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Approaches to project management in Africa: Implications for international development projects
International journal of project management (2003)
  • Ndiritu Muriithi
  • Lynn Crawford
This paper investigates the applicability and relevance of project management approaches, tools and techniques in Africa. Project management is a field of practice that promotes a normative approach to the management of projects. It is codified in standards, tools and techniques, based primarily on experiences of practitioners in developed Western economies and relies extensively on assumptions of economic rationality. Such approaches are embodied in project management knowledge and practice guides of professional institutes (e.g. Project Management Institute and Association for Project Management) and occupational standards for project management endorsed by Australian and United Kingdom governments. The guides and standards have attracted considerable attention in developing and emerging economies, and from agencies concerned with international development, as they seek guidance in improving project performance and more effective use of resources. Using Africa as a case study, this paper explores the applicability of project management approaches, as represented in the most widely distributed and accepted knowledge and practice guides (PMBOK® Guide, APMBoK (4th edition) and Australian National Competency Standards for Project Management) to projects in developing and emerging economies. We have used research reviews and secondary analysis, to; explore Africa's cultural values, economic and political conditions, organisational environments, and evaluate project management effort and strategies. From this analysis, we have drawn initial conclusions concerning modifications or extensions required to existing project management standards and guides in order to increase their relevance and applicability for projects in Africa. Issues identified include: the need to cope with political and community demands on project resources, recognition that economic rationality and efficiency, assumed as a basis for many project management tools and techniques does not reflect local realities; and that use of such tools and techniques will not enhance project success if they run counter to cultural and work values. We have tested the findings from analysis of secondary data, against case studies of application in projects in East Africa and drawn final conclusions and implications for project management of international development projects. © Copyright Elsevier Ltd and IPMA, 2003
  • cross cultural project management
Publication Date
July 1, 2003
Citation Information
Ndiritu Muriithi and Lynn Crawford. "Approaches to project management in Africa: Implications for international development projects" International journal of project management Vol. 21 Iss. 5 (2003)
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