Project Management and Project Success in the South African Defense Industry


Project success (PS) is the desired outcome in many settings. One of the methods of achieving it is project management (PM) (Anantatmula & Rad 2018; Radujković & Sjekavica 2017). Research on PM is limited (Badewi 2016), and the same can be said about PM in South Africa (Clinning & Marnewick 2017; Plessis & Oosthuizen 2018). No recent articles about PM in the South African defense industry (SDI) were found.

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This research gap can be associated with the secrecy of the industry, but it also implies that the topic can benefit from additional exploration, which justifies the following research questions.

  1. How does South African DI define PS?
  2. How does South African DI define PM?
  3. Is PM valuable for the industry?
  4. What barriers and facilitators exist for PM and PS in the industry?
  5. What methods are used in South African DI to ensure PS through PM?

Consequently, the following research objectives can be offered.

  1. To define PM and PS in terms of South African DI.
  2. To determine the value of PM for South African DI with attention paid to barriers and facilitators.
  3. To find out how South African DI ensures the correlation between PM and PS.

In terms of methodology, given the lack of research on PM in South Africa, it is proposed to start with a qualitative study. Indeed, qualitative research allows gathering significant insights into a topic, which can later be employed for quantitative investigations (Bell, Bryman & Harley 2019; Hair, Page & Brunsveld 2019). As a result, the presented questions and objectives have been developed to correspond to qualitative methods. One of the best means of gaining insights is in-depth interviews, which are typically unstructured and involve one-on-one discussions with experts (Bell, Bryman & Harley 2019; Hair, Page & Brunsveld 2019).

In other words, the proposed data collection method will involve detailed interviews that will not have a pre-made plan and will focus on the information that a participant can supply. As reported by Bell, Bryman, and Harley (2019), a very widespread and well-investigated method in qualitative research is thematic analysis. It can be used with interview data, and it will be employed during the proposed study to find patterns and respond to research questions.

From the perspective of the sample, experts who are involved in the PM of South African DI will be engaged. Managers will be approached by the researcher, who has access to DI. Thus, the sampling strategy will be based on purposive and convenience sampling (Hair, Page & Brunsveld 2019). Potential participants will be recruited by disseminating the information about the study through corporate e-mail; the people who are interested in the project will be provided with informed consent forms for ethical purposes (Bell, Bryman & Harley 2019; Hair, Page & Brunsveld 2019).

Qualitative studies typically engage as many people as necessary for data saturation (Bell, Bryman & Harley 2019), which is why the sample size may vary between 10 and 15 people. This number means that the results should not be generalized, but for a qualitative study, it is more important to investigate the topic rather than offer a generalizable and representative sample (Bell, Bryman & Harley 2019; Hair, Page & Brunsveld 2019). Thus, while it is important to acknowledge the sample’s limitations, they are understandable from the perspective of the described methodology.

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To summarize, there is little research on South African PM, especially when the DI is considered, which calls for additional research on the topic. The proposed qualitative inquiry will focus on PM in the industry and its relationship with PS, as well as the methods that are used to augment PS. With the help of in-depth interviews, thematic analysis, and purposive sampling, the project will respond to its questions. The proposed methodology has its limitations, but as an inquiry into an understudied area, it will be able to produce the knowledge that will be expanded in future research.

Reference List

Anantatmula, V & Rad, P 2018, ‘Role of organizational project management maturity factors on project success’, Engineering Management Journal, vol. 30, no. 3, pp. 165-178.

Badewi, A 2016, ‘The impact of project management (PM) and benefits management (BM) practices on project success: towards developing a project benefits governance framework’, International Journal of Project Management, vol. 34, no. 4, pp. 761-778.

Bell, E, Bryman, A & Harley, B 2019, Business research methods, 5th edn, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Clinning, G & Marnewick, C 2017, ‘Incorporating sustainability into IT project management’, South African Computer Journal, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 1-26.

Hair, J, Page, M & Brunsveld, N 2019, Essentials of business research methods, 4th edn, Routledge, London.

Plessis, H & Oosthuizen, P 2018, ‘Construction project management through building contracts, a South African perspective’, Acta Structilia, vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 152-181.

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Radujković, M & Sjekavica, M 2017, ‘Project management success factors’, Procedia Engineering, vol. 196, pp. 607-615.

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