Is the project management orientation an appropriate answer for public administration institutions? Conclusions after a pilot implementation in polish local government

Jacek Strojny



The primary purpose of this article is to affirm the possibility of taking over the task orientation of the public administration institutions. On the ground of the observed effects of the pilot implementation in one of the local governments in Poland there was assessed the probable impact on the performance of public governance.


The basic research method used in the article is a case study. It presents a description of the implementation of project orientation in one of the local governments in Southern Poland. Description takes into account both the procedure of implementation and its effects. On the basis of case study was built a theoretical model of project orientation in local administration. Was confronted with the accomplishments of selected project management approaches: IPMA guidelines and methodologies: PRINCE2 and PMI.


As a result of case study research was obtained a description of the pilot project of implementing a of project orientation. Identification of project course and introduced as a consequence of changes in the local government functioning it is an interesting benchmark information for other local government entities. In addition, on the bases of the prepared description there was constructed a general model of project orientation in public administration, identifying the phases of implementation and dimensions. General phase model of implementing the project includes: initiation, analysis, implementation, and evaluation. Also describes the different field that supply the adoption of project orientation by the organization. These include: a matrix organization, changes in the motivating system, the insertion of the principles of task budgeting, operational controlling, changes in strategic management and documentation system.

The theoretical contribution.

Project management is an approach that should be associated with the origins of the Manhattan Project (work on developing a nuclear bomb within the World War II). Already at the start of the second half of the twentieth century has been utilized in the area of business sector. At that time, two main approaches to project management has come into existence. They are: PMI - Project Management Institute in the United States and IPMA - International Project Management Association in continental Europe (Austria, Germany). Subsequently, there was created the third methodology – PRINCE2, which also is now a very popular approach. It is particularly interesting from the point of view of public administration. It was in fact made at the request of the government of Great Britain and dedicated among others to public administration institutions. Currently, in the highly-developed and developing countries, project management is used in many of the corporate sectors. More and more often this aspect is studied in the context of public governance reform. In Poland, it is mainly related to the gradual introduction of system solutions as: management control system and task budgeting. In this context, it should be considered how to adopt the project orientation as a solution suited for public administration institutions. Analyzing this issue, reference is made to the concepts of project excellence, like: Project Management Maturity Model (H. Kerzner) and Maturity in Project Oriented Companies Model (R. Gareis). Inspired by these approaches was built a general model project orientation in public administration institutions.

Practical implications.

This article presents a case study based on an analysis of pilot implementation of management concept based on the method of project management in one of the Polish local governments. This solution has the character of an application and appropriate adjustments can be fixed to any local government institutions at the local or regional level. It brings into account the context of seeing the proper performance of Polish regional and local agencies. However, there is also a utilitarian aspect in the context of other countries with a similar solution for the organization of public administration in the territorial system.


project management, project orientation, public administration, NPM, management.

Paper type:

Research paper.


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