Original Research

Project governance: "Schools of thought"

Michiel Christiaan Bekker
South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences | Vol 17, No 1 | a595 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajems.v17i1.595 | © 2014 Michiel Christiaan Bekker | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 April 2013 | Published: 11 February 2014

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Michiel Christiaan Bekker, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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The terminology, definition and context of project governance have become a focal subject for research and discussions in project management literature. This article reviews literature on the subject of project governance and categorise the arguments into three schools of thought namely the single-firm school, multi-firm school and large capital school. The single-firm school is concerned with governance principles related to internal organisational projects and practice these principles at a technical level. The multi-firm school address the governance principles concerned with two of more organisations participating on a contractual basis on the same project and focus their governance efforts at the technical and strategic level. The large capital school consider projects as temporary organisations, forming their own entity and establishing governance principles at an institutional level. From these schools of thought it can be concluded that the definition of project governance is dependent on the type of project and hierarchical positioning in the organisation. It is also evident that further research is required to incorporate other governance variables and mechanisms such as transaction theory, social networks and agency theory. The development of project governance frameworks should also consider the complexity of projects spanning across international companies, across country borders and incorporating different value systems, legal systems, corporate governance guidelines, religions and business practices.


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