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Philosophy of Management

Volume 10, Issue 3, 2011

The Philosophers Stone - About Knowledge and Leadership

Bradley Rolfe
Pages 59-77

Reflect or Defend? Project Management as an Existential Response to Organisational Crisis

Utilising Richard Rorty’s criticism of epistemology, this paper will demonstrate the manner in which traditional project management attempts to apply a reductive and limited range of quasi-scientific techniques to problems that continually defy such reduction. The argument will be made that project management is better considered as an existential response to organisational crisis rather than the systemic application of principles to achieve pre-determined objectives. Within the range of an existential response, two kinds of response are proposed: the reflective or defensive (Segal 1999). Rorty’s edifying hermeneutic is offered as an example of a reflective response to organisational crisis and argues that the notion of the interpretation of competing language games better serves project management practice than the application of one over-arching meta-narrative as embodied in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK 2000).

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