Teaching that takes Complexity Seriously: Developing the Master Project Manager
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Interest in project management is growing significantly and an industry is evolving around project management training and education (Price & Dolfi, 2004; Thomas, Mengel & Andres, 2004). Yet the trend towards professionalism and the focus on standardization come into question as the behavioral and personal competencies of project managers outside of project management standards appear to be more relevant for their workplace performance (Crawford, 2005). Furthermore, projects continue to fail at an astonishing rate (Standish, 2001, 2004, Morris and Hough, 1994). At the same time, the role complexity, chaos and uncertainty play within our projects and project environments is gaining recognition in both research and practice. Hence, it is time to review our understanding of project management education and reflect about how we develop project managers to deal with the increasing level of complexity, chaos, and uncertainty in project environments (Aram & Noble, 1999; Stacey et al., 2000; Ives, 2005, Singh& Singh, 2002; Jaafari, 2003). In particular, we need to discuss new perspectives and concepts for an advanced level of project management education that may help develop the abilities necessary to confidently navigate the dynamic organizational environments and complex projects facing project managers today. In this paper, we first describe the evolution of project management and project management education. Next, we discuss the impact of taking complexity seriously on the requirements for professional development of project managers. Finally, we examine opportunities for distance based education in project management to meet these needs.