A comprehensive model of perceived project team performance

Date

2012-05-09

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Abstract

This research uses meta-analysis to integrate the results across previous studies and also conducts a multi-site field study to identify the most important factors determining project team performance. A project team is a group of people, typically from different functions, working together temporarily to produce one-time outputs. Project teams play an important role in organizations due to their ability to complete difficult and complex tasks (i.e., a project), and they are often utilized as a change mechanism to implement the organizational improvement. However, the overall project success rate is relatively low and management is struggling with project failure within organizations. Project success is directly controlled by project teams. As a result, the performance of project teams is of great concern to organizational managers. To manage project team performance, factors which influenced project team performance have been intensively studied in the literature. However, most studies have emphasized only a few specific factors based on a certain type of project teams. Possibly due to the differences in research purposes, project types, or the study context, these project team studies generated mixed results with respect to significant factors. Thus, there is still a lack of consensus on which factors most strongly influence project team performance. Besides, it is still not clear how to best measure project team performance, because project success has been viewed and defined differently in different studies. This research identifies the input and process factors which are most strongly related to project team performance and evaluates the relationships between significant factors and project team performance. The purpose is to develop a comprehensive model of project team performance for helping managers and researchers better evaluate and manage project team performance. The research procedure includes three steps. First, a systematic review of project team studies was conducted to identify the potential factors which are strongly related to project team performance. The measurements used to evaluate project team performance, including technical and social system outcomes, were determined based on the frequency of outcome measures used in project team studies. To compare the impact of each potential factor on project team performance, meta-analysis was used to compute the average effect size of potential important factors by integrating the results across studies. Results of meta-analysis were used to determine the significant input and process factors for further testing. Next, a multi-site field study was conducted using a survey questionnaire to collect project team data. This survey questionnaire measured the significant input and process factors identified from meta-analysis, as well as the outcome factors of project teams. Survey data were analyzed by using exploratory factor analysis to verify the survey scale. Finally, the input and process factors which most strongly influence project team performance were identified by using OLS regression analysis structural equation modeling (SEM). The relationships between these factors and project team performance were also tested. A comprehensive model of project team performance was developed using significant input and process factors obtained from regression analysis. Project team performance was evaluated by five outcome measures: effectiveness, efficiency, innovation, team satisfaction, and team learning. Based on the analysis results, guidelines of operating these factors for managing project team performance are provided. The findings contribute to project team design, management of project team performance, and further improving project success. The limitations of this research and areas for future research are discussed.

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Keywords

Project Management, Teams in the Workplace, Work Environment, Organizational Sociology

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