Modern Project Management

(ISSN: 2317-3963)

Governance terminology confusion in management and project management reference documents

Stephen Keith McGrath
University of Southern Queensland Australia
Stephen Jonathan Whitty Whitty
University of Southern Queensland Australia


This paper attempts to reduce confusion in project management practice by applying academic rigor to an evaluation of governance terminology in project and general management practitioner reference documents. It compares definitions in these documents against each other as well as against a set of previously published definitions of governance terms developed using a rigorous definitional refining method. It finds many inconsistencies in governance terminology between the reference documents analysed. These include the relationship with accountability, presumption of the joint-stock company model, inclusion of items considered unwarranted by the reference definitions and the means of handling legitimate inclusions. The existence of these inconsistencies indicates there is a need for general acceptance of a set of internally consistent governance terms and for these to be brought into the various practitioner reference documents. A set of terms is proposed. This paper contributes to the literature reviewing terminology in management and project management as well as the literature reviewing the veracity and interoperability of commercially available project management products. Projects, business and academic research can all benefit from removal of confusion from the definition of governance and related terms. This can potentially avoid waste of time, resources and money, facilitating building social and physical systems and infrastructure, benefitting organisations generally, whether public, charitable or private.

Keywords: governance, govern, definition, define, project management, review.



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