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Behavioral Aspects of Project Management

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Behavioral Aspects of Project Management


The behavioral aspects of project management consist of many different areas that a project manager must master. The organizational culture is one area that can take time to master for many project managers. The culture of an organization can be the success or the failure of a project. Management must be share common beliefs and values and be willing to stand by them at the most critical times.

The personality of the project leader is important and is critical to the project. The project leaders leadership will dictate if the project will be successful. The team has to believe in the manager and for this to happen the manager has to follow though with what they say they will do.

To build and manage a successful project team the project manager must be skilled in many areas. The project manager has to be able to select team members that will fit in with the team, manage meetings skillfully, establish a team identity and vision, establish ways of rewarding the team as well as individuals, manage conflicts within and outside the team, and be able to rejuvenate the team over long projects.

Organization Cultures Influence

Organizational culture research has identified ten primary characteristics that lead to successful or unsuccessful teams within an organization. These characteristics will in turn affect the selection, sponsorship, prioritization, and ultimate success of all projects in an organization (Gray, Larson, 2003).

1. Member Identity - is the employee's ability to identify with the organization.

2. Team Emphasis - the activities of the organization in which the team or individuals are emphasized.

3. Management focus - the decisions management makes that affect the employee's.

4. Unit integration - are teams within in an organization expected work independently or as a team.

5. Control - the oversight and control over an employee's behavior. These types of rules and policies of the organization to oversee employees will dictate to the employee what is acceptable and what is discouraged.

6. Risk tolerance - this allows or sets limits on an employee and teams to have a certain amount of innovation and risk seeking.

7. Reward criteria - the organizational culture to allow or disallow promotions and salary increases based on merit rather than nonperformance factors.

8. Conflict tolerance - the limits at which employees are able to air conflicts and criticism openly.

9. Means versus end orientation - is the outcome more important than the means to get to the outcome.

10. Open-systems focus - is how the organization reacts to external forces or environmental changes.

The organizational culture is a system of shared beliefs, values, and assumptions by which people (employees) are connected. As Gray and Larson write, Culture is also one of the defining aspects of an organization that sets it apart from other organizations even in the same industry. The organization culture has several defining functions that affect each employee. The first is culture provides a sense of identity for its members. People will feel a close and strong connection with the organization if the mission of the organization is well defined and values are well stated. Secondly, the culture helps legitimize the management system of the organization. The system must also be well defined and clear. The employees must understand the structure of the company and understand authority relationships and why their authority is to be respected. Thirdly, the organization culture clarifies and reinforces standards of behavior. These are rules that define the appropriate and inappropriate behavior of its members. These include, challenging the judgment of superiors and collaborating with other departments. These two rules can have enormous effects on project teams. Lastly, the culture helps create social order within an organization. Management and the organization must have similar beliefs and values. Without these, the organization would be in ruins but this does not mean that every department is sharing the same values or sharing the values to the same extent as the mission statement would suggest (Gray, Larson, 2003).

Project teams can have their own culture and it may reflect the organizations but it may not to the same extent. If the project team has the same culture as the company then the project manager will not have to be as strong in terms of keeping the team out of watchful eye of management because the team knows the organization will support it in its endeavors. If the team has a very different culture then the project manager will have to be stronger to keep the team in alliance with the organizations culture. If this is the case, then the project is in for a long and miserable road to completion. The team can begin to disintegrate before the managers eyes. Management has to be honest from the beginning and the sponsor has to be able to face management when conflicts arise. Management has to allow the team some leeway in its projects and believe in the project for it to be successful. If management is, constantly prevailing in its decisions to complete a project the project will typically fail or fall short of the expected goals set forth in the beginning of the project. If the organizational culture is too dominate, the team may have to become self-sufficient and may even have to be moved away from the company grounds (Gray, Larson, 2003).

Role of Project Leadership

The projects leadership and behavior are critical to the success of projects. The personality should reflect the type of projects they lead. If a project has to do build outdoor or sporting type projects then a stuffy old project leader might not be the best person.

The personality of the project leader is critical in many aspects of a project. It dictates the type of leader he will be and this should reflect the organizations personality and culture. The project team has to believe in their leader. The project leader has to follow through with what they say they will do. If the project leader indicates they will help in any way possible then when the help is actually needed, they do not have the time; over time, this leads to a team that not believe in their leader. Or if a project leader indicates that new tools are on the way to help work on a project and the tools never get to the team, then this will eventually hurt morale by them



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