Practitioner development: From trained technicians to reflective practitioners

Lynn Crawford, Peter Morris, Janice Thomas, Mark Winter

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

156 Citations (Scopus)


The EPSRC funded Rethinking Project Management Network produced several insights into new directions for project management theory and practise, highlighting gaps between current theory and practise in several areas. This paper reviews the discussions around project management practitioner development that arose out of this rethinking process where project management is seen as growing from a predominantly technical skill-set to a broader practise of reflectively managing the things needed to provide a successful project outcome. In particular, the paper identifies and addresses the challenges of developing competent project managers in a world exhibiting increasingly complex project challenges, and when skilled resources at all levels are often increasingly scarce. We provide examples of practical and academic initiatives that are designed to address these challenges: internal assessment and development programs, reflective practice thesis, and distance-based critical management MBA. We conclude by speculating on some of the further challenges in developing reflective practitioners that have yet to be resolved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)722-733
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Project Management
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Nov. 2006


  • Critical pedagogy
  • Project management careers
  • Project manager education
  • Reflective practise


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