Modern Project Management

(ISSN: 2317-3963)

On Stupidity in Project Management - A critical reflection of PM in a VUCA world

Mogens Frank Mikkelsen
University of Copenhagen Denmark
Carl Marnewick
Professor University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Louis Klein
European School of Governance Germany


The culprit for project failure is the complexity that is associated with a project. Unfortunately, project complexity will be part and parcel of a project especially in a VUCA world. This implies then that projects will continuously fail as the culprit is not disappearing. However, the purpose of this paper is to show how complexity at times appears like an opaque conundrum, which allows hiding whatever in it, even stupidity. The analysis of 1064 datasets from a questionnaire-based survey on stakeholder complexity reveals that project stakeholders do not treat project complexity with the necessary respect that sometimes borders stupidity. The article highlights that project stakeholders do not apply common sense when dealing with project complexity. Our journey in understanding project complexity became a learning journey into stupidity and a critical reflection on our frivolous liaison with the VUCA world.

Keywords: Project complexity, Stupidity, VUCA.



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