Comparison of research and industry views on project managers’ competencies

Sina Moradi, Kalle Kähkönen, Kirsi Aaltonen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
137 Downloads (Pure)



The success of projects clearly relies on project management personnel and particularly on project managers. Their performance and capacities are based on the achieved competencies. The purpose of this paper is to address possible discrepancies between the views arising from the research results and standards of practice related to project managers’ competencies.


For reaching the aim of the study, a comprehensive literature review, covering previous studies and related standards of practice was conducted, and analyses of competencies in the studies and standards of practice containing the rank of competencies based on frequency of appearance were developed.


The findings are proposing four discrepancies between the results of previous studies and standards of practice: commonly existing/missing competencies; uneven priority of some competencies in the view of researchers vs standards of practice; uneven degree of consensus on the importance of competencies; and research results are more context-oriented than the standards of practice. In addition, 98 project managers’ competencies were identified, from which 68 were qualified as weighty ones. Moreover, a categorization of project managers’ weighty competencies was developed. Finally, a list of competencies of relevance for different project types and their targets is presented.


The findings of this study provide a contribution with respect of present knowledge over project managers’ competencies by recognizing certain discrepancies between research results and standards of practice. Another contribution of the study is the comprehensive list of competencies together with considerations of their relevance in different project contexts and in different project types.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)543-572
Number of pages30
JournalInternational Journal of Managing Projects in Business
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 26 Dec 2019
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1


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