Academic journal article Economics & Sociology

Arising Need of Teachers to Actively Use Project Management Knowledge in Practice: The Case of the Czech Republic

Academic journal article Economics & Sociology

Arising Need of Teachers to Actively Use Project Management Knowledge in Practice: The Case of the Czech Republic

Article excerpt

Introduction

During past two decades project management has become one of the most popular management concepts mainly because of its applicability across industries (Whittington et al., 1999; Bryde, 2003; Lenfle, Loch, 2010). Various authors (e.g. Aram, Noble, 1999; Jaafari, 2003; Ives, 2005) agree that a key benefit of project management is its flexibility and ability to deal with complex problems, uncertainty and chaos. Its wide applicability and flexibility, as well as its capacity for quick response and numerous tools and techniques that can be employed during all phases of projects, enabled project management to displace traditional structures such as divisional and functional structures (Kerzner, 2010; Davies et al., 2011).

The Project Management Institute (PMI), one of the top professional associations in the world, identified seven project-intensive industries in which it expects the greatest growth of need of the project manager role. PMI (2013) states that just in those seven industries, between 2010 and 2020, nearly 16 million project managers will be needed worldwide. This demonstrates that the spread of project management practice has not stopped and that there is the potential for further application of project management across industries.

The continuous spread of project management is connected with a major problem - the project failure rate is high. Studies (Chong, 1993; Zimmerer, Yasin, 1998; e.g. Johnson, 2009; Pfeifer, 2010; Chen, Bozeman, 2012) show that, in general, approximately 7 out of 10 projects fail. Of these failed projects, 60% to 70% are caused by human factors, particularly insufficient leadership by project manager and poor risk management. With the rising number of project-based companies and institutions mentioned proportions of project failures have not been improving. Authors (Winter et al., 2006; Atkinson, 2008; Ojiako et al., 2011; Egginton, 2012) agree that project manager education needs a paradigm shift because the current methods of education no longer reflect needs of the practice.

On the one hand institutions across sectors have become aware of the importance of project management education and training (Winter et al., 2006; Egginton, 2012). On the other hand, institutions doubt the economic effectiveness of investment in employee education and training (McLinden, 1995; Wang, 2003; Lien et al., 2007). The crucial question for institutions is whether project management training would have an impact on project failure rates (Starkweather, Stevenson, 2011). The main focus of project management training on so-called hard skills has been questioned and authors agree on the importance of soft skills in relation to improvement of project failure rates. Another key discipline that is emphasized is project risk management (Pant, Baroudi, 2008; Buganza et al., 2013; Ramazani, Jergeas, 2014).

Risk management should be an integral part of project management. In project management we deal only with pure risk; that is, the risk of not completing the project (Davies, 2006; Tichý, 2006; Smejkal, Rais, 2006; Chapman, Ward, 2007). An enormous number of projects (approximately more than half of unsuccessful projcests) are unsuccessful for reasons given in the appropriate application of risk management to anticipate and solve. As regards the public sector, it is even more pronounced (Pfeifer, 2010; Chen, Bozeman, 2012).

Project risks can be classified as follows. The first division is based on the fact whether the risk arises within the project or company or whether it comes from the environment (Smejkal, Rais, 2006; Tichý, 2006; Kafka, 2009). These risks are further divided into:

* Internal risks coming or arising within the project or entity which realizes the project. These risks may be favourably affected by the project manager's appropriate intervention.

* External risks coming from the external environment and which the project manager cannot control. …

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