Impact of role in the decision to fail

An exploratory study of terminated projects

David Dilts, Ken R. Pence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Our research examines factors used by public service personnel and their contractors to reach the decision to terminate a project. Two decision-making roles are studied: executives, those with the authority to start or cancel a project, and project managers, those who direct the day-to-day operations of the project. Our exploratory survey research, an initial step in this topic, suggests that different roles cluster critical termination factors uniquely and use different decision weighting levels on these factors. On a second construct, information gathering actions, such as scanning and interpretation, show an indication of bias, particularly sunk cost bias, and this bias is experienced differently by executives and project managers. Interestingly, the scale of a project, in terms of labor-hours, calendar time, or budget, does not appear to be related to perception of 'failure'. The implications for the management of government safety projects are that care must be taken to understand the differing viewpoints of the two types of decision-makers and that the initial presentation of information concerning a project may influence the perception of a project's outcome. While there are several implications for operations management research, the most critical is that care must be given when surveying "managers" concerning subjective measures of 'success' or 'failure' as there can be radical perceptual differences by role.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)378-396
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Operations Management
Volume24
Issue number4 SPEC. ISS.
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Managers
Personnel
Public Services
Operations Management
Calendar
Cancel
Surveying
Terminate
Termination
Contractors
Weighting
Scanning
Safety
Decision making
Decision Making
Costs
Factors
Exploratory study
Perception
Project manager

Keywords

  • Decision making
  • Project management
  • Role bias
  • Sunk cost bias

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Modeling and Simulation

Cite this

Impact of role in the decision to fail : An exploratory study of terminated projects. / Dilts, David; Pence, Ken R.

In: Journal of Operations Management, Vol. 24, No. 4 SPEC. ISS., 06.2006, p. 378-396.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Dilts, David ; Pence, Ken R. / Impact of role in the decision to fail : An exploratory study of terminated projects. In: Journal of Operations Management. 2006 ; Vol. 24, No. 4 SPEC. ISS. pp. 378-396.
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