Detect, reflect and adapt: factors influencing critical project decisions
Why was the research undertaken?
Effective decision-making is deemed to be integral to the successful management of projects and is considered to be a core project management competency. however, research demonstrates that nearly half of unsuccessful projects are impacted by poor decision-making. Psychological and behavioural aspects of project decision-making have been identified as one of six themes associated with poor project performance (Denicol et al, 2020).
A significant body of research also demonstrates that decisionmakers systematically deviate from recommendations produced by decision models and perform very differently to rational optimising decision models. Project research suggests that patterns of decision-making behaviour are often taken for granted and habitual, taking practitioners along an unconscious path of action (Nutt, 1990; Ison, 2017).
There is significant evidence reinforcing a need to pay more attention to the ways that project decisions are made, and the importance of further research focused on individuals and social forces that impact project decisions. In response, the research findings summarised in this report shed light on the ways project decisions are made in practice, with a focus on improving decision-making effectiveness. This study draws insights from several theories, explores project decisions as complex social phenomena and proposes an alternative but complementary perspective to linear and rational decision-making practice.