Conservative vs. Liberal – What kind of PM am I?

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ConservativevsliberalJust recently Dr. Paul wrote an article on behavioral profiles of successful project managers. That got me thinking about PM ideologies. By borrowing the two most arguably conversed typologies in our global society, we can?try to evaluate this concept of PM conservatism vs. PM liberalism to determine?What kind of PM are you?? It is expected that the PMStudent community will respectfully comment on this most contentious subject as we entertain and socialize our own ideologies related to this topic.

When considering these two dichotomies, it is virtually impossible to have a standing that is purely conservative or absolutely liberal. Life is not binary and the discipline of project management is far from being black or white in practice. However, as a philosophy or ideology people have propitious tendencies toward conservatism and liberalism. As project stakeholders, we are exposed to these ideologies. Like it or not, ideologies of our project managers, sponsors, and other project stakeholders impact our lives. To understand the ideologies of others, we must first determine and understand our own individual ideology.

So what are the principles of these two dichotomies? According to conservative conservative vs. liberal are contrasted as follows:

Conservative Liberal
1. Natural law 1. Positive law
2. Established institutions 2. Progress
3. Liberty over equality 3. Equality over liberty
4. Suspicion of power 4. Benevolent government
5. Exceptionalism 5. Human Perfectibility
6. Individualism 6. Community


O?Sullivan, Patrick Sean, Liberal vs. conservative,,

Retrieved 7/3/09,

One could deduce that a conservative PM places ideas and principles above personal desire. For example, ?What is best for the project?? vs. ?What do I think is best for the project?? A conservative PM would then be of the philosophy that a project is comprised of autonomous individuals working toward a goal vs. an organization driving a communicable respect for project goals. It then would be the expectation that a conservative PM values institutional establishment of process and procedures that guide individuals as they progress the project to complete. A conservative PM would thrive in an organic firm that is decentralized, where executive management is only there to look out for the best welfare of the greater organization.

Self-awareness is a lifelong commitment. As our journey progresses it is our experiences that determine who we are as individuals and shape our expectations of what we wish to become. Therefore, I implore you to evaluate your own ideology and ask the question, ?What kind of PM am I??