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Capturing and evaluating individual and social factors that influence critical project decisions

What is the research?

The study seeks to increase project management knowledge in three interrelated areas; firstly, identifying how decision-makers actually make decisions in the complex situations they encounter during a project’s life.  The purpose is to empower project decision-makers to critically assess their own intentions, thinking and perceptions of the decision. 

Secondly, the study will enhance understanding of the complexities and factors that influence decisions at a social level, through reflective practices and team coordination. 

Thirdly, at a systems level, the research will demonstrate the ways individual and social factors influence project decisions, building an awareness of underlying barriers, conflicts, enables and leverage points, ultimately improving decision-making practices through systemic practices. 

An innovative five stage methodological framework will be implemented and tested within a project context investigating how project decisions are created using a holistic approach.  The methodology builds upon long standing and well-proven techniques such as the Repertory Grid, visual card sorting and the Viable System Model. 

Why is it important?

Decision-making is central to the effective management of projects.  Yet it is deemed to be one of the most difficult processes that a team can undertake (Rolstadas, et al., 2015) and associated with notable causes of project failure (Dove, 2004; Cervone, 2005; Shore, 2008). 

This study seeks to undertake exploratory research that complements conventional decision-making theory and practice. This study seeks to answer the following research question: 

How can real-time critical project decisions be captured, mapped and measured to gain insights into the ways that decisions are actually made in projects?

This is further supported by three research questions:

RQ1        What are the salient features of project decisions?

RQ2        How does an awareness of the salient features influence the project decision?

RQ3        What influence does the individual have upon project team’s decision?

Who is the intended audience?

There are three core audience groups:

  • Project managers and those responsible for making decision, such as clients, team managers and core project stakeholders.
  • The APM and other professional bodies responsible for advancing the project management Body of Knowledge.
  • Academics working in the field of business and management, especially those involved in project management and those involved in the field of organisational and social psychology.

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How to cite this research
Marguet, N. (2021). Detect, Reflect and Adapt: Factors Influencing Critical Project Decisions. Association for Project Management.