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A Bibliometric View on the Use of Contingency Theory in Project Management Research



Contingency theory has influenced organization theory since the 1950s. Project management research has only recently started to consider context factors. In this area, applications of contingency theory still represent a fragmented field with a nonuniform use of terminology. Fully utilizing the contingency theory approach requires a systematic foundation. This article presents an overview of contingency theory in both permanent and temporary organizations. In a bibliometric study based on 1,622 articles from four academic project management journals, we identify dominating authors, prevalent keywords, and different focal areas in project contingency theory as well as the most researched project types.