Preparing project managers for the human aspects of project work: fostering sensemaking abilities

Article


van der Hoorn, Bronte and Killen, Catherine P.. 2021. "Preparing project managers for the human aspects of project work: fostering sensemaking abilities." International Journal of Managing Projects in Business. 14 (6), pp. 1314-1334. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMPB-06-2020-0195
Article Title

Preparing project managers for the human aspects of project work: fostering sensemaking abilities

ERA Journal ID19203
Article CategoryArticle
Authorsvan der Hoorn, Bronte (Author) and Killen, Catherine P. (Author)
Journal TitleInternational Journal of Managing Projects in Business
Journal Citation14 (6), pp. 1314-1334
Number of Pages21
Year2021
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN1753-8378
1753-8386
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMPB-06-2020-0195
Web Address (URL)https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/IJMPB-06-2020-0195/full/html
Abstract

Purpose
To prepare project managers for the human aspects of project work using a new classroom-based approach to foster abilities in collective sensemaking.

Design/methodology/approach
The authors developed an approach for fostering collective sensemaking abilities through three class sessions inspired by Merrill's First Principles of Instruction. The authors implemented the sessions in two cohorts of students, with a total of 57 participants, and evaluated its impact through a series of surveys.

Findings
Findings demonstrated how each component of the educational approach contributed to an increase in students' sensemaking understanding and ability. Through explanation, demonstration and application components, students reported increasing levels of confidence in their ability to facilitate collective sensemaking in practice.

Research limitations/implications
The authors’ findings are based on a sample of 57 students in one university setting. Further studies are required to evaluate the educational approach; such studies could use larger numbers of students or other education settings. Triangulating students' reported understanding and abilities would increase confidence in the effectiveness of this approach.

Practical implications
By explaining the authors’ approach to sensemaking education and providing initial evidence of its success, they provide educators with an example of how to foster collective sensemaking through classroom-based project management education. The approach has potential for teaching other interpersonal skills.

Originality/value
This research provides a novel classroom-based approach to foster sensemaking awareness and skills, and for dispersing contemporary project management thinking and tools to practitioners.

Keywordsproject management education, project training, project practice, project-space model
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020359999. Other commerce, management, tourism and services not elsewhere classified
Byline AffiliationsSchool of Management and Enterprise
University of Technology Sydney
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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