Good Example Of How Does Systems Theory Apply To Project Management? Essay
Business Project Management
Importance of Organizational Culture in Project Management
In order to effectively discuss the importance of organizational culture in project management, project management has to be briefly explained first. A project is a temporary group or organizational activity that is designed to create a product, a service, or an outcome. A project’s temporary characteristic suggests that it should have a beginning and end, or in more precise terms, a predetermined scope and amount of resources needed. A project’s routine characteristic, on the other hand, suggests that it is not a routine operation; which means that it only happens on an irregular basis, but can still be considered as an integral operation that is designed to help the organization accomplish its goals.
Based on the operational definition of a project’s characteristics, project management, can then be defined as the application of skills, knowledge, and techniques in order to execute a project or a group of projects effectively and efficiently . Just like any other business process, there is a variety of factors and variables that can affect the outcome of project management and one specific factor that will be looked into in this paper is the organizational culture.
According to a research that collected information on more than 750 project management organizations worldwide, some 60% of project management offices say that organizational culture is not supportive of their efforts and that this is one of the reasons why most project management efforts fail . Organizational culture is allegedly made up of the attitudes, beliefs, values, and behaviors that the employees and members of an organization possess and manifests. It can be perceived as a reflection of the values and principles of the people working in the workplace. And in the context of project management, it is important for the values, culture, belief, and behaviors of the members of the teams to be supportive of and in line with the project management goals and objectives because otherwise, conflicts may be created.
In cases where there are misalignments between these two variables, there are two things that the project manager can do: he can either make steps to change the organizational culture or he can choose to change the project management goals and objectives. In either case, these two variables have to be in line with each other for the project management goals and objectives to be successfully accomplished, in an effective and efficient way at that.
Systems Theory can be defined as “the trans-disciplinary study of the abstract organization of a phenomena, independent of their substance, type, or spatial or temporal scale of existence that investigates both the principles common to all complex entities and the models which can be used to describe them” . One principle often used by proponents of the systems theory that may have a lot of applications in project management is the one that suggests that real systems (i.e. the systems that serve as the framework that organizations follow) must be open to interact with the environment or any other factors or variables that may affect its outcome so that the organization would be able to acquire new properties—properties that it might need to make the underlying systems that serve as its framework more accommodating to its core processes.
This principle encourages a rather dynamic approach of project management. In a way, a dynamic approach may indeed be able to outperform the static or closed approach because in managing a project, there are uncontrolled or non-modifiable variables that may affect the outcome of the project; and in the presence of which, the project managers would often have no choice but to adapt and make use of a dynamic approach in managing the project.
Heylighen, F. and C. Joslyn. "What is Systems Theory." Principa Cybernetica (1992).
Project Management Institute. "What is Project Management." Project Management Institute (2014).
Stanleigh, M. "How to establish an Organizational Culture that Supports Projects." Business Improvement Architects (n.d.).
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