8th IPMA Research Conference
“Projects as arena for self-organizing”

Date: 9th – 11th September 2020

In 2013, IPMA has successfully launched the first IPMA Research Conference in Berlin together with the German Project Management Association, who experienced a familiar format already since 2008. About fifty practitioners, researchers and experts attended the first research conference, discussing the topic “Theory meets Practice in Projects”. A distinctive feature of the IPMA Research Conferences has ever since been an intensive exchange between theory and practice, which can be found neither at scientific nor professional conferences. Practitioners were encouraged to share their experiences in practice and share their requirements to researchers, who in return shared their knowledge of theoretical foundations in managing projects in various contexts.
Originally, the idea was to bring the IPMA Research Conference back to Berlin, Germany. However, due to the pandemic in 2020, the IPMA decided to turn this conference into a virtual one.

IPMA is a Federation of 73 Member Associations (MAs) all around the world. The MAs organize own research and exchange activities to meet the needs of members in their respective context. However, the value of being a member of IPMA has always been to engage with peers in other countries and exchange ideas on how to advance the discipline and learning from each other. This conference intends to continue the tradition and enable intensive dialogues across all borders.

The 8th IPMA Research Conference aims at bringing researchers, experts, scholars and practitioners together to exchange insights, perspectives and foresight on the theme “Projects as arena for self-organizing”, discuss antecedents, research potentials and ways of collaboration. The  virtual conference is an excellent opportunity for networking and building bridges across countries, disciplines and cultures.

The theme of the 8th IPMA Research Conference, “Projects as arena for self-organizing” addresses the increasing interest in the subject of self-organizing in and through projects. Agile approaches build on or value the willingness and the capabilities of individuals and teams to self-organize in projects. Projects are seen as the arena for self-organizing. It is often argued that millennials are increasingly interested in work autonomy and self-organizing through projects to fulfil their expectations in the workspace. However, what does that mean for organizational structures, processes, cultures and leadership? What is the motivation of individuals to perform activities, to engage with others and organizations in order to get things done? Which kind of leadership supports self-organizing in projects and how do we achieve the changes necessary from the traditional set-up towards new ways of leading? Is self-organizing in projects perceived as traditional work, or is it an individual ́s “Vita Activa”? What have disciplines like Natural Sciences, Psychology, Philosophy, Sociology and Management to offer in this respect? What are cultural limitations and potentials regarding self-organizing in projects and how do we deal with them? There are certainly more questions and aspects that will be dealt with in preparing and conducting the 8th IPMA Research Conference. The conference itself is a kind of endeavour, an arena for self-organizing, sense-making, strategizing and theorizing.

We invite all researchers, experts, scholars and practitioners who are interested in the topic to participate in the Call for Papers and attend the virtual We encourage all IPMA MAs to distribute the Call for Papers to interested parties and support the conference by encouraging their members to attend.

We will facilitate and help all people engaged to learn from each other about their insights, research achievements, practical experience, opinions and thoughts. The conference will focus on how practitioners can benefit from researchers by learning about the latest research achievements in other countries, disciplines or focus areas. Researchers may identify the real needs of practitioners in the area of project-related work and focus their research to meet the needs of those practitioners. We will discuss the developments and applications of “self-organization”, the current trends of adopting it in the field of project management and what future developments will be? Altogether we will shape the future way of project-related activities.

Due to the restrictions following the COVID-19 pandemic, we have decided to hold the 8th IPMA Research Conference virtually.
On the first and second day, the participants can exchange their views on self-organization in projects in a self-organized way. On the online platform “Slack” they can present the results of the conference. We call this the “IPMA Hackdays”. There are no limits to creativity. Highlights of the exchange will be presented at the end of the research conference and will later be made available on the IPMA website. Due to the different time zones, we will start the “IPMA Hackdays” on September 9th at 10 am CET. From then on, participants can work on the topics around the clock until the end of the research conference and it is even possible to continue the work beyond. On September 11th, a day full of presentations on the topic will follow. Keynotes will provide insights into practice, paper presentations will illustrate research findings and case studies, a panel discussion will take a critical look at the topic, and after presenting the highlights of the “IPMA Hackdays”, the 8th IPMA Research Conference will conclude in the late afternoon.

To register to the 8th IPMA Research Conference use this LINK




Photos: IPMA 7th Research Conference 2019, Zagreb, Croatia