Project Management in the Danish Central Government

Karl Löfgren, Birgitte Poulsen


While project management (PM) has become an almost constituting element of modern public organisations, empirical research on PM in the civil service, let alone government offices, has been overlooked. In this article, we will on the basis of public organisation recruitment efforts illustrated through a textual analysis of job adverts for the Danish Civil Service, analyse how the individual roles related to project management in civil service organisation from 1982 until 2011 has emerged in terms of the following dimensions: a) the project managerial role, b) required competences for PM, c) whether the role of PM refer to internal or external projects, d) which stages of the policy cycle which are subject to PM, e) and whether we are talking about permanent project management organisations or just temporary projects. These questions are then applied on a minor empirical textual analysis of job adverts in a Danish professional journal in the period of 1982-2011 with the aim of generating a couple of hypotheses. The results of the study shows that project management has permeated throughout the central service, but also that the project management has become a term used inequitably for describing all forms of work-life in modern bureaucracies. Also, we identify a number of hypotheses for future works. First, project management in the Danish civil service is not a managerial role. Second, by requesting project management competence, the investigated ministries were looking for certain interpersonal skills, and not transferable PM competences. Finally, being a project manager in the Danish civil service means being ready for internal projects, not to work more cross-sectoral with other actors.

Full Text: PDF

Scandinavian Journal of Public Administration

School of Public Administration, Box 712 - SE-405 30 Göteborg

ISSN: 2001-7405, E-ISSN: 2001-7413