Political hybrids: Tocquevillean views on project organizations

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Journal Article
Journal of Management Studies, 2004, 41 (4), pp. 525 - 547
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For the past decade, project organization has become increasingly central to management and organization studies, particularly as these seek to discern the contours of post-modern organizations. Yet, these contours frequently seem to be sighted without bearings on the current realities of project management. In this paper we take such bearings, using data derived from detailed qualitative, ethnographic enquiry into the experience of project management. From this data we construct the contours of project management more sharply. Rather than being a harbinger of an autonomous and more democratic future, free from extant bureaucratic organization controls, we find that project management has distinct modalities of control that we outline in the paper: reputational, calculative, and professional. Indeed, rather than foreshadowing a future transformational form, we find traces of a much older design: that of de Tocqueville.
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