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

Alan Stretton, Lynn Crawford

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionResearchpeer-review


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”.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 25th IPMA World congress
Subtitle of host publicationProject management: Delivering the promise
Place of PublicationBrisbane, Australia
PublisherLeishman Associates
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventInternational Project Management Association World Congress: Project management: Delivering the promise - Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, Australia
Duration: 9 Oct 201112 Oct 2011
Conference number: 25th


ConferenceInternational Project Management Association World Congress
Abbreviated titleIPMA Congress
OtherWith the IPMA representing the national project management associations of some 50 countries this congress will attract some of the best minds and experienced practitioners in the industry from around the world. The congress provides a unique opportunity for international companies to showcase their services to a global audience of over 1,000 delegates.

The congress theme Delivering the Promise looks at the heart of what project and program management is fundamentally all about. Project management professionals from a wide range of industries will be presented with challenging ideas and a unique opportunity to learn and network with fellow colleagues and specialists from around the world.
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