Projects in state development phases


Let’s talk about public projects!



By Stanisław Gasik

Warsaw, Poland


What is the role of projects in the operation of countries and their government? How does this role evolve over time? An attempt to address this query should consider the existing state development models and their evolution.

What are the different types of nations and governments, and how do they undergo change? Philosophers and scholars have been exploring these questions since ancient times. Even Plato, in his writings, discussed how governments transition from aristocracy to tyranny. A state can be categorized as Weberian hierarchical-bureaucratic, managerial (New Public Management), or seen as a collection of autonomous entities (New Public Governance). In 1776, Adam Smith classified societies as agrarian and industrial, and in 1967 and 2019, Daniel Bell introduced the post-industrial phase. Consequently, a prevalent model of state development distinguishes three phases: agrarian, industrial, and post-industrial. Walter Rostow (1960) outlined his state development model consisting of five phases, ranging from traditional agrarian societies to the mass consumption phase. According to Spruyt (2002), one of the most significant dynamics lies in the transition from pre-modernist states to modernist ones.

These are just a few examples of state classifications and development models. An important culmination of discussions on state and governance development is the Evolutionary Governance Theory proposed by Van Assche et al. (2014), which offers a comprehensive theoretical framework for describing the stages of state development.

In this article, I would like to explore the role of projects in the different stages of the evolution of states.

Base model

So, I was confronted with the task of selecting one of the existing models as the theoretical basis for these analyses. It’s widely acknowledged that all models are wrong (Box, 1976). Each model concentrates on the aspects of interest to the researcher while disregarding other facets of reality, rendering them incomplete. For instance, psychological behavioral models address human interactions with the environment but overlook cognitive processes. But Box’s statement goes on to say that some models are useful.

Can any of the existing models of state development be beneficial in elucidating the role of projects in the operation of the state? In my quest for such a model, I gave heed to the categorization of state development phases put forth by Richard Rose (1976) and subsequently refined by other scholars like Premfors (1999) and Rolland and Roness (2009).

According to this model, countries go through three development phases:

  • Protection of existence,
  • Infrastructure development, and
  • Ensuring the well-being of citizens.

This classification is crucial in terms of the participation of government and society in shaping and executing public policies.

Each successive phase carries out its tasks building upon the achievements of the preceding phases. Only a state that has secured its own existence can embark on the development of civic infrastructure. Ensuring the welfare of residents in a nation lacking advanced housing or transportation infrastructure would be challenging. Activities from previous phases are implemented also in the subsequent ones, but the ones that constitute the next phase take on essential significance.

In the subsequent sections, I elaborate on these developmental phases and the functions that projects fulfill within them.


To read entire article, click here

Editor’s note: This article series is related to the management of public programs and projects, those organized, financed and managed by governments and public officials.  The author, Dr. Stanisław Gasik, is the author of the book “Projects, Government, and Public Policy”, recently published by CRC Press / Taylor and Francis Group.  That book and these articles are based on Dr. Gasik’s research into governmental project management around the world over the last decade.  Stanisław is well-known and respected by PMWJ editors; we welcome and support his efforts to share knowledge that can help governments worldwide achieve their most important initiatives.

How to cite this paper: Gasik, S. (2023). Projects in state development phases. Let’s talk about public projects, series article, PM World Journal, Volume XII, Issue X, October. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/pmwj134-Oct2023-Gasik-Projects-in-state-development-phases.pdf

 About the Author

Stanisław Gasik, PhD, PMP

Warsaw, Poland


Dr. Stanisław Gasik, PMP is a project management expert. He graduated from the University of Warsaw, Poland, with M. Sc. in mathematics and Ph. D. in organization sciences (with a specialty in project management). Stanisław has over 30 years of experience in project management, consulting, teaching, and implementing PM organizational solutions. His professional and research interests include project knowledge management, portfolio management, and project management maturity. He is the author of the only holistic model of project knowledge management spanning from the individual to the global level.

Since 2013, his main professional focus has been on public projects. He was an expert in project management at the Governmental Accountability Office, an institution of the US Congress. He is the author of “Projects, Government, and Public Policy,” a book that systematizes knowledge about government activities in the area of project management.

He was a significant contributor to PMI’s PMBOK® Guide and PMI Standard for Program Management and contributed to other PMI standards. He has lectured at global PMI and IPMA congresses and other international conferences.

His web page is www.gpm3.eu.

To view other works by Dr. Gasik, please visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/stanislaw-gasik-phd-pmp/