Using reflection and storytelling to inform evidence-based decisions: An action research study of Australian project managers

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Conference Proceeding
58th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences, ISSS 2014, 2014
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The purpose of this paper is to examine decision-making in project management, and the considerations which project managers need to take into account in order to make informed evidence-based decisions. The specific aim of this paper is to present an understanding of how project managers use experiences, recalled through reflection and facilitated by storytelling, to make decisions. The paper provides an insight into how project managers may utilize decision-making approaches to accommodate a balance between factual observation, other evidence, a project manager's recollection and reconstruction of facts, and facts imbedded within experiences. The drive to embed formal, structured approaches to decision-making is discussed against a background of unstructured and informal interpretation of experiences. The research conducted by the author used an action research methodology to gather and analyze data through four interventions conducted with experienced project managers in Australia. The examination reveals that through reflecting on experiences relating to past projects, project managers make considered decisions. This approach to decision-making may be seen as paradoxical and interpreted as biased. Perhaps this is a valuable bias which may provide an opportunity to extend the premise of an evidence-based management approach where the aim is to reduce bias.
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