The project as a socio-cultural system: Investigating humanitarian projects managed by volunteers in not-for-profit organisations

Monash University Publishing
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The Project as a Social System: Asia-Pacific Perspectives on Project Management, 2012, 1, pp. 36 - 46
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Non-profit organisations - also known as the third sector or non-government organisations - are playing an increasing role in the political, social and economic spheres of many countries around the world including Australia. This paper will usc the acronym NGO to refer to such organisations. Over the last two decades NGOs have become an object of considerable research interest. NGOs are responsible for several projects managed by volunteers, who may not be trained in project management methodologies. Efforts are now being made to help NGOs manage their projects more effectively. Some organisations have been set up in developing countries to help NGOs to be more effective in managing their affairs as they contribute Significantly to the social capital of these countries. A joint project to educate project managers in NGOs has been recently created as a collaborative effort between the Project Management Institute, Learning for International NGOs and several prominent NGOs who are concerned about the effectiveness of projects managed by volunteers in their organisations. However, academic research in the area has been scarce. This paper describes a study being undertaken by all Australian academic on the complexities of projects managed by a voluntary organisation called Rotary Medical Aid for Children.
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