A vision for a longer-term future: From project managers to “synthesists”?

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Conference Paper

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Citation only.

Stretton, A., & Crawford, L. (2011). A vision for a longer-term future: From project managers to "synthesists"? Paper presented at the 25th IPMA World Congress. Project management - Delivering the promise, Brisbane, Australia.

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2011 HERDC submission. FoR code: 120201

© Copyright Leishman Associates, 2011


This paper first gives a snapshot of how some articulate contributors to a broader future-oriented non-management literature perceive the growth of specialization of avocations/ professions. A primary drawback is seen to be a resultant lack of people who are fluent in the language of many different disciplines, and who have the ability to expertly integrate them to achieve broader societal goals – i.e. “synthesists”.

Project managers essentially integrate the contributions of many varied disciplines to achieve beneficial outcomes. Therefore project management appears to be extremely well placed to broaden its perspectives, and to develop and consolidate a role as “synthesists” in the broadest contexts. But it will need to do this before less well qualified people usurp this role.

This paper discusses this apparent opportunity in more detail. It also discusses some barriers which will need to be overcome if project management is to successfully develop into the much broader domain of professional “synthesists”.

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This document has been peer reviewed.