Impact of various work-breakdown structures on project conceptualization

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For a project to be properly managed, there is a need to generate its work-breakdown structure (WBS), and to define work packages so that they can be correctly assigned to organizational units. The WBS may be considered the taxonomy of a project. Several possible patterns of WBS can be generated, despite the fact that all of them describe the same project. However, different WBS patterns call for different organizational structures and management styles during project implementation. Thus, the WBS designer already has a significant impact on the way that a project is to be managed at the very early stage of proposal submission, sometimes without being aware of it. A mismatch between the project WBS, the organizational structure, and the management style of the project manager has a negative impact on the likelihood of the project being completed successfully. Chaos results if the various parties to the project each produce a different WBS. The paper discusses the above issues, and presents an analysis of the different options for a WBS for an example project, and the possible impact of the options on the preferred organizational structure and management style.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-171
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Project Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1994


  • management style
  • organizational structure
  • work-breakdown structure


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