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Behavioral Aspects of Project Management

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Essay title: Behavioral Aspects of Project Management


Behavioral Aspects of Project Management

MGT573--Project Management in the Business Environment

May 8, 2006


The people process part of project management is one of the most difficult facets yet key contributors to failure related to a project. The process for selecting the project manager and team members is critical. They need to be able to facilitate meetings, track tasks versus issues, establish the primary issue related to a conflict, the ability to empower team members and avoid “scope creep” (HIMSS 2000). These people need to have excellent communication skills that will facilitate the relationship among the various team members to achieve the goals of the project. The focus with project management tends to be tentative to tasks, critical paths, and the connection to those functions and ignore the people factor that is critical for success, not enough time is spent (HIMSS 2000). To be successful at project management it is vital to have a strong skill set for both task and people supervisory skills. A wide variety of meetings are held that pay attention to the tasks and the budget management related to the project (Michael Schmidt, 2003). The human factor can at times be ignored, while it requires special attention and strategies to be successful in implementing a new project. The primary plans that have a successful track record have been founded on a quality improvement process. For a project to be successful they must be able to effectively manage the tasks, budget, and people related to the project (Michael Schmidt, 2003). The purpose of this paper is to explore how organizational culture and human behavior influence the success of projects. Specifically, it looks at the culture, project leadership, creation and management of teams, and strategies.

Organizational Culture

The first point to consider is, what Organizational Culture actually means and how it influences selection (e.g., matching skills and abilities with project tasks, etc.), prioritization (e.g., clear objectives and the team approach to have input from all team players, etc.), and the ultimate success of the project? Where does it come from? Does the leader make the culture or the employees? Essentially the culture is the personality of that business. The society or culture of an organization is made up of “the assumptions, values, norms and tangible signs (artifacts) of organization members and their behaviors” (managementhelp). The staff can develop a feeling for the culture behind their organization relatively early in their employment. The actual culture of an organization can be challenging to define, yet most are aware of it when they encounter that culture. An example would be the comparison between a large corporation and a non profit hospital, one has elaborate furnishings, staff dress in expensive clothing, the discussions you might overhear, the other much more basic and functional, with a much more humble appearance and ambience. The environment itself tells a great deal about the culture of an organization much like you’d view someone’s personality. In a corporate environment many see this as a system that has a wide variety of inputs and outputs. We make assumptions in regard to an organization based on our own values and culture. Change is often required to achieve the goals of a specific project. The project leader needs to have a strong understanding of the organizational culture to anticipate and overcome failure due to poor planning (

In the above scenario, the culture presenting itself is one of low morale, resulting in several key team members feeling disgusted. This impacts the morale of the other team players who fear they will have to do the extra work without compensation. The selection process, if rooted in the corporate culture, would perhaps have different results. There are some theories about linking organizational culture to the selection, prioritization and ultimately, the success of the organization. Example 1, just as there are different types of personalities there are different types of cultures. According to Sonnenfield there are four types of cultures “academy type where staff has an elevated skill set (michaelschmidt). They are loyal to the organization and strive to move up in the organization while developing and expanding their skills. This type of culture is found in hospitals, universities, and large businesses. The “baseball team culture” or “free agents” who have skills that are

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