledge between the two types of projects mentioned. At the present time, it appears that various types of networks provide much of the dynamism for projectification.
More on this can be found in the book by Lundin, R.A., Arvidsson, N., Brady, T.M., Ekstedt, E., Midler, C. & Sydow, J. (2015) Managing and Working in Project Society – Institutional Challenges of Temporary Organizations. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Rolf A. Lundin
Professor Emeritus, Business Administration
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