Two research perspectives on public projects


Let’s talk about public projects!



By Stanisław Gasik

Warsaw, Poland


The main areas of organized activity in each country are the private sector, non-governmental sector and, which is our area of interest, the public sector. Public administration operates within the public sector. Public administration has many definitions (cf. Gasik, 2023), one of them says that it is the management of public programs (Denhardt & Denhardt, 2009). Regardless of the definition, public programs are the basic unit of public administration activity because they implement public policies. Public programs (and public policies) are divided into operational, project and mixed (Gasik, ibid).

Projects in each sector play a supporting role in achieving the goals of this sector.

The connections between sectors of activity and projects are shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Sectors and projects

After zooming in on the green section on project use in the public sector, it turns out that there are actually public policies and the public programs that implement them, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Public projects – detailed view

Each business sector and project management are studied by science. General project management research deals with the features common to all sectors. Public project research explores and creates common project management knowledge and knowledge specific to public projects. This knowledge is created by both public administration (PA) and project management (PM) researchers. Is this knowledge consistent?

In this article, we will first analyze how PM researchers relate to the existence of differences between public projects and those of other sectors, that is, whether they recognize the separation of public projects as a separate area of research. Then we will refer to public sector projectification research. Finally, we will analyze a sample of articles from leading PA and PM journals for interest in public projects searching for papers on public project management.

PM researchers’ approach to the specifics of public sector projects

Gasik (2016) empirically showed that public projects differ significantly from projects in other sectors, in particular in the areas of stakeholder management, procurement management, and communications management. There are also significant differences in the areas of HR management, scope management, integrity management, cost management, time management, and risk management. The only area where there are virtually no inter-sectoral differences is quality management. Project management researchers approach these differences in different ways. There are four basic approaches:


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. (2024). Two research perspectives on public projects, Let’s talk about public projects, series article, PM World Journal, Volume XIII, Issue II, February. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/pmwj138-Feb2024-Gasik-Two-research-perspectives-on-public-projects.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/