Leadership and Management in a Workshop-Based Educational Project: A Case Study of an Environmental Sustainability Project

Leadership and Management in a Workshop-Based Educational Project: A Case Study of an Environmental Sustainability Project

Kin Wai Michael Siu (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, HKSAR, China & Wuhan University of Technology, China) and Yi Lin Wong (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, HKSAR, China)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1049-9.ch064
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Abstract

The current project management literature seldom addresses the leadership and management strategies used in educational project. The knowledge specialized for workshop-based educational project is even more limited. As one of the most complicated educational projects, this chapter aims to define what workshop-based educational project and its uniqueness is, examine the concerns in such workshop and analyze possible roles of project manager through the case study of the environmental sustainability project. The parties involved and their relationship in work are also clearly revealed. Six unique concerns which specifically exist in such kind of project and five roles of its project managers are identified are discussed and explained by using the case study. It is hoped that the discussion in this chapter is able to give references for educators or administrators who plan to hold projects which involve hands-on workshops as the core of educational activities.
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Introduction

Currently project management literature seldom put the focus on education projects. Books about project management (e.g., Gido & Clements, 2015; Lock, 2007) exclude education from the list of possible project. It is often a misunderstanding that educators should be responsible for the knowledge construction of educational project management; however, in fact educators, especially the younger generation, often lack this kind of training, and they have very limited experience in management. Although it seems possible to transfer the existing knowledge of project management to the context of education, there is a need to highlight the uniqueness and concerns in managing educational project.

In the management of educational project, the most important is the achievements made by the project participants or students and the recognition of stakeholders who may be participants’ parents and teachers (Siu, 2010). Similar to project management in other contexts, every activity and event in an educational project should possess the same values and aim at some particular goals, and thus the management approach used is inevitably strategic. The strategic management and leadership affect learning and teaching effectiveness, students’ performance and improvement. Its aim is to plan the activities in an organized way, solve problems encountered during project implementation, and make sure that all activities are held successfully. Yet, sometimes the management task is not as easy as it seems, and some specific kinds of educational projects involve elements which make the management tasks more difficult.

Among many kinds of educational projects, workshop-based project is one of the most complicated ones, as there are many considerations that the project manager has to take into account. This kind of project is primarily based on hands-on activities in one or more workshops, and perhaps aided with other kinds of activities to add value to the workshops. Students have to acquire the knowledge and skills through achieving targets and attainments (e.g., designing and making an artifact) by using the techniques and skills taught by the facilitators in the workshops. The students have to think, design and make by their own hands so that they can learn through the workshop experience. At the same time, the project manager and the organizer have to satisfy the demand of different parties involving the project. Therefore, effective management is exceptional important, as the process involves numbers of operations which require high consistency and compatibility.

In this chapter, a case study of an environmental sustainability project is used to discuss the concerns of effective management in planning and organizing such project. Through understanding the uniqueness of workshop-based educational project, the chapter suggests that the major concerns that a project manager has to consider, and the roles he/she has to play in order to maintain consistency and compatibility of the entire project. The aims of the chapter are to define what workshop-based educational project and its uniqueness is, examine the concerns in such workshop and analyze possible roles of project manager through the case study of the environmental sustainability project. It is hoped that the discussion in this chapter is able to give references for educators or administrators who plan to hold projects which involve hands-on workshops as the core of educational activities.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Workshop-Based Educational Project: The individual or collaborative enterprise that is carefully planned to achieve a particular educational aim through engaging the participants in a series of interdependent discussions and activities which consume resources in a period of time.

Workshop: An activity at which group of people engage intensively for the same purpose, such as learning and accomplishing a task.

Unique Concerns: The specific issues that appears in workshop-based educational project.

Project: A carefully planned individual or collaborative enterprise for achieving a specific objective, which involves a series of activities and tasks which consume resources.

Project Leader/Owner: Personnel who owns and leads the project. He is superior to the project manager and has the power of making final decision over the project manager.

Project Manager: The personnel who handles and controls the project and its resources. He plays several roles at a time.

Successful Project: A status where the project is able to fulfill its objectives within a period of time and budget. This chapter claims that the success of a project depends on the quality of project management.

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