The Effect of IT Project Managers’ Mental Construal on IT Project Risk Management Activities
Prior research suggests that information technology (IT) project managers (PMs) often fail to take adequate steps to manage project risks and that this may contribute to the high failure rate associated with IT projects. In this presentation, I will discuss PMI-funded research that explores how IT PMs’ mental construal affects four key IT project risk management activities: (1) risk identification, (2) risk impact assessment, (3) risk response planning, and (4) risk response enactment. We recruited a total of 805 IT PMs for this research and conducted a series of four laboratory experiments. We found that a concrete mental construal of a project leads IT PMs to identify a greater number of risks associated with the project (Experiment 1). We also found that a concrete mental construal of a project risk leads IT PMs to perceive a greater potential impact of the risk (Experiment 2) and to perceive that more effort and resources are required for responding to the risk (Experiment 3). Finally, we found that an abstract mental construal of a risk response leads IT PMs to be more willing to enact the risk response (Experiment 4). This research contributes to our understanding of IT project risk management and suggests ways for improving IT project risk management practices.
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