Empirical Analysis: Exploring the (In-)Visibility of Decision Contingency in the Practice of Project Documentation


The search for visibility of decision contingency in the project documentation practices of the case company resembled an archaeological expedition trying to find the remains of a rare species. Accordingly, the presentation of empirical results is structured by following the successive steps of the archaeological expedition. In a first step, the CPL databases, right at the entry door of the expedition, are described regarding the question which media and genres of project documentation are applied here most frequently (cf. chapter 5.1.1). In a second step, the PowerPoint presentation genre, as the most frequent genre of project documentation in the sample, is differentiated into a sub-typology. This typology is related to the main research issue by asking to what extent decision processes and their contingency become visible in various sub-genres (cf. chapter 5.1.2). In a final step, the analysis arrives at the level of projects documents. It is examined here to what extent the selected documents contribute to a visibilization of decision contingency in the project organization (cf. chapter 5.1.3).


Project Organization Team Structure Project Document Project Documentation Decision Contingency 
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  1. 48.
    The shared usage of project hard drives by consultants and the client favorably compares to Czarniawska and Mazza’s (2003) notion of the „liminal space“ established in consulting projects. According to this concept, consulting projects create a space on their own which suspends the clear distinction between the consulting firm and the client firm for a limited time frameGoogle Scholar
  2. 52.
    However, the results indeed lie in the range of NASA’s PowerPoint based report on the Columbia tragedy (97 words per slide; Tufte, 2003: 12).Google Scholar
  3. 55.
    Ponzi and Koenig, however, arrive at the conclusion that knowledge management as a topic — unlike other management “fads” — would have the potential to become a “permanent significant part of management’s toolbox” (Ponzi & Koenig, 2002: no page).Google Scholar

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© Deutscher Universitäts-Verlag und VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften | GWV Fachverlage GmbH, Wiesbaden 2008

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