chosen article is entitled “Building theories of project management: past
research, questions for the future” by Jonas Söderlund1. The
purpose of this paper is to evolve a discussion about theoretical problems of
project management research. Söderlund
asserts that such debate would contribute to the further evolution of project
management as an academic discipline. The author also highlights five crucial
questions which should be acknowledged to build a solid knowledge of project field
and spotlights the current weaknesses of project organizations research. These are
why project organizations differ, how they behave and why they exist, what is
their value and what determines their success.
article is headlined “Rational choice theory: toward a psychological, social
and material contextualization of human choice behavior” by Tom Burns and Ewa
The aim of the text is to provide an analysis of the rational choice theory,
identify its main criticisms and limitations. The authors pinpoint several basic
initiatives to create more realistic and widely applicable approaches and compare
the classic rational choice approach with an emerging one.
used in these papers are quite similar. Both articles carry out a selective
review of theoretical literature, criticisms, and perspectives as well as
applications of the subject and its formulations. They consider underpinning
assumptions of the theories and their modifications, and limitations, which
contributes to greater applicability and realism. In both articles, there is no
integrated approach presented.
infers that the field of project management is quickly expanding and that is
the reason why it gets more interest from other disciplines. Hence, there is a
need to create a range of projects theories but in a similar way – some
universal approaches and some of the specific aspects of particular projects. In
other words, this field is still open for new perspectives and empirical
stresses the importance of the debate on project management from a theoretical
standpoint and provides the directions for the further research.
He emphasizes that it
is impossible to build project theory based only on empirical data, there
should be a certain theoretical perspective. It was mentioned that such
perspectives can be found in other fields and they could be plausible in a
project field. The article states that future development of project research
might be beneficial not only for the management of the particular projects but
for the effectiveness of companies’ organizations as well.
The main results of
the second article are the identification of key constraints of rational choice
theory, its extensions, and adaptations. The article distinguishes several
kinds of constraints: the asociality of an individual, unrealistic cognitive
and psychological assumptions, robotic agency agent and amoral agent. In order
to abolish them, several modifications were created and a major contribution to
these models was made by behavioral economists and social scientists. So, Burns
and Roszkowska’s work demonstrates that rational economic individual with whom
much of the modern economics was built, was a mostly fictional character.
The most important
application of these results could be the possibility to overcome some of the previously
mentioned constraints. Also, the article declares an agenda for the future
theory evolution and provides a systematic review of the current situation of
rational choice theory research.
In conclusion, we can
say that rational choice has some connections with the project field. For
instance, it is vital to understand how people behave to run projects
successfully. Further, it is crucial to know what kind of reaction to expect
when making any decision. Additionally, Söderlund
while answering his five key questions mentioned that usually, people tend to
adhere to relatively rationalistic approach, which sometimes is not applicable.
To sum up, there could
be a relationship between these theories, so, it is important to continue
research in both fields for future development.
1 Söderlund, J.
(2004) Building theories of project management: past research, questions for
the future. International Journal of Project Management, 22, 183-191.
2 Burns, T. and Roszkowska, E.
(2016) Rational Choice Theory: Toward a Psychological, Social, and Material
Contextualization of Human Choice Behavior. Theoretical Economics Letters, 6,