Rolling Into the Profession: Exploring the Motivation and Experience of Becoming a Project Manager

Liselore Havermans*, Beatrice I.J.M. Van der Heijden, Chantal Savelsbergh, Peter Storm

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The number of people who, at a certain point during their career, assume responsibilities as a project manager is increasing every year. Yet, we know little about the reasons why people want to become project managers, how they become project managers, and the ways in which they perceive their job once they have become project managers. In the current qualitative study, we conducted in-depth, semistructured interviews, using a multisource approach, from the perspectives of both project managers (n = 31) and direct supervisors of project managers (n = 21) from the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Our results indicate that project managers tend to be drawn into the field by their enterprising interests, and mainly “roll into their profession” knowing little about possible career paths, and experience multiple positive and negative aspects of their jobs. Reflections on the outcomes are discussed, and practical implications for individuals considering a career in project management and their working organizations are given.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-360
Number of pages15
JournalProject management journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


  • career-related information
  • motivation at work
  • multisource approach
  • project management
  • sustainable careers


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