Disclosing the “Lived Experience” of Project Managing Using Musical Instrument Improvisations and Semi-Structured Interviews


This case study describes the experience of using musical improvisations made by research participants as stimuli for a discussion on the “lived experience” of managing a project. The objective of the study was to disclose the personal and emotional aspects of managing projects and to avoid the participating project managers defaulting to project-speak answers that were overly rationalized or censored. In this research study, each participant was asked to recall a project that they had managed and to play on a glockenspiel and/or xylophone what the experience of managing the project was like. The participant was then played back their improvisation and asked to explain to the researcher what the improvisation meant in terms of their experience of managing the project. This research study did require logistics that were more demanding than a traditional interview. However, the use of the musical improvisation, coupled with the participants’ explanatory narrative, was found to be effective in disclosing the emotional facets of the phenomenon and avoiding rote responses traditionally associated with project management.

locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles