Sustainability as a new school of thought in project management

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 12
  • Abstract:

    Abstract: Sustainability is one of the most important challenges of our time. It is recognized that projects play a pivotal role in the realization of more sustainable business practices and a developing theme in project management research is the relationship between projects and sustainability. As the literature on this topic is evolving, this paper discusses the question whether the growing attention for sustainability in project management research represents a new ‘school of thought’ in project management? The study builds upon earlier work on schools of project management research, in which nine schools were identified. The question whether sustainability should be considered a new school of project management is answered by deriving the criteria for recognition as a school and performing a structured literature review on a sample of 71 articles on sustainability in project management, taken from the leading academic journals on this topic. As criteria for recognition as a school of project management, the criteria content, community and impact were found. After a content analysis of the articles in the sample, the conclusion is reached that sustainability qualifies a new, distinct and emerging school of thinking in project management. The defining characteristics of this sustainability school are: considering Projects in a societal perspective, having a Management for stakeholders approach, applying Triple bottom line criteria, and taking a Values based approach to projects and project management.