A glimpse of the Euram conference in Reykjavik in June 2018
One of the larger academic conferences in the field of management is Euram or European Academy of Management. This annual conference usually attracts about 1000 people from across the globe, but it is always held in Europe. Euram took place in Scotland in the summer of 2017 and next year it will be held in Portugal. But on June 19, 2018, the Prime Minister of Iceland Katrín Jakobsdóttir formally opened the conference in Reykjavik, Iceland. A record number of participants attended the conference in Reykjavik or 1700 people, and 1200 studies were presented, within different fields of business and management. The conference venue was the University of Iceland and it took place in many buildings on the University campus, as it was one of the larger conferences that have been held in Iceland.
There is no way to explain the vast number of research papers presented at this conference in a short blog post, but one of its many streams is dedicated to project organising. Consequently, some of the leading scholars in the world came to Iceland for the conference, acclaimed researchers from universities in North America, Australia, Africa, Asia and Europe. The formal opening of this part of Euram took place in the morning of June 20th, with a lecture given by a local architect Olafur Thor Hersisson, who spoke and said about the construction of the new National Hospital in Iceland, a huge and very complex project, and a much-disputed project in Iceland for many years.
The editors of three important academic journals in project management presented their journals and strategy for the near future. These were Martina Huemann, editor of the International Journal of Project Management (IJPM), Ralf Müller, editor of the Project management Journal (PMJ) PMJ Project Manager, and Natalie Drouin, editor of the International Journal of Managing Projects in Business (IJMPB ). All of these journals have a different focus, and the editors briefly outlined this and explained how the journals have become better and how their impact has grown. IJPM is probably the most important project management journal, and its focus has shifted from looking at individual projects to looking at the project-driven organisations. PMJ is also highly respected and wishes to strengthen the theoretical foundation of project management. IJMPB is the most recent journal, it wants to publish original academic research, promote the theoretical development of project management, with special emphasis on innovation and new ideas related to the profession. Two editors of project management journals who recently retired were formally honored for their contribution to the field, Rodney Turner who served as the editor of IJPM for a long time, and Hans Georg Gemünden who served as the editor for PMJ.
A total of 60 lectures on project management were given, divided into a number of themes. Action research was discussed, a useful research method within project management. The management of international projects was discussed, and the development of new knowledge for that purpose. Megaprojects were specifically addressed in a number of papers, as well as project teams, leadership, and communication. Interesting presentations were given on the interaction between project management and innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as the interaction between project management and strategic management. A very interesting panel discussion focused on the project management as a career path. This is a challenge that needs to be focused on in a world that is becoming more and more project oriented.
It was not easy to choose between interesting lectures, not just in the field of project management, but in all possible fields of management at this huge conference. At one time I left the project organising tracks and visited a track that had caught my attention in the proceedings. This was a track on “out of the box” teaching methods at the university level and I found this incredibly informative and interesting.
I had two formal roles at the Euram conference. On the one hand, I gave a presentation of my experience of teaching a course in the MPM program at Reykjavik University for years, where students work on the preparation, planning, and implementation of a real-life project which is supposed to deliver a direct benefit to the society. Another delightful role I had was to represent IPMA during the delivery of the best paper awards, jointly sponsored by IPMA and PMI. This time, the student prize was awarded to Roya Derakhshanalavijeh from Iran for the study How Local Community Perceives Project Organization’s Activities – A Step Towards Psychological Aspects of Stakeholder Management. Her co-authors were Rodney Turner and Victor Gomez Frias. The best paper prize was awarded to Lynn Crawford, Erica French, Beverley Lloyd-Walker for their paper Crafting Work for a Projectified Future.
The Euram conference was a successful event, well organized and smoothly executed. The group organising the project management tracks consisted of Martina Huemann, Alexander Kock, Monique Aubry and Mia Martinsuo, and they did a good job! This conference is truly a worthy event to attend for project management researchers, not only to get feedback on their own research but also to see what others are working on. It is a unique opportunity to learn about research in management, not only within project management but also to expand the horizon and learn what is happening in other fields of management.