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Special Issue: World Views on Projects and Society

Special issue call for papers from International Journal of Managing Projects in Business

Guest Editors: Mattias Jacobsson and Rolf A. Lundin, Umeå School of Business and Economics, Umeå University, Sweden, and Jönköping University, Jönköping, Sweden.

Regional Editors: Giel Bekker (Africa), Mattias Jacobsson (Europe), Ashwin Mahalingam (India), Lixiong Ou (China), Janice Thomas (Canada and the US), Derek Walker (Australia).

Projectification of society is pervasive (Lundin, Arvidsson, Brady, Ekstedt, Midler & Sydow 2015; Packendorff & Lindgren 2014) and notions of ‘what a project is’ has developed to include an impressive range of applications (Jacobsson, Lundin & Söderholm 2015). Although there are plenty of research efforts that cover individual projects, programs and portfolios (see, e.g., Maylor, Brady, Cooke-Davies & Hodgson 2006), less has been written about the abundance of projects in relations to the macro or societal level (Jacobsson, Lundin & Söderholm 2016; Geraldi & Söderlund 2016). Still, it is well-known that projects both contribute to the development of society, and that society has clear impact on how projects are shaped and handled.

In this special issue, we are interested in world views on projects and society, implying that considerations are preferably taken to areas of social concern and the framework(s) of ideas and beliefs which form the way in which people interpret the world and interacts within it. The interest in world views on projects and society consequently holds the underlying assumption that project research and project practice have developed differently in various parts of the world. The overarching question is thus, given the global projectification and the varying local applications of projects, how can we better understand societal impacts on projects/projectification, and the impact of projects/projectification on society?

For example, in Australia, a long period of procrastination about public transport infrastructure has led to rail megaprojects, each well in excess of ten billion dollars. These projects have forced project owners to seriously consider how to better enable owner, design teams, and contractor delivery participants to collaborate to minimize waste and to ensure best value outcomes. The projectification of government policy delivery programs has also sharply focused the task of project organizing on re-defining project and program management in what is now considered to be a highly complex domain to deliver value to many stakeholders who have varying perceptions of what is important to society. We would in this special issue hope to see papers addressing similar and other related issues of how, for example, the role of project organizing is (in various ways) transforming within the regional context.

This special issue consequently promotes stimulating conversations where projects and projectification is juxtaposed with the macro level and global issues. Areas of interest include, but are not limited to, the following three themes:

World Views on Projects in Society
-    How does the definition of 'what a project is' vary across the world?
-    How are projects organized differently (as a result of these differences in meanings)? How has this changed over time?
-    What are the trajectories of project research and practice in various parts of the world?

The World of Projects in Society
-    How do institutions (both formal and informal) in various parts of the world influence the meaning and organization of projects?
-    What has projectification wrought on the social institutions and society where organizations have adopted it wholeheartedly?
-    In what way do projects influence or shape (formal and informal) institutions?

The Role of Projects in the World
-    What is happening to societies in the age of projectification?
-    How might the work of project organizing be marshaled to help solve some grand challenges of societies?
-    How can project organizing serves society at large?

The special issue consequently takes a broad scope and does not only invite empirical contributions but also manuscripts that, theoretically or conceptually, examine more generalized features of projectification, and the organizing of projects in society. The call also embraces many potential perspectives as well as sectors where project management and project organizing themes are being applied. This issue is consequently open to a wide range of research methods, theoretical frameworks and epistemological paradigms. The editorial team encourages authors to submit manuscripts and develop new theoretical lenses at the crossroad of projects and society. In essence, this special issue has a global focus with regional editorial organizers seeking contributions from each area, juxtaposing a regional perspective with a more global one.

Submission Procedure:
Brief drafts (approx. 800 words) of intended papers sent to the guest editors before June 20, 2017. Drafts should include the objective, method, and key contributions.
Submissions to this journal are through the ScholarOne submission system here:
Please visit the author guidelines for the journal at:
Please ensure you select this special issue from the relevant drop down menu on page four of the submission process.
All full papers submitted will be double-blindly reviewed following the journal’s normal review process and criteria.

Key Dates:
Brief drafts (approx. 800 words) of intended paper submitted before June 20, 2017.
Deadline for submission of full drafts: February 28, 2018.
Submission of comments by reviewers: April 20, 2018.
Final version: October 15, 2018.
Issue publication: Spring, 2019.

Geraldi, J., & Söderlund, J. (2016). Project studies and engaged scholarship: Directions towards contextualized and reflexive research on projects. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 9(4), 767-797.

Jacobsson, M., Lundin, R. A., & Söderholm, A. (2015). Researching projects and theorizing families of temporary organizations. Project Management Journal, 46(5), 9-18.

Jacobsson, M., Lundin, R. A., & Söderholm, A. (2016). Towards a multi-perspective research program on projects and temporary organizations: Analyzing the Scandinavian turn and the Rethinking effort. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 9(4), 752-766.

Lundin, R. A., Arvidsson, N., Brady, T., Ekstedt, E., Midler, C., & Sydow, J. (2015). Managing and working in project society. UK: Cambridge university press.

Lundin, R. A. (2016). Project Society: Paths and challenges. Project Management Journal, 47(4), 7-15.

Packendorff, J., & Lindgren, M. (2014). Projectification and its consequences: Narrow and broad conceptualisations. South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences, 17(1), 7-21.

Maylor, H., Brady, T., Cooke-Davies, T., & Hodgson, D. (2006). From projectification to programmification. International Journal of Project Management, 24(8), 663-674.