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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Project Management, Volume 25, Issue 7, October 2007, Pages 674–682
The personality characteristics of project managers have been studied but have eluded a conclusive understanding of the motivations of project managers especially in regard to their work environment. The current research looked at the optimism of project managers and whether optimism, innate or learned, would allow project managers to overcome the impediments associated with the work environment. Based on a literature review and the testing of certain personality characteristics against negative work environment characteristics, we presented data from 858 project managers and discuss insights for future research of this topic.
The competency of managers has long been considered an important contributor to an organization’s ability to achieve its strategic goals  and . And while success in project management is dependant on many variables, there are only a few key factors , one of which is the leadership or the interpersonal skills of project managers. Attention has recently been given to these “soft skills”, the less tactical attributes of project managers , , , ,  and . As reviewed by 44, the management literature has long supported the contention that leadership is an integral asset of competency. In their research they found that competency can be segregated into a number of classifications, in particular, leadership as a managerial competency has as one of its components, personal characteristics or traits. It makes intuitive sense that as project management has grown from a project oriented function to one more strategically aligned with the organization , the innate skills of project managers would also evolve from tacticians to more enterprise focused individuals. In effect, project managers are now beginning to emulate their general management counterparts wherein leadership skills are equal, if not more important, than functional discipline skills . Our investigations of project managers consistently find outwardly expressed needs often reflecting well known issues associated with the daily practice of project management; inadequate resources, unclear objectives, lack of upper management support, changing priorities and the like. Yet despite ever present impediments to success, project managers seem to thrive and continue to enter the ranks of the profession in increasing numbers. Is there something in the personality of project managers that makes them especially well suited for this often chaotic and unpredictable work environment? We sought to better understand the issues associated with leadership characteristics of project managers; in particular, what skills or innate talents might arm them to effectively deal with this unique work environment. Our quest started with a literature review of the personality characteristics of project managers and, whether there was a correlation between these characteristics and project success. This lead us to probe below the surface characteristics of project managers to examine whether there were innate or subliminal needs that act as drivers in their daily work environment. That research, to be later described, suggested to us that indeed there may be an overriding personality characteristic that allows project managers to work more efficiently in their work environment. The research we undertook focused on the following questions: Q1. Are successful project managers optimistic by nature, i.e. do they have a positive attitude toward life in general? Q2. Can optimism in project managers allow them, through their leadership, to overcome impediments often encountered in the project management work environment? From our review of the personality trait literature we created a typology describing a set of positive personality characteristics as well as a set of antithetical work environments which would represent challenges to those positive characteristics. We tested these characteristics against our earlier research that had investigated both the superficial and subliminal needs of project managers. Our findings resulted in three hypotheses and a methodology for collecting and analyzing the data to test the hypotheses. The findings from 858 project managers are presented, followed by our conclusions and suggestions for further research.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The results of this exploratory research have demonstrated that optimism in project managers is an important attribute as only 7% of “optimists” in the quantitative survey rated their work environment as negative while 60% of “pessimists” rated their work environment negatively. A second key finding is that the tenure of experience in the work environment can effect the level of optimism corroborating the flexibility and adaptation findings of previous research , ,  and . These findings suggest that optimism can be learned, even in an unfavorable work environment. The research provides a basis for further exploration of optimism and its impact in the project management workplace. It also suggests new avenues for the training and personal development of project managers to better cope with their unique work environment. Our study was exploratory and, as such, had limitations including: exclusion of global regions outside North America; the sampling method minimized novice project managers; we did not equate optimism with project success nor project type; did not equate project success with either positive or negative work environments; and, the research did not equate optimism with leadership style. These all represent fertile areas for future research.