Foundations of the Expanding Domain of Project Management Research: An Explicit and Six-Facet Ontological Framework

Jacques-Bernard Gauthier / Lavagnon A. Ika

Despite the search for a strong theoretical basis for Project Management (PM) research, little has been written on ontology. As well, the extant ontological question in PM has focused on the realist and ‘being’ perspectives and more recently on the ‘becoming’ ontology. This paper proposes a new and integrated ontological framework to stimulate PM research. It suggests that the ontological question in PM should be regarded as a complex object/subject like a six-facet diamond that represents a set of root assumptions about projects. This paper conveys the idea that whenever a PM researcher emphasizes a specific facet, she knowingly or unknowingly leaves the other five facets in the dark in her research. This paper calls for a focus of attention on the ground ontological assumptions of PM research in order to transcend the abstract epistemological and methodological debate and concentrate on what really divides the different theoretical positions.