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International Journal of Project Management 26 (2008) 38–43 www.elsevier.com/locate/ijproman

Organisational project management: An historical approach to the study of PMOs
Monique Aubry *, Brian Hobbs 1, Denis Thuillier
Received 3 August 2007; accepted 9 August 2007

2

` ´ ´ ´ Universite du Quebec a Montreal Business School, Department of Management and Technology, Montreal (Quebec), Canada, H3C 3P8

Abstract This paper aims at providing a grounded theoretical foundation on which to base a better understanding of organisational project management. This paper delivers empirical evidence that project management offices (PMOs) and organisational project management can be understood as part of an historical process within an organisational context, departing from the traditional boundaries of positivist project management theory. The history of PMOs in four organisations is documented and analysed. The evolution of the organisations and their PMOs is punctuated with events, tensions and changes. An historical process provides a better basis for the development of a theory on PMOs and more globally on organisational project management. Ó 2007 Elsevier Ltd and IPMA. All rights reserved.
Keywords: PMO; Organisational project management; History; Process approach

1. Introduction Rethinking project management! This paper is aligned with the present vitality found in the movement to rethink the field of project management [1]. The project management research literature is opening up to new paradigms departing from the more traditional positivist approach. There are already propositions on the table to build new theories of project management [2,3]. Theorizing project management at the organisational level is also being pursued [4,5]. However, an integrating link at the organisational level that would integrate all parts…...

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