Original Research

Infusing African management philosophy into project management

Carl Marnewick, Wikus Erasmus, Nazeer Joseph
Acta Commercii | Vol 18, No 1 | a585 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v18i1.585 | © 2018 Carl Marnewick, Wikus Erasmus, Nazeer Joseph | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 January 2018 | Published: 31 July 2018

About the author(s)

Carl Marnewick, Department of Applied Information Systems, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Wikus Erasmus, Department of Applied Information Systems, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Nazeer Joseph, Department of Applied Information Systems, University of Johannesburg, South Africa


Orientation: The project management field of study is investigated in the context of the current debate on decolonisation of the university curriculum.

Research purpose: Current project management theories and curriculum are based on Western management philosophy (WMP). This creates tension on the African continent where the debate is currently about the revival of African management philosophy (AMP) and how it should form part of management theories and the discourse in general.

Motivation for the study: The problem currently is that AMP is not incorporated or even discussed within project management literature. The aim of this article is to create discussion around AMP and how it can be infused into project management theories and ultimately the curriculum. The AMP and WMP are discussed through the lens of project management, specifically the Project Management Body of Knowledge.

Research design, approach and method: Philosophical discussion was employed to facilitate the discussion of infusing AMP into project management. Various historical concepts and practices were explored to provide perspective concerning management philosophies and theories.

Main findings: Infusing AMP into the curriculum must be a conscientious effort from the academic staff who teach project management. Moreover, true infusion of AMP is best facilitated through the interaction between academics, students and stakeholders. There are, however, certain processes that are principle agnostic and are independent of either AMP or WMP.

Practical/managerial implications: We should philosophise more on infusing AMP into project management, creating new theories, and that the curriculum should be adjusted to incorporate AMP.

Contribution/value-add: This paper stimulates discussion around AMP and project management.


project management; African management philosophy; Western management philosophy; ubuntu; decolonisation


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