Characteristics, research focuses and trends on leadership in project management: a bibliometric analysis


  • Ítalo Paula Casemiro Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro -  UNIRIO, Rio de Janeiro, (Brasil)
  • Maxwel De Azevedo-Ferreira Universidade do Grande Rio - UNIGRANRIO, Rio de Janeiro, (Brasil)



Bibliometrics, Project management, Leader


Objective: The scientific literature highlights the fundamental role that leadership plays in project management. Bearing in mind the relevance of leadership in project management, this study aims to map the scientific production on the subject of leadership, within the scope of project management.

Method: The study was conducted through a bibliometric analysis of 789 articles obtained from the Web of Science database. presents a series of indicators and trends predominant in research on leadership in projects. The studies were analyzed with the aid of the Bibliometrix R-tool and VosViewer software, through bibliometric indicators.

Main Results: The study highlights a growing number of publications, especially focused on leadership competencies. The United States is the leading country in terms of production, and the International Journal of Project Management is the most widely used publication on this topic. The thematic analysis identified some thematic groupings, with emphasis on basic/traditional themes, such as innovation, change management and project team and; driving themes such as sustainability, teamwork and more recent ones, such as continuous improvement in projects.

Relevance/Originality: The survey presents an overview of research on leadership in project management, offering important insights into these two areas of knowledge: leadership and project management.

Theoretical Contributions: This document offers managers and those interested in project leadership a useful basis for the development of leadership programs and future research on the subject, within the scope of project leadership.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Ítalo Paula Casemiro, Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro -  UNIRIO, Rio de Janeiro, (Brasil)

Acreano, native of Rio Branco. Master's degree in Business Administration by the Master's Program in Administration of the Federal University of Rondônia (UNIR) (2014), where he analyzed the presence of contents on diversity management in the curricula of the bachelor's degree courses in Administration of Federal Universities of Brazil. postgraduate degree as a fellow in the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel - CAPES.

Maxwel De Azevedo-Ferreira, Universidade do Grande Rio - UNIGRANRIO, Rio de Janeiro, (Brasil)

Doutorando em Administração pela Universidade do Grande Rio - UNIGRANRIO, Rio de Janeiro, (Brasil).


Ahmed, R., Philbin, S. P., & Cheema, F. E. A. (2021). Systematic literature review of project manager's leadership competencies. Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 28(1), 1-30.

Ali, H., Chuanmin, S., Ahmed, M., Mahmood, A., Khayyam, M., & Tikhomirova, A. (2021). Transformational leadership and project success: serial mediation of team-building and teamwork. Frontiers in psychology, 12, 689311.

Almeida, F., & Simões, J. (2021). Leadership challenges in agile environments. International Journal of Information Technology Project Management (IJITPM), 12(2), 30-44.

Anantatmula, V. S. (2010). Project manager leadership role in improving project performance. Engineering management journal, 22(1), 13-22.

Araújo, C. A. (2006). Bibliometria: evolução histórica e questões atuais. Em questão, 12(1), 11-32.

Aria, M., Alterisio, A., Scandurra, A., Pinelli, C., & D’Aniello, B. (2021). The scholar’s best friend: Research trends in dog cognitive and behavioral studies. Animal Cognition, 24, 541-553.

Aria, M., & Cuccurullo, C. (2017). bibliometrix: An R-tool for comprehensive science mapping analysis. Journal of informetrics, 11(4), 959-975.

Baker, H. K., Kumar, S., & Pattnaik, D. (2021). Research constituents, intellectual structure, and collaboration pattern in the Journal of Forecasting: A bibliometric analysis. Journal of Forecasting, 40(4), 577-602.

Bass, B. M. (1999). Two decades of research and development in transformational leadership. European journal of work and organizational psychology, 8(1), 9-32.

Bernardi, E., Carlucci, S., Cornaro, C., & Bohne, R. A. (2017). An analysis of the most adopted rating systems for assessing the environmental impact of buildings. Sustainability, 9(7), 1226.

Chen, G., & Xiao, L. (2016). Selecting publication keywords for domain analysis in bibliometrics: A comparison of three methods. Journal of Informetrics, 10(1), 212-223.

Clarke, N. (2010). Emotional intelligence and its relationship to transformational leadership and key project manager competences. Project management journal, 41(2), 5-20.

Cobo, M. J., López-Herrera, A. G., Herrera-Viedma, E., & Herrera, F. (2011). An approach for detecting, quantifying, and visualizing the evolution of a research field: A practical application to the Fuzzy Sets Theory field. Journal of informetrics, 5(1), 146-166.

Creasy, T., & Anantatmula, V. S. (2013). From every direction–-How personality traits and dimensions of project managers can conceptually affect project success. Project Management Journal, 44(6), 36-51.

Creswell, John W. (2010). Projeto de pesquisa: métodos qualitativo, quantitativo e misto. Porto Alegre: Artmed.

Deloitte. (2019). Leading the social enterprise: Reinvent with a human focus.. Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends.

Dias, D. S., Perciuncula, G., Maffia, J., & Antoniolli, P. D. (2017). Perfil da liderança na gestão de projetos: uma pesquisa com profissionais da área. Revista de Gestão e Projetos, 8(1), 72-89.

Egghe, L. (2006). Theory and practise of the g-index. Scientometrics, 69(1), 131-152.

Elsevier. (2021). How Scopus works: Information about Scopus product features.

Fard, H. D., Hajiani, M., Fatemifar, K., & Khabbaz, M. G. (2020). Leadership in project management: a scoping review. International Journal of Project Organisation and Management, 12(1), 74-116.

Fareed, M. Z., Su, Q., & Awan, A. A. (2021). The effect of emotional intelligence, intellectual intelligence and transformational leadership on project success; an empirical study of public projects of Pakistan. Project Leadership and Society, 2, 100036.

Garcia, F. A. Z., & Russo, R. D. F. S. M. (2020). Liderança e desempenho da equipe de desenvolvimento de software: influência do tipo de gestão de projetos. Revista Brasileira de Gestão de Negócios, 21, 970-1005.

Gorod, A., Hallo, L., Statsenko, L., Nguyen, T., & Chileshe, N. (2021). Integrating hierarchical and network centric management approaches in construction megaprojects using a holonic methodology. Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 28(3), 627-661.

Gray, Clifford F. Larson, Erik W. (2010). Gerenciamento de projetos: o processo gerencial. Porto Alegre: AMGH.

Hirsch, J. E. (2005). An index to quantify an individual's scientific research output. Proceedings of the National academy of Sciences, 102(46), 16569-16572.

Kessler, M. M. (1963). Bibliographic coupling between scientific papers. American documentation, 14(1), 10-25.

Khalife, M. A., Dunay, A., & Illés, C. B. (2021). Bibliometric analysis of articles on project management research. Periodica Polytechnica Social and Management Sciences, 29(1), 70-83.

Lehtinen, J., Peltokorpi, A., & Artto, K. (2019). Megaprojects as organizational platforms and technology platforms for value creation. International Journal of Project Management, 37(1), 43-58.

Limsila, K., & Ogunlana, S. O. (2008). Linking personal competencies with transformational leadership style evidence from the construction industry in Thailand. Journal of Construction in Developing Countries, 13(1), 27-50.

Luo, L., He, Q., Xie, J., Yang, D., & Wu, G. (2017). Investigating the relationship between project complexity and success in complex construction projects. Journal of Management in Engineering, 33(2), 04016036.

Maqbool, R., Sudong, Y., Manzoor, N., & Rashid, Y. (2017). The impact of emotional intelligence, project managers’ competencies, and transformational leadership on project success: An empirical perspective. Project Management Journal, 48(3), 58-75.

Martínez, M. A., Cobo, M. J., Herrera, M., & Herrera-Viedma, E. (2015). Analyzing the scientific evolution of social work using science mapping. Research on social work practice, 25(2), 257-277.

Mccarthy, Niall. (2020). The countries leading the world in scientific research. World Economic Forum.

McLean, R. S., Antony, J., & Dahlgaard, J. J. (2017). Failure of Continuous Improvement initiatives in manufacturing environments: a systematic review of the evidence. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, 28(3-4), 219-237.

Moreira, P. D. C., Guimarães, A. J. R., & Tsunoda, D. F. (2020). Qual ferramenta bibliométrica escolher? Um estudo comparativo entre softwares. P2p e Inovação, 6, 140-158.

Moreno-Ceja, Faustino. (2010). Producción científica de los investigadores de la Universidad de Guadalajara reportada en el ISI WEB OF KNOWLEDGE, durante el periodo 1996-2005: un análisis bibliométrico desde el modelo departamental. 299 f. Tese (Doctorado en Documentación: Archivos y Bibliotecas en el Entorno Digital) - Departamento de Biblioteconomía y Documentación, Universidad, Carlos III de Madrid, Getafe.

Morioka, S. N., & Carvalho, M. M. D. (2015). Sustentabilidade e gestão de projetos: um estudo bibliométrico. Production, 26, 656-674.

Müller, R., & Rodney Turner, J. (2010). Attitudes and leadership competences for project success. Baltic journal of management, 5(3), 307-329.

Müller, R., & Turner, J. R. (2007). Matching the project manager’s leadership style to project type. International journal of project management, 25(1), 21-32.

Müller, R., & Turner, R. (2010). Leadership competency profiles of successful project managers. International Journal of project management, 28(5), 437-448.

Müller, R., & Turner, R. (2007). The influence of project managers on project success criteria and project success by type of project. European management journal, 25(4), 298-309.

Nerur, S., Mahapatra, R., & Mangalaraj, G. (2005). Challenges of migrating to agile methodologies. Communications of the ACM, 48(5), 72-78.

Nixon, P., Harrington, M., & Parker, D. (2012). Leadership performance is significant to project success or failure: a critical analysis. International Journal of productivity and performance management, 61(2), 204-216.

Oliveira, E. F. T. D. (2018). Estudos métricos da informação no Brasil: indicadores de produção, colaboração, impacto e visibilidade. Editora UNESP.

Palácios, S. M., Serra, F. A. R., Kniess, C. T., & Serra, B. (2013). Leadership in Project Management: a bibliometric study and literature review for understanding the field of study. Revista de Ciencias da Administracao, 15(36), 29-48.

Parizotto, L. de A., Tonso, A., & de Carvalho, M. M. (2020). The challenges of project management in small and medium-sized enterprises: a literature review based on bibliometric software and content analysis. Gestão & Produção, 27.

Perides, M. P. N., Barrote, E. B., & Sbragia, R. (2021). As competências de gestores de projetos que atuam com métodos ágeis e tradicionais: um estudo comparativo. Revista de Gestão e Projetos, 12(1), 11-38.

Podgórska, M., & Pichlak, M. (2019). Analysis of project managers’ leadership competencies: project success relation: what are the competencies of polish project leaders?. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business.

Price, D. J. D. S. (1965). Networks of scientific papers: The pattern of bibliographic references indicates the nature of the scientific research front. Science, 149(3683), 510-515.

Price, D. J. (1986). Little science, big science... and beyond (Vol. 480). New York: Columbia University Press.

Project Management Institute - PMI. (2017). Um Guia do Conhecimento em Gerenciamento de Projetos (Guia PMBOK).

Raziq, M. M., Borini, F. M., Malik, O. F., Ahmad, M., & Shabaz, M. (2018). Leadership styles, goal clarity, and project success: Evidence from project-based organizations in Pakistan. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 39(2), 309–323.

Rehman, S. U., Shahzad, M., Farooq, M. S., & Javaid, M. U. (2020). Impact of leadership behavior of a project manager on his/her subordinate's job-attitudes and job-outcomes. Asia Pacific Management Review, 25(1), 38-47.

Rezende, L. B. de, Blackwell, P., & Pessanha Gonçalves, M. D. (2018). Research focuses, trends, and major findings on project complexity: A bibliometric network analysis of 50 years of project complexity research. Project Management Journal, 49(1), 42-56.

Robbins, Stephen P. (2010). Comportamento organizacional. São Paulo: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Rstudio Team. (2016). RStudio: Integrated Development Environment for R, RStudio, Inc., Boston, MA,

Russo, R. D. F. S. M., Ruiz, J. M., & Cunha, R. P. D. (2005). Liderança e influência nas fases da gestão de projetos. Production, 15, 362-375.

Seymour, T., & Hussein, S. (2014). The history of project management. International Journal of Management & Information Systems (IJMIS), 18(4), 233-240.

Shenhar, A. J. (2001). One size does not fit all projects: Exploring classical contingency domains. Management science, 47(3), 394-414.

Shenhar, A. J., & Dvir, D. (2007). Reinventing project management: the diamond approach to successful growth and innovation. Harvard Business Review Press.

Speranza, C. I,, Kiteme, B., Wiesmann, U., & Jörin, J. (2018). Community-based water development projects, their effectiveness, and options for improvement: lessons from Laikipia, Kenya. African geographical review, 37(3), 192-208.

Sunder M, V., Ganesh, L. S., & Marathe, R. R. (2019). Lean Six Sigma in consumer banking–an empirical inquiry. International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, 36(8), 1345-1369.

Thomé, A. M. T., Scavarda, L. F., Scavarda, A., & de Souza Thomé, F. E. S. (2016). Similarities and contrasts of complexity, uncertainty, risks, and resilience in supply chains and temporary multi-organization projects. International Journal of Project Management, 34(7), 1328-1346.

Tomomitsu, H. T. A., Carvalho, M. M. D., & Moraes, R. D. O. (2017). The evolution of the relationship between project management and knowledge management: a bibliometric study. Gestão & Produção, 25, 354-369.

Trivellas, P., & Drimoussis, C. (2013). Investigating leadership styles, behavioural and managerial competency profiles of successful project managers in Greece. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 73, 692-700.

Turner, J. R., & Müller, R. (2005). The project manager's leadership style as a success factor on projects: A literature review. Project management journal, 36(2), 49-61.

Van Eck, N., & Waltman, L. (2010). Software survey: VOSviewer, a computer program for bibliometric mapping. scientometrics, 84(2), 523-538.

Van Raan, A. F. (2014). Advances in bibliometric analysis: research performance assessment and science mapping. Bibliometrics Use and Abuse in the Review of Research Performance, 87, 17-28.

Vargas, R. V. (2016). Gerenciamento de Projetos: Estabelecendo diferenciais competitivos. Rio de Janeiro: Brasport.

Visser, M., Van Eck, N. J., & Waltman, L. (2021). Large-scale comparison of bibliographic data sources: Scopus, Web of Science, Dimensions, Crossref, and Microsoft Academic. Quantitative Science Studies, 2(1), 20-41.

Zhao, N., Fan, D., & Chen, Y. (2021). Understanding the impact of transformational leadership on project success: A meta-analysis perspective. Computational Intelligence and Neuroscience, 2021.

Zhao, X., Hwang, B. G., & Lee, H. N. (2016). Identifying critical leadership styles of project managers for green building projects. International Journal of Construction Management, 16(2), 150-160.



How to Cite

Casemiro, Ítalo P., & Azevedo-Ferreira, M. D. (2023). Characteristics, research focuses and trends on leadership in project management: a bibliometric analysis. Future Studies Research Journal: Trends and Strategies, 16(1), e768.



Artigos / Articles