Human Resource Development and Project Management: Key Connections

LILA LENORIA CARDEN Houston Baptist University TOBY MARSHALL EGAN Texas A&M University
As human resource development (HRD) efforts increase in scope, complexity and link to increasing numbers of key stakeholders, so do demands for careful and systematic execution of HRD implementation. Use of project management strategies and tools is an emerging solution for HRD implementation. Using a systematic literature search, intersections between project management and HRD literature are outlined. Key findings are presented for both articles that explore project management– and HRDrelated issues explicitly as well as emerging HRD literature that may have import for HRD-related concerns. A summative figure, conceptual framework, propositions for HRD project management, and implications for research, theory, and practice are discussed. Keywords: project management; management; human resource development

For as long as humans have been undertaking complex tasks, project-oriented approaches toward getting work done have been central to individual and collective success. Historical accounts regarding the origins of human resource development (HRD) often involve recounting of apprenticeship relationships, craft guilds, and networks of “franchises” whereby skilled individuals could manage projects that coordinated the production of goods important for the basic functioning of societies and (later on) industries (Werner & DeSimone, 2006). Such project-related practices date back hundreds, if not thousands of years. These accounts, along with more narrow perspectives regarding the U.S.
AUTHORS’ NOTE: Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Lila Lenoria Carden, Assistant Professor, Management, College of Business and Economics, Houston Baptist University, 7502 Fondren Road, Houston, TX 77074-3298; e-mail: Human Resource Development Review Vol. 7, No. 3 September 2008 309-338 DOI: 10.1177/1534484308320577 © 2008 SAGE Publications


Human Resource Development Review / September 2008

and European education for work efforts beginning in the mid-1800s, are associated with industrialization and modernization, which strongly influenced the manner in which work was completed. Other accounts have emphasized the U.S. Training Within Industry Project (Dooley, 1945) in which the name of the massive undertaking to train the World War II era industrial workforce itself emphasized HRD-related efforts as projects. More recently, several HRD scholars highlighted the importance of project management for HRD. Whether developing a system-wide strategic plan, enacting an organization development (OD) intervention, producing a new training curriculum, or supporting individual on-the-job learning, HRD activities are most often organized into projects. Project work has become an increasingly prevalent in organizations worldwide and is an important consideration for organizational success (Packendorff, 1995). Project management has become an essential organizational competency (Fuller, 1997). As project management research, methodology, and theory development have increased so has organizational and individual investment in project management knowledge and personnel (Kerzner, 2001). Although HRD project management connections are implicit in HRD practice and practice literature, and project management has been included in university HRD curricula, research and theory linking project management and HRD is limited. HRD approaches and processes have been examined in terms of implementation of necessary steps to achieve a HRD-related outcome, but the management of the HRD process itself has been rarely explored. We have spent a lot of time talking about how to conceptualize and implement OD, training and career development (CD), but little time examining the management of implementation or the impact of efficient or inefficient execution of HRD interventions themselves on desired outcomes. Although project management is a field with its own professional associations, journals, international certification programs, and increasing number of professionals, the direct examination of the important intersection between HRD and project management has been uncommon. Contrary to the limited accessibility of related literature, anecdotal evidence from HRD practice and support from HRD scholars (Fuller, 1997; Gilley, Eggland, & Gilley, 2002; Henderson, 2005; Krempl & Pace, 2001; McLagan, 1989; McLean, 2006) suggest investigation of project management in HRD to be of importance for HRD implementation, learning, and performance.

Problem Statement
This examination of HRD-project management connections emphasizes two contexts—literature exploring HRD-related areas with explicit connections to project management and an emerging “nontraditional” project management literature that has implications for HRD-project management. While practice advanced well ahead of theory during the early to mid-1900s, the general project



management literature has also steadily progressed during the past few decades. As the importance of project management has emerged, key terms such as learning, participation, renewal, and innovation have become associated with the project management practices (Packendorff, 1995). Despite the importance of project management for HRD success having been frequently highlighted (Fuller, 1997; Gilley et al., 2002; Henderson, 2005; Krempl & Pace, 2001; McLagan, 1989; McLean, 2006), there have been few theoretical or empirical investigations conducted, examining the impact of effective project management for HRD. Although project management has been proposed to support HRD practitioners and organizations, the absence of research and theory associated with project management–HRD connections means that we have little understanding regarding project management practices in HRD contexts. This lack of research leaves open questions as to how project management is and can be approached in HRD contexts, the types of systematic approaches to project management that are actually used in HRD implementation, and what approaches are effective or ineffective. Different from many other understudied HRD-related areas, there is an established project management literature outside of the scope of HRD that, similar to HRD literature overall, has been steadily growing and making contributions to theory, research, and practice. This literature has formed to improve understanding regarding project management outcomes and processes (Jugdev & Müller, 2005). However, until recently, project management literature focused almost exclusively on traditional project management contexts (construction, engineering, manufacturing, utilities, and information technology; Kloppenborg & Opfer, 2002). Although some theoretical perspectives may overlap, the specific nature of literature in these traditional areas of project management makes transfer to HRD contexts difficult in most cases. Within recent years, as it became clear that a variety of industries beyond the aforementioned traditional areas were benefiting from project management approaches, project management literature has begun to expand into a wide assortment of contexts, including HRD-related areas. Because of the newness of this expansion, the literature in any one nontraditional area associated with HRD or other industries and contexts is relatively thin. However, understanding the foci and directions of these emerging studies, including those beyond specific HRD emphases, will be beneficial to early efforts to frame theory and research with HRD–project management connections (Kloppenborg & Opfer, 2002). Thus, despite established practical implications, little energy has been dedicated to HRD–project management connections by HRD scholars, and no efforts to frame future theory building have been published.

Purpose and Central Questions
Based upon the both practical and scholarly significance of project management and HRD intersections. We formulated two central purposes for our

training and development. The first search of literature involving connections between HRD and project management and a second search for emerging project management literature (defined in the following sections). had developed in recent years and the potential associations with HRD-related interests. Our specific questions were: (a) what scholarly literature integrating project management and HRD exists currently? (b) what is contained in the current scholarly literature focused on emerging (or nontraditional) project management topics? (c) what are the themes that surface from the overall literature identified in #1 and #2 above? and (d) what are the implications of the current state of the identified literature for HRD and for future project management–HRD research? Method To enact the purpose identified. Project management has been identified as important to HRD in textbooks. The literature identification process for selection of articles that focused on HRD and project management included a subject/keyword search for project management in 29 HRD-related journals in August 2006. 2001). CD. we conducted two systematic reviews of literature.312 Human Resource Development Review / September 2008 investigation. Search for Articles Focusing on Project Management and HRD Connections Based on our purpose and focus questions. Second. but project management– HRD intersections are not frequently elaborated in the context of scholarly inquiry. Search for Nontraditional Project Management Literature The second literature identification process included a keyword search for project management (a) in Emerald database during February 2005 returning . because the project management field has begun to explore emerging areas and programs beyond the relatively narrow project management literature that has. Articles identified in the search of HRD-related journals were selected based on their connections to OD. we reviewed refereed journal articles only. First. historically. we were interested in how emerging project management research and scholarship. The first search involved only those works published by Dooley (2002) and Sleezer and Sleezer (1998). is featured particularly in OD and training and development. beyond the limited literature related to project management–HRD connections. HRD. we wanted to better understand the landscape of literature that overtly examined HRD-project management connections. or related areas. and is included in core or support coursework in several HRD graduate and undergraduate curricula. focused on “traditional” areas such as engineering and construction (Kerzner.

Based on analysis of articles outlining historical perspectives of project management. According to Packendorff. 2002) were defined as research in industries other than engineering. industrial. During the emergence period of the early 1900s. and blind reviewed. 320). and (f) Emerald database in March 2006 returning 21 articles. plannable and unique task. Project Management Overview According to Packendorff (1995). (e) International Journal of Project Management in March. schedule.Carden. limited in time. utility. Themes and summaries from the search identified above (project management and HRD) are followed by a discussion of the emerging project management literature. (b) International Journal of Project in EBSCO database on October 2005 returning 277 articles. Henry L. Program . software. more than four scholarly references. Project management was originally focused in construction and engineering industries and has expanded. (d) Project Management Journal in EBSCO in March 2006 returning 24 articles. following thematic analysis of article topics. (c) Project Management Journal in EBSCO database returning 240 articles. During the 1950s. and performance. and (c) data related to nontraditional contexts that (with support from Kloppenborg & Opfer. technique. refinement. project management became more theoretically and mathematically oriented. project management moved to a stage of refinement in the mid-1900s. project management was established as an orderly work-related framework and was provided as a tactical and strategic approach to chart and implement projects. The utilization of project management has grown into academic. 1995). complex in its implementation and subject to evaluation” (p. financial. Gantt established the Gantt chart and two decades later. adding refined algorithms and project-planning techniques. Egan / HRD PROJECT MANAGEMENT 313 304 articles. a project can be defined as “a given. or resource. manufacturing. the remaining articles were categorized (a) as theory if a theory was identified as a focus or support in the framing of the article. Karol Adamiecki formed the network-based harmonogram (Packendorff. human resource. electrical. service. an overview regarding HRD–project management connections is discussed. (b) scholarly publications defined as articles with seven or more pages. and construction. and professional contexts. cycle. and (d) as research if data in the article were collected from participants to the research/study. network. Summaries of literature identified in both searches discussed above are below. technology. or process was emphasized in the article. The 880 articles were distilled further based on the following four criteria (a) date range from 1968 to 2004. The total number of journal articles identified from the 37 total journals (listed in Table 1) from both searches outlined above was 103. In addition. In 1910. 1995). In addition. 2006 returning 14 articles. over time. to other industries and contexts (Betts & Lansley. we developed four key periods in the general history of project management— emergence. (c) as tools if any word such as tool. (b) as a model if a model. was highlighted in the article.

This period emphasized project management effectiveness at the individual. Journal European Journal of Operational Research Group and Organization Studies Human Relations Human Resource Development Quarterly Industrial Management & Data Systems International Journal of Project Management International Journal of Public Administration International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management International Journal of Technology Management Journal of Applied Behavioral Science Journal of Applied Psychology Journal of Enterprise Information Management Journal of European Industrial Training Journal of Industrial Teacher Education Journal of Knowledge Management Journal of Management Development Journal or Organizational Behavior Journal for Vocational and Teacher Education Journal of Workplace Learning Logistics Information Management Management Decision Management Education and Development New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education Organization Development Journal Performance Improvement Quarterly Personnel Psychology Personnel Review Project Management Journal Public Administration Quarterly Public Personnel Management R&D Management Team Performance Management The Learning Organization evaluation and review techniques (PERT) and critical path methods (CPM) and other techniques were presented. The . 1995). utilized broadly and. the tools or approaches themselves were closely researched or evaluated (Pinto. 1998). in some cases. and organizational levels (Packendorff. project management scholarship grew and transformed to human resource period. team. During the 1960s.314 TABLE 1: Human Resource Development Review / September 2008 Journals Featuring Project Management Articles Academy of Management Journal Academy of Management Review Benchmarking College and Univ. Personnel Assoc.

authority. project management success and failures were focused upon in the literature. 1973. Jiang. (b) alignment and synergy across business units and senior management (Cash & Fox. Project management has been identified as an important element for success in each of these roles (Gilley et al. 1972. (c) projectrelated negotiation and communication (Archibald. The performance period is an emphasis for project management today. global. Gullett. Hodgetts. Klein. HRD and Project Management Gilley et al. Kerzner. many HRD leaders do not recognize this as an essential responsibility and thus fail to provide a practical approach and techniques to planning and managing projects” (p. Shenhar. organization design consultant. 1968). Wilemon & Ciero. 7). individual development and career consultant. Butler. Key emphases were project quality. and leadership (Baker. 1989. 1992. The expanding appeal of project management today is consistent with workplaces commonly focused on performance and which rely on ongoing growth whereby project management is utilized as an essential element for organizational success. 2002). Fabi & Pettersen. and (d) project management alignment of human resources. (b) project team issues (Butler. 2001). and budgeting. learning program specialist. 2001. (2002) declared that. HRD is defined in a variety of ways including as the “integrated use of training and development. HR systems designer and developer. career development. and researcher. instructor/facilitator. 2002). 1976. Egan / HRD PROJECT MANAGEMENT 315 human resource period emphasized resources and managerial concerns in the context of organizational projects. Kerzner. 1983. demands for immediate results. (c) project manager competencies (Casey. 1968). p. and a dramatic pace of change.. 1992. 1978. “all too often. Hodgetts. Murphy.Carden. 1973. & Fisher. performance consultant. 2000). timeliness. organization change consultant. Butler. The human resource aspects of project management emphasized during this period included: (a) resource allocation (Archibald. 2001). Zimmer & Yasin. More recent years of project management have involved a focus on the increasingly dynamic contexts that are often technology driven and involve sophisticated support tools. More current literature also focuses on greater emphases on performance improvement. and (d) project leadership competencies. 1998). Findings from large-scale studies have led to the identification of a number of HRD-related roles by McLagan (1996) including HRD strategic advisor. 2004. During 1990s. 1972. and mutually dependent contexts whereby calls for systematic approaches to project management research have paralleled recent claims regarding the influence of some research on project management outcomes (Kloppenborg & Opfer. Project management has evolved into complex. and organization development to improve individual effectiveness” (McLagan. 1992. 1973. . Performance and resource-based publications identified include: (a) organizational structures and project performance (PMI Global Standard. Gullett. 1970). & Means. 231).

A project management system is a key element to HRD and OD interventions (McLean. 1998. establishing an effective approach to project management is essential in the early stages of action research and OD and throughout implementation of HRD-related interventions. (c) CD. Although HRD and project management practice and literature have greatly expanded over recent decades. A review of the emerging project management literature included research that was related to broad areas of industries including banking. cost. According to McLean (2006). A thematic review of the literature noting project management and HRD connections included articles divided into several sections. and particularly (a) failure statistics. 2001. Summary of Literature Researchers suggest that projects fail to deliver quality products because of inadequate planning. 2000). lack of alignment with resources and deliverables. controlling. 1997). Gilley et al. The literature integrating project management and HRD provides a means for planning. (b) OD. inadequate change management. Many definitions of HRD (see Weinberger. Understanding the scope of literature exploring project management and HRD connections is important for HRD and organizational success and project management itself is an essential frame through which organizational action can be examined. 4-1). 2006). pharmaceutical.316 Human Resource Development Review / September 2008 The need to better understand and execute project undertakings led to the development of the field of project management which. Werner & DeSimone. and insufficient feedback processes (Cicmil. To that end. and (e) organization theory. Woodall. p. There are numerous HRD activities and interventions requiring project managers and appropriate project management approaches (Fuller. . project management and HRD connections and emerging project management are operationalized in organizational settings because of the need to ensure that project planning and execution are aligned with strategic goals to support resource requirements and to assist in successful change management deliverables. 2006). often engages at the point of intersection between scholars and practitioners. similar to HRD. the intersection of these two areas has not been comprehensively examined. (d) leadership. (2002) positioned project management as central for the success of HRD implementation. quality. 2001) and even more HRD texts and articles frame HRD interventions as projects or emphasize processes and outcomes in a manner that aligns with project management (Swanson & Holton. The Project Management Institute (PMI) defines project management as “the art of directing and coordinating human and material resources throughout the life of the project by using modern management techniques to achieve predetermined objectives of scope. These sections summarize each of the systematically selected articles for project management and HRD literature connections. and participant satisfaction” (PMI Standards Committee. 1987. time. and executing project initiatives.

and organization theory. CD. (c) project management– specific research and findings. and (d) a discussion of related project management tools. HRD and Project Management Five HRD–project management intersections were identified in the review—failure statistics. those publications associated with intersections between project management and HRD are reported as follows. . advertising. These sections summarize each of the systematically selected articles from emerging project management literature. healthcare. OD. safety. leadership. Figure 1 includes the related articles divided into several sections including: (a) project management related models. (b) project management–related theories. legal. and emerging manufacturing and industrial sectors (Kerzner. Egan / HRD PROJECT MANAGEMENT 317 NeoInstitutional Temporary Organization Signaling Detection Theory Action In Project Queuing Knowledge Flow Resource Based Theories Project Planning and Controlling Human Resource Management Human Resource Management Project Management and HRD Literature Models Scheduling Tools Performance Communication and Technology Research Quality Management Human Resources Leadership Organization Development Career Development Project Outcomes FIGURE 1: Project Management and HRD Literature: Key Themes consulting. 2001). Of the aforementioned articles.Carden.

The latter has clear implications for . poor or no planning. In addition. reasons for project failures and the results were assessed. communication. inappropriate team. p. ineffective controls. projects failed and 83% of U. In addition. Gutteridge (1986) reported “career development represents the outcomes created by the integration of individual career-planning activities with institutional career management processes” (p. use of new technology. Project management and OD activities are geared toward a systematic execution of activities with the end goal of successful integration and participation from all work streams within an organization (Henderson. The subprocesses of career planning include job choice. 80% of the U. The reasons for project failure identified include: “inadequate definition. 2005). 77% of U. therefore. based on the findings from this study. wrong leader. projects had no project management conceptual framework and U. 2001). The survey findings reported that the top seven foundational skills within OD include: project management. problem solving. Organization development. 17). organization choice. experts cited poor project scope definition and loss of control during the design and implementation phases as the explanation for cost overruns (IPMA. OD consultants work with project managers to develop activities including visioning. In the early 1990s. job assignment. projects failed.K. 2001. HRD-related efforts are identified as clear solutions to project management improvement. unrealistic timescale” (IPMA. “co-creating strategic OD engagements with project managers who know its genesis can be a boon for OD consultants in affecting significant change” (p. scope not defined. According to Henderson. Henderson (2005) reported the findings of a survey of members within the OD and Change Division of the Academy of Management. reflecting. There was an identified need to more clearly identify critical success factors (CSFs) in the early stages of projects so that project success and failure could be better understood. Project management provides a framework in which to define OD engagement requirements. 54). By analyzing project success data made available to the 15th International Project Management Association (IPMA) World Congress. 14). 866).318 Human Resource Development Review / September 2008 Failure statistics.K. More specifically. Career development. poor communication. and self-development. presentation and education. Because the central reason for project failures identified points to the potential impact of project management learning and development on project management success. and safeguarding to alleviate time constraint pressures.S. CD in the identified literature focused both on CD for those in project management roles and organizational decision making about individuals associated with project management initiatives. collaborative work. conceptualizing. career planning includes the identification and selection of individuals to align job skills with job assignments.S. “project professionals are significantly trained to use logical and systematic methods to plan and control projects” (p. and coaching skills.

“even where the project group is small and members have to draw upon the resources of supporting independent organizations. The project manager directs the implementation of the initiative and as such “must have a high tolerance for ambiguity.. and (b) the longer the project time frame the larger the team size. The CRD provides a framework for selecting appropriate human resources. team size. and the greater the perception that the manager selected the project. Leadership. decisions which tie directly to the CD opportunities for managers and employees. as an increasing number of organizations expand their global operations. According to Manley (1975). Moskowitz. and project risks. Egan / HRD PROJECT MANAGEMENT 319 the CD of employees selected for organizational projects as involvement in successful project management initiatives are not only important individual CD experiences but also often lead to new career opportunities. 167). 2003. certain project variables such as project objectives. a good working . project leader efforts are integrated within the informal organizational structure overriding formal communication requirements. Findings from the study included the following conclusions: Project managers are not overly affected by internal market mechanisms or constraints on face-to-face interactions. and Lee (2003). (c) determining learning methods for candidates. frequency of team changes and project duration play significant roles in the relationship between the project leaders and his/her perception of project difficulties (p. resource selection is important to project management because resources drive project completion. traditional chains of command tend to be ignored” (p. there is a need to identify and select qualified managerial candidates for oversees projects. “an integrated. These research findings suggest that (a) there is no relationship between leadership styles and perceived influence on project time frames and delegated and selected number of projects. The systematic method identified includes (a) identification of expatriate candidates. Lee-Kelley (2002) reported on a survey of project manager leadership styles and management of changing project boundaries and related interfaces. project duration. p. There is often not a clear career path for moving from a management position to a temporary project management position. 180).Carden. and (d) identifying thinking styles of candidates. According to Tsai. More specifically. 2001). There is also a need to implement a systematic method to organize identification and selection of expatriates (Harvey & Novicevic. During the enactment of the project plan. 461). The authors suggest the use of computational approaches applying their resource-based view of project management. in which a critical resource diagram (CRD)” is recommended as an early part of the project design (Tsai et al. The openness presented to managers of key projects allows them to access to stakeholders. efficient computational method based on design of experiments to solve the software resource selection problem. However. reducing project costs. (b) analysis of candidate competencies. For instance.

consummate ‘people’ skills. articles identified to be undertaking in emerging areas of project management were also examined. project management is used to accomplish non-recurring goals bound by time. 1994). and a strong desire to be where the action is” (p. functional and project managers have equal authority and as such creates opportunities for conflict (de Laat. Each of the sections above summarized project management articles from HRD-related journals. “project management is ideally unbounded by organizational hierarchies. resources. projects are temporary initiatives and can be viewed structurally as a company within a company. risk management has been couched as one of the functions that should be planned and managed in software development initiatives to ensure project success. McGrew and Bilotta (2000) demonstrated that signal detection theory (SDT) can be used to gather data in which to minimize the impacts of intervention and response bias on risk management plan. processes. More specifically. a general understanding of the various technologies. 180). there is a need for more empirical analysis to determine which organizational structure is more conducive for the industry or organization type. p. Another key consideration associated with project management success is structural support within the system or organization in which the project is being undertaken. 11). Organization theory. 182). structures. place (or situation). Temporary organization has emerged as a theory reifying modern-day experiences of organizational life as a collection of projects and activities rather than a monolithic deployment of a whole system strategy (Packendorff. the number of articles was limited. p. In the balanced matrix approach. . According to Manley (1975). The balanced matrix approach to structuring an organization has been championed as one of the organizational frameworks that produce more efficient project work. 1975. the unbiased estimator enables comparisons across projects and facilitates the effectiveness of risk management plans. and line-of-authority. and particular scopes of work” (Henderson. 1975). 1995). Therefore. Associated with organization structure. To identify additional areas that may inform these connections.320 Human Resource Development Review / September 2008 understanding of basic management principles. As a practice. The summary of these articles and a figure encapsulating themes from all identified articles is featured below. 2005. Although each contributed to the framing of HRD and project management connections. Because of the ways in which projects may span cross-functionally. One of the most important impacts of a project management structure is that it provides a framework for linking planning and implementation functions (Manley. Projects can be conceptualized from a systematic perspective including “a system composed of multiple interdependent subsystems and its members devote much of their initial effort toward gaining an understanding of the nature of the interdependence as well as the impact of the environment” (Manley.

1981). Four key themes from the literature are reviewed (models. The next section examines theoretical elements in identified literature. The articles identified provided project management– related models that examined resource allocation. tools. For the purposes of this study. 2004.Carden. Based on thematic analysis. data management. communication. Models have typically been used as a process to control. human resource management models are focused on developing teams as well as team members with an emphasis on enhancing and supporting performance. p. project roles. track. project management scholarship has been focused on traditional areas such as construction and engineering. conflict management. emerging project management literature is defined as articles identified in a systematic search of literature (discussed earlier) that are situated in nontraditional project management contexts/industries. personality characteristics. and management activities. reporting relationships. Models. and research) are explored. performance tracking. In addition. steps. Theories. 2001). a model “provides a framework with which organizations can conduct a formal assessment of their current project management capabilities and. Project management is considered an evolving field of study and as such does not have a fully established theoretical background (Jugdev. Egan / HRD PROJECT MANAGEMENT 321 Emerging Project Management Literature For the most part. project life cycle is a construct that has developed as a model for organizational processes including decision priorities (Smith. cost control. models are used by project managers and project team members as frameworks to increase the efficiency of project activities and resources (Kerzner. For example. More specifically. determine action plans (change initiatives) that need to be completed to improve project performance” (Kendra & Taplin. but it has been broadening to cover a larger number of industries and contexts. Project management often integrates theories from other well-established . and implement a series of phases. & Summer. More specifically. 199) including processes that are related to human resource planning. More specifically. developing the project team. For example. 43). 2004). Mitchell. Human resource project management includes the processes “that organize and manage the project team” (PMI Global Standard. data management. thereby. p. and managing the project team. models provide structure and organization for scheduling. 1985) and productivity criteria (Cameron & Whetton. training. or patterns. acquiring the project team. and reporting capabilities (Kerzner. 2001). and learning or knowledge development. identified models were divided into project planning and control models and human resource management models. coordinating. updating tasks. 2004. team-building activities. project planning and control processes and cycles include scheduling. Project planning and control models focus on strategic goal execution using quality improvement for planning. theories. and executing project tasks.

avoiding tautologies. life cycle. psychology. The theory is predicated on a dynamic perspective of knowledge as a solution. temporary organization. 2003). The premise of this theory is based on the enactment by individuals and emphasis is placed on “investigating the expectations that form the action base. and flow time” (Snider & Nissen. The studies. Seven theoretical perspectives associated with project management were gleaned from identified literature including: neoinstitutional organization theory. queuing theory. some project management theories have been constructed using basic topics including “the use of a common terminology and frameworks. p.322 Human Resource Development Review / September 2008 disciplines/fields including management. 2003. related to projects as action systems. Levy and Shlomo (1997) suggested a queuing-theory approach to minimizing frequent delays and cost overruns. institutions are reduced to a set of projects that are considered as tasks to be accomplished. 329-330). 11). 1995. More specifically. Neoinstitutional organization theory defines projects as tasks to be accomplished and is based on the premise that projects are institutions that are reproduced based on actions implemented during previous experiences (Packendorff. Several approaches to theory development or clarification take the form of analogies. The theory includes four dimensions that are focused on knowledge flow including “explicitness. and transformational–transactional leadership. p. For example. 1995). As stated by Jugdev (2004). 2004. The interest in queuing theory is motivated by the belief that the understanding of causes and interactions creating congestion and delay is important to the effective design of congestion-control algorithms. Action in project theory focuses on the “human interaction within the project organization leading to the outcome of the project” (Packendorff. integrated relationships. 1997). or systematic procedures. 330). . facts. target the actual individual behavior rather than the expected behavior. and the merits of analogies” (Jugdev. 16). Snider and Nissen further argued that knowledge-flow framework “provides a more enhanced approach to project management research and theory development that provided by project management BOK [body of knowledge]” (p. reach. In addition. patterns. action in project theory. and as socially created (Snider & Nissen. and operations. The authors introduce the queuing penalty to quantify the penalty for delays and frequent cost overruns of parallel executed projects. the authors reported that there is no practical way to totally avoid the penalty but that the goal is to minimize the penalty. The theory was famous during the 1980s and purports that the conceptions related to tasks are not unique and can be associated with numerous entities. and trends” (p. a resourcebased view. human behavior. Approaches to reduce the queuing penalty include minimizing cost by maintaining on schedule projects and to minimize the idleness of high-capacity cost groups (Levy & Shlomo. 15). pp. “theories are important because they help explain and predict events. Snider and Nissen (2003) introduced a knowledge-flow approach to project management. knowledge flow. as experience. and the learning that occurs as a result of the action” (p. 7). rather than viewing organizations holistically as linear mechanistic systems.

analogies. and theories and thus is useful in identifying practices and applications that are useful for project initiatives. McGrew and Bilotta (2000) demonstrated that signal detection theory can be used to gather data in which to minimize the impacts of intervention and response bias on risk management plans. Research. The literature further provides suggestions for researchers. Furthermore. p. these theories provide interesting frameworks by which to examine project management and point to future opportunities for theory development and research. More specifically. “project managers need to pay more attention to the progress of their project and forestall any problems rather than just being reactive problem solvers” (Barber & Warn. p. In addition. trends. 7). the unbiased estimator (or true approximations for the project being assessed) enables comparisons across project and facilitates the effectiveness of risk management plans. including monitoring project plans and budgets. project management uses generally accepted knowledge and priorities to execute projects and as such there is interest in the patterns. signaling theory can be used effectively to describe success in software development initiatives. encouraging project team members to complete project tasks. 1032). methodologies. and frameworks to implement strategic initiatives. In addition. . Barber and Warn (2005) discussed the leadership requirements for project managers by reviewing the literature and developing a framework to link transaction and transformation leadership styles. and future directions in which to frame project planning and execution. Egan / HRD PROJECT MANAGEMENT 323 Turner and Müller (2003) framed a discussion about the project viewed through the lens of organization theory. and aligning project strategies and goals with internal and external objectives. and abstract (mathematical) relationships. Jugdev (2004) focused on project management as a strategic asset that must be maintained and extended by using business processes. The section that follows explores project management research as identified by the aforementioned search process. reductionist (simpler) concepts. Research builds on the literature. The findings report that proactive leadership is more success driven than reactive decisions. novel and transient endeavor managing the inherent uncertainty and need for integration in order to deliver beneficial objectives of change” (Turner & Müller. as it relates to advancing the maturity of the project management profession. Jugdev (2004) created a resource-based theory of project management based on Arnoult’s (1972) classification of theories including metaphors. the role of the project manager is flexible and includes identifying and communicating project tasks. More specifically.Carden. models. She compared the genomes of humans to an organization’s tangible resources entitled “strategic asset genome” (p. 2003. 22). As outlined in Figure 1. The authors contended that within existing organization theory a project can be defined as “a temporary organization to which resources are assigned to undertake a unique. Furthermore. 2005.

The research that has focused on leadership and CD suggest that certain leadership styles and skills are needed to successfully drive projects to completion and that those skills can either be learned and developed through activities. within scope. 1990). Pinto and Prescott conducted a field study including survey data from project managers from manufacturing and service industries. monitoring and feedback. personnel. leadership.324 Human Resource Development Review / September 2008 Project management research has focused on (a) human resource issues including competencies. and within budget. top management support. research has focused more on human resource issues. technical tasks. client consultation. Packendorff (1995) posited that research needs to focus more on action in projects to study human resource issues. project managers utilize tools and techniques along with people to ensure quality deliverables are on time. and CD. 315). (b) leadership. Pinto (1998) posited that project management and politics are linked and that the project manager’s job is not only to handle technical issues but to also manage project team and stakeholder behaviors. functional lines. teamwork and relationships. the project manager needs strong communication and interpersonal skills” (p. human resource management. and communication. These six areas have been included in Figure 1 as research categories. leadership. client acceptance. Pinto and Prescott reported that project planning was the thrust for project success and should be monitored throughout the project. and trouble-shooting” (p. communication. Therefore. (e) project outcomes. Additional findings revealed that tactics were important as CSFs only during the execution phase of the project life cycle (Pinto & Prescott. (c) CD. The findings from the study revealed that project success should be regarded as a multiple-factor construct rather than a single construct. The assessment of the project implementation has been evaluated from a variety of positions and based on multiple criteria including quadruple constraint (Pinto & Prescott. and (f) quality management. including conflict resolution. Project management research has primarily focused on the factors that determine project outcomes including a project’s success or failure. The phases of a project include task and quality activities that sequentially guide the project from initiation to close out. (d) OD. “The project manager is responsible for coordinating and integrating activities across multiple. schedule/plans. since 1992. Pinto and Prescott (1990) have expanded the measures to include criteria related to quadruple constraints and include “project mission. The basis of this idea is that the combination of action and knowledge can improve the quality of projects by focusing on integration. there is a connection of knowledge and action that can be used to frame behaviors from a practical view based on a quality-control . 9) and leadership and technical skills in which to lead the project team and organization to implementation. Furthermore. More specifically. responsibilities. Project management methodology is used to strategically frame the activities of the project manager and project team to reduce project failures and to ultimately achieve quality based on continuously improving processes. According to Kerzner (2001). 1990). and incompatibility and misalignment of authority. In order to do this.

and time associated with project completion. The review confirmed that. It is also clear that the literature reflects a few types of interaction between project management and HRD. and manage project risks. tools. Therefore. and the external environment. 1997. Performance tools entitled quality assurance have been developed to control the outcomes based on limits including speed. 741) based on past experiences and internal and external factors need to be considered as a part of the framework for project implementation (Chatzoglou & Macaulay. Figure 1 encapsulates 4 major themes and 19 subthemes from our systematic review of literature. (c) GANTT chart. costs. reduce. p. 174). Limitations and Implications for HRD Several limitations regarding available studies were determined in the literature reviewed along with some clear opportunities for future HRD-related . although limited. There are clear examples in the literature highlighting not only the relevance of project management in specific HRD contexts but also a need for conceptual and theoretical development regarding project management and project management lifecycles in HRD. (b) critical path method. 1997). and meeting project deliverables on time and within budget (Kerzner. and report findings to maintain a dynamic balance with the organization.Carden. Performance tools are used to assist in increasing project performance. Project-scheduling tools include: (a) program evaluation and review techniques. Egan / HRD PROJECT MANAGEMENT 325 leader actively engaging in transactions to plan. Communication and technology tools are used to communicate the processes and procedures to human resources and to transfer knowledge. Project-scheduling tools are used to manage the activities. some proponents of project management methodology suggest that “disciplined management processes” (Kerzner. and quality. managing masses of data. Tools. Each of the tools uses a different technique for tracing time control. The tools facilitate identification of stakeholders with an emphasis on their roles and influences. performance. technology tools are used as a means to visualize. and (d) milestone chart (Lai. both HRD and project management connections are featured in HRD literature and that emerging literature in project management also has relevance for HRD. scheduling. and communication and technology. organize. Planning and monitoring tools assist project teams in coping with complex management and organizational decisions. In terms of HRD-project management connections. 1997). In addition. Tools are used throughout various phases of the project and include planning and monitoring. Tools have been developed as “some mechanisms to ensure that even the smallest activity moves towards the ultimate goal: successful project completion” (Lai. 2001. performance. 2001). monitor. resources. p. our review points to a number of opportunities to enhance the literature examining project management utilization in the context of HRD.

there is a need for more narrowly organized research and theory building associated with project management in HRD contexts. Many of the studies reported used cross-sectional designs exploring project management from a fixed point in time. several studies used small. opportunities for theory building in HRD are numerous. we have concluded that the development of a HRD project management conceptual framework would be beneficial. Studies using other than quantitative approaches are warranted. appears to be transferable to HRD contexts. based on their analyses. there was a void of qualitative inquiry presented.326 Human Resource Development Review / September 2008 research. research. there is much room for the development of project management overall and there is an absence of conceptual or theoretical model that examines key elements associated with HRD project management success. a common method to collect participant data in many studies increased possibilities for overstated relationship between constructs. nonrandom. the theory-based studies utilized needed to be repeated in many cases for utilizing the aforementioned sampling and methodological improvements. it is important that these transferable concepts are elaborated in the context of HRD. It should also be noted that although important to this line of investigation. the three overarching aspects needing to be addressed in the development are: (a) the absence of a common framework and explicit assumptions in support of HRD theory building. available literature is simply falling short regarding project management in HRD. In addition. however. structural equation modeling path analysis that compliment a more complex examination of the multiple factors that may contribute to project management in HRD generally and project success at the leadership. Accordingly. project management literature. there is much more that can be done to contribute to the elaboration of project management in human resource contexts. Our approach was influenced by the aforementioned authors. Welsh. models and tools. As Torraco (2004) expounded. In addition. A Conceptual Framework for HRD Project Management Although a handful of articles identified featured some elements of HRD–project management connections and the nontraditional project management literature also provided some relevant insights. Similarly. and Hezlett (2003) undertook HRD-related literature reviews and. Joo (2005) and Wanberg. Despite the limited amount of this kind of literature. proposed conceptual frameworks in support of future research in their respective areas of investigation. team member. including a large amount of project management theories. The results from this systematic search of the literature point to a clear need for longitudinal designs and more advanced statistics such as multivariate analysis. (b) the lack of well-tested . Although several related theories were identified. From the practice perspective. or unclearly described sampling techniques. In several cases. and environmental characteristics levels along with more specifically defined project management processes and outcomes.

it was important to first consider key elements in the conceptualization of project management in HRD. For the purposes of focus. the conceptual framework and related propositions were an introductory attempt to illustrate some of the key factors associated with HRD project management. or organizational level. Van de Ven (2007) advanced a systematic process for engaging theoretically based research studies: (a) analyze the situation or problem as it occurs naturalistically. leadership. As with the aforementioned examples we address the first two steps in the Van de Ven process. propositions and related rationale are presented in Table 2. Based on the conceptual model. 2001. the unique elements associated with HRD efforts and the interdependence between HRD intervention success and related project management are important considerations—particularly as project management knowledge relates to HRD outcomes.Carden. and organization theory. Egan / HRD PROJECT MANAGEMENT 327 HRD theory-building approaches. 2000). and HRD intervention evaluation. and (c) a need for shared understanding regarding core concepts of HRD theory and theory building (Lynham. Conclusion We reported key findings related to exploring HRD-related areas with explicit connections to project management and an emerging nontraditional project management literature that has implications for HRD–project management connections. (b) decide upon a research question and conceptual model to address the situation or problem. HRD is conceptualized in terms of an intervention which is consistent with HRD and related action research literature (McLean. The overarching factors examined in the conceptual framework address these process steps through consideration of relevant antecedents. The conceptual framework (Figure 2) is organized for the purposes of focusing on key steps or issues associated with project management of HRD. OD. 2006)—HRD intervention development. group. theoretical and conceptual development regarding project management in HRD has relevance for the field and is in need of explication. In addition. HRD–project management explicit connections included findings related to failure statistics. Swanson & Holton. outcomes proximal to the HRD intervention project. and (d) execute a research study and analyze findings toward development of a solution. 2006. Werner & DeSimone. 335) . As examined above. and distal outcomes associated with the scope of the project at the individual. although theories associated with project management have been identified. Overall. There is more work that can be done by considering the potential impact of general project management literature for some of the variables and propositions outlined. Although there is an ongoing possibility that project management knowledge from the general project management literature and practice can inform project management in HRD. (c) utilize an appropriate theory or theory-building approach and design a study to examine the research question. HRD intervention deployment. CD. process issues. the (text continued on p. however. HRD intervention implementation.

328 FIGURE 2: A Conceptual Framework for Successful HRD Project Management .

2001).TABLE 2: Propositions Rationale and Support Propositions for a Conceptual Framework for Successful HRD Project Management Model Category Variable Antecedents P1: The greater a project manager's knowledge. There is much room for exploration regarding teams and HRD project success. abilities. Kendra and Taplin (2004) reported the experiences and knowledge of project team members positively impact project outcomes. An important element needing further examination is the extent to which successful HRD implementation is actually a mixture of HRD practitioner's professional judgment and project management-related skills that extend HRD-sponsored programs/efforts to reality. and no HRD-related studies were identified. project manager qualifications and attitudes likely influence project outcomes (Casey. In addition. proactivity. P1: Although there is limited research. Chou. the more positive impact on HRD project outcomes. responsiveness. Project manager characteristics Project team characteristics P2: The greater the project team members’ knowledge. and Jiang (2005) found that project manager experiences positively impact project outcomes. and experience. including large-scale HRD-related research. proactivity. abilities skills. P2: Given the scope and complexity of many HRDrelated projects. Wang. as project management and implementation are often closely related. it is logical that team management is a central element for success. responsiveness. (continued) 329 . 1978. and experience. It is likely that better project management makes for better HRD professionals. Gullett. Although HRD-related studies associated with team HRD project management. 1972. skills. Kerzner. the more positive impact on HRD project outcomes.

Hodgetts. 1983. There is a need to examine alignment with HRD project contexts. and experience. 1972. 1968). Pinto and Prescott (1990) and Jugdev and Müller (2005) reported that project success is based on stakeholder involvement including stakeholder support. leadership. yields better project outcomes (Baker et al. Although not directly associated with HRD projects.. support. and responsiveness. proactivity. Gullett. and responsibility.TABLE 2: Propositions Rationale and Support (continued) 330 P3a: The greater the organizational stake-holder readiness. 2006). the more positive impact on HRD project outcomes. most readiness-related commentary has been anecdotal. 1973. and stakeholder acceptance demonstrated through readiness. Butler. P3a: Although the HRD-related literature has suggested that readiness is essential to HRD interventions (Miller. the better the outcome. P3b: According to Semler (1997). including authority. Available research suggests that alignment of structure and environment. P3b: The more aligned the organization structure and environment in support of the HRD project. buy-in. Madsen. it is also important for shared participation in complex projects involving multiple stakeholders. responsiveness. and readiness from the HRD project perspective has yet to be thoroughly considered. stakeholder consultation. organizational alignment is a key element for HRD success. (continued) Model Category Variable Organization stakeholder characteristics . Although the alignment perspective may often be used to describe conceptual buy-in. proactivity. & John.

will clearly benefit the field. positively influence project outcomes (Jiang. including processes used to plan. (continued) . control.TABLE 2: Propositions Rationale and Support (continued) Model Category Variable Process P4: Utilization of structured project management approaches or practice models and early determination of critical success factors (CSFs) will positively influence HRD project outcomes. 1998). 2001) understanding the utilization of specific models toward effective HRD implementation has been understudied. P6: Although there is some evidence that leadership behavior and project team behaviors positively influence project outcomes (Jiang et al. there is little beyond anecdotal and prescriptive support in terms of the role of leadership for HRD and HRD-related projects. Project management approach and/or Practice models utilized Project management tools P5: Utilization of relevant project management tools will positively influence HRD project success. Leadership and project team dynamics 331 P6: Proactivity and low avoidance behaviors among team leadership and members will positively influence HRD project outcomes. 2000. Kendra & Taplin.. 2004) and have led to initial understanding regarding appropriate approaches to general project management. Zimmer & Yasin. The extent to which project management tools outlined in the review of literature assist in the maximization of HRD project performance and HRD implementation have yet to be systematically explored. positively influence project success. or development and testing of integrated HRD project management models. including performance measurement systems. P5: According to Kendra and Taplin (2004) tools. 2006. and execute contracts. 2000. P4: Although numerous models have been used to explicate key HRD concepts and practices (McLean. & Means. Comparing and contrasting current HRD practice models and the project management components associated with them. Klein. Swanson & Holton. Utilization of project management approaches.

there is currently little to inform HRD professionals regarding these important practice intersections. including stakeholder expectations and of critical success factors. P8: On-time execution and/or appropriate time adjustments for project execution will positively influence HRD project outcomes. however. 2004). PMI Global Standard. no identified studies examined the elements/barriers contributing to HRD project timeliness and the specific impact such timeliness or lack of timeliness may have on HRD success. Kendra and Taplin (2004) suggested that positive project outcomes are predicated on on-time execution of initiatives. P9: Pinto (1998) and PMI Global Standard (2004) maintained the importance of alignment between project and project management execution techniques to influence project outcomes. P8: There have been few researchers or practitioners who have systematically explored the role of timeliness and on-time delivery for HRD projects.TABLE 2: Propositions Rationale and Support (continued) Model Category Variable 332 P7: Available project management literature suggests project techniques and tools appropriately applied to project activities reinforce ongoing environmental scanning and adaptation to project environments to ensure project success (Kendra & Taplin. 2004. will positively influence HRD project outcomes. In related project management literature. P7: Ongoing use of environmental scanning and adaptation to changes in the project environment. P9: Alignment between HRD intervention objectives and project management execution overall will influence perceptions of HRD project success. (continued) Project team responsiveness to environmental change Proximal outcomes Project timeliness Project alignment with objectives . Because of the absence of exploration regarding HRD and project management intersections.

P12: Objective and subjective HRD project success will have a positive impact on HRD intervention success. Distal outcomes Intervention success 333 P10: Well-executed HRD processes supported by appropriate project management logically create a better likelihood for project execution which stakeholders embrace. HRD-related examples have yet to be examined in the literature. More study is needed. (continued) . Christenson and Walker (2004) emphasized the importance of using project management techniques to positively influence stakeholder perceptions and intervention outcomes. Kendra and Taplin (2004) emphasized that project success will have a positive influence on the organization and perceptions of organizational efforts. Project team learning P11: Project team learning throughout the HRD project will have a positive impact on perceived outcomes of the project and on future project team performance. P11: HRD literature has long emphasized team and organizational learning and the importance of these elements for organizational performance. it is proposed that the intervention itself is likely to be viewed as successful.TABLE 2: Propositions Rationale and Support (continued) Model Category Variable Quality of project execution P10: Project management efforts that led to HRD intervention implementation will have a positive impact on proximal stakeholder perceptions and general intervention outcomes. Although not examined in the context of HRD. The absence of systematic studies exploring the impact of project management implementation on intervention outcomes points to the need for further study of this phenomenon. results reported by Thiry (2001) pointed to a relationship between learning and performance outcomes. P12: When an HRD project is perceived to be well executed in ways that lead to a focused HRD intervention. Thiry introduced a model that integrated team learning with performance within the project management framework.

Well-implemented HRD-related efforts with an emphasis on the key elements identified in Figure 2 above create a greater likelihood for related organizational success. Organizational practices embracing action-reflection learning cycles create opportunities for learning about HRD project implementation and have the potential to contribute to future HRD project implementation strategies and outcomes. Resulting organizational success P13: Schindler and Eppler (2003) researched the use of lessons learned sessions after project implementations to positively impact organization. aided by effective HRD project management. will positively impact organizational/group/individual performance. P15: Objective and subjective HRD intervention success will positively impact organizational success. P14: Kendra and Taplin (2004) and PMI Global Standard (2004) posited that project management can be used as a framework to impact interventions including team and organizational performance. and individual learning. P15: Pinto (1998) suggested that future organizational success is predicated on the use of project management techniques to implement successful organizational interventions. aided by effective HRD project management. effective project management associated with the deployment of HRD efforts is likely to result positive performance outcomes. Assuming the HRD approach aligns well with organizational needs. will positively impact organizational/group/ individual learning. Intervention-related performance improvement P14: A successful HRD intervention. team.334 Propositions Rationale and Support TABLE 2: (continued) Model Category Variable Intervention-related learning P13: A successful HRD intervention. .

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