Project manager, catalyst to constant change

a behavioral analysis


Brown & Root, Inc., Houston, Texas

Ed. Note:

Until recently, most of the articles appearing in PMQ have focused on the technical elements of project management. However, management in general, and project management to a special degree, involve getting things done through people. In this article, David Morton examines the “people” aspects of project management. He views the project manager as the catalyst in a system of organizational and personal relationships facilitating constant rapid change and the attainment of project goals.

Management is getting things done through people. Technical knowledge is not enough for every managerial decision has behavioral consequences. McGregor (1) stated that successful management depends not alone, but significantly upon the ability to predict and control human behavior. The Project Manager must manipulate his power elements with the technical elements through the human elements to obtain his project objectives.

The environment of project management has constantly expanded increasing in size and complexity of projects, high inflation, speed of new technology changes, greater variables due to increased short falls and more unpredictables have made the impact on any project a constant changing factor. Project Management has been defined by Jenett (2) as the managing and directing of the timing and quantity of resources, skills and knowledge to complete a particular endeavor in an orderly, economical manner and meet established objectives in time, dollars and technical results. The project element has been delineated as crossing organizational lines, having a specific beginning and ending, is unique and not a repetitious previous effort that works against budgets and schedules to produce a specified product or end result. Management in its purest element, is the planning, organizing, control, command and coordination of the activities of the human system to achieve objectives.

Where in the organization the Project Manager reports and the type of project management system he uses are key elements to final project success. The Project Manager must turn his staff into a real team, a group of men who work well and are enthusiastic and responsive to one another, who pulls for the company team and the project and not merely each for themselves. How can they be led to understand their joint as well as their individual functions in the enterprise so that responsibility is best met and authority most effectively exercised? How can this be done in terms of managerial control and the carrying out of company plans and policy? The more new people, the more problems of coordination, communication and cooperation. In the past, managerial control rested on the authority-obedience relationships between the manager and his subordinates. The executive had full authoritarian control, whereas the Project Manager must provide an environment for productivity. However, tight control has the effect of limiting rather than stimulating productivity. The Project Manager is learning the limiting powers of control by coercion, for such control can cause conflict, apathy and resistance. Productivity and profits of a business team require teamwork of its personnel and the management of men and not just the handling of machines, materials and money. The task is one of reshaping the team's policy and managerial approach to fit the body of knowledge produced by the behavioral science in researches which show how people can be motivated to perform their best. The use of this body of knowledge means looking into the authoritarian attitudes of most organizations. It means changing present practices so that conflict will give way to cooperation. The average manager's answers to the question of who is to be changed is that it is the worker or his boss. He doesn't think of changing himself. The first step, therefore, is for the man who manages others to take a close look at himself. He must examine his attitudes, recognize his inadequacies and failings and then reshape them into new insight and skill.

Into the team effort of project management, each individual brings a predetermined set of values, attitudes and beliefs that control the actions and reactions to motivation and the perception of their part in the team efforts. It is through the human elements that the day-to-day operations are or are not accomplished. It is the human elements that are the source of most of the problems. Their needs, perceptions, motivations and satisfactions influence how well they perform, how loyal they are to the organization or team and how valuable they become. Successful management depends on the employees good will which in turn depends upon the relationship between the human beings and must take into account their natural motives and desires.

What are the behavioral sciences? A definition of behavioral science is a body of systemized knowledge concerning how humans behave, the relationship between that behavior and the total environment, and why people behave as they do. When the term scientific is used, the connotation is that there are available some definite laws that can be applied to substitute for hunch and guesswork.

Management is more properly concerned with the behavior of people. This concept can be simplified if we use the same line of thinking as that used in the physical sciences: the relationship of cause and effect. When it is found through experimentation that with certain causes, the same effect was obtained and that variations in the causes caused different effects, a law was developed. Cause and effect also relate to management problems, but the number of variables is much greater. The problem is identifying both cause and effect and their interrelationships. Much of the confusion in management applications comes from the same prolixity of causes and effects. It is the development of and analysis of cause and effect that is the new frontier of management.

The most important single factor that has led to the interest in the behavioral sciences is the strong need felt for the development of a management science. As a science, it has to be of universal significance, in its processes, models and methods. Hence, the emerging management will be an applied science, standing approximately in relation to the behavioral sciences and certain social sciences, as medicine stands with respect to the biological and certain physical sciences.

Most of the efforts within the Project Management Institute programs have been in the technical elements of the organizational system. The tools and techniques developed have greatly aided in the success of many projects. However, management in general and the project management in particular, is the obtaining of desired results through people. Recent surveys by Alderman (3) reflected that top management placed the human aspects of management as the second highest “should have element” in their work requirements. Middle management placed working with individuals efficiently as their top requirement. Engineers in the same survey placed human relations skills as second in their development needs. Baker, Fisher and Murphy (4) in last year's presentation of the factors affecting success of project management noted many behavioral aspects in their report from the perceived success of the project, to how the manager related to people, client and team members. Industry Week (5) noted that the 1970's would see great increases in professional workers and managers with a decrease in non-technical and manufacturing personnel. Most of the research noted in this paper is directed toward the professional worker.

Looking ahead in business, major trends that are affecting the human resources appear to include improving of economic position of employees who have climbed the ladder of status, extending the role of government; growing role of union and their block power; exploding technology revolution, and larger and more complex projects. For a greater knowledge of human behavior, it is necessary to study all of the inter-personal relationships of individuals, groups, leaders and their environmental situations.


The situation in which the Project Manager may find himself is rarely clear and concise. Internally, depending on the project, his team members and the organization in which he is functioning, and externally on the environments which are able to exert change on his operation including governments (local, state, national or international) communities, clients, stockholders, unions, employees, managers, the Project Manager is surrounded by environments that are dynamic and constantly changing.

The functional areas of many companies, such as engineering, manufacturing (whether a product or a construction project), finance, research and development or marketing, each are within themselves complex and dynamic. Changes within the smallest functional subdivision can, as it expands through the compounded dynamic environmental situation, cause a change upon the Project Manager's project. Gordon (6) listed the management of project contingencies as engineering, material and equipment deliveries, component reliability, quantity variances, extended work weeks, productivity, workmanship, labor relations, and escalated interest rates.

Bass (7) noted that the organizational goals are constantly dynamic with time and are subject to such things as the influence of the economy (maximum production during wartime), special events (such as a serious accident causing safety to become more important), cultural influences (such as the recent attitude toward air pollution) labor versus machinery (advantages of automation as labor unions grown stronger) and finally, who are setting goals for the company (background of the executives will influence their choice of company goals). Still within the environment, Gross (8) suggested the global matrix which must be satisfied by the organization and their managers. These were listed as satisfaction of interest, output of services or goods, efficiency, investment in viability, mobilization of resources, observance of codes and rationality. Each organization will place a different weight on the different elements within this global matrix in order to accurately reflect the purpose of the particular organization.

With so dynamic a situation, the Project Manager must act as a catalyst to these constant changes to obtain the degree of planning necessary to achieve his goals; insure clarity of definition of responsibility for performance; act in decision making, and maintain a high level of visibility of the contingencies so that trouble can be spotted early enough so that corrective action can be taken.


In addition to the external environment which acts upon the situation, the Project Manager must also act and interact with the organizational structure in which he finds himself. He must not only deal with the formal organization of the company but the informal or social organization as well.

Organizational structure is the chart that should clearly define the lines of authority and responsibility of each individual and coordinate their efforts to obtain harmoniously the predetermined objectives.

The formal organization in which the Project Manager will find himself has been developed over many years from an authoritarian standpoint where the manager had absolute power of control. Position and place within the organization dictated the legitimate power that went along with it. Authority for the most part that went with the position was unquestioned.

The formal organization itself can take many shapes and sizes, depending upon the operation. The formal organization has been designed to relate man and jobs in a formal hierarchy of authority. It is from this hierarchy that the Project Manager must build not only his internal project team but from similar hierarchies, the total project team. Depending upon the type of project management organization, the ramifications of the formal organization take on greater or lesser importance.

A number of project management organizations have been defined and do affect the leadership, methods of motivation, authority structure and power of the Project Manager. In a pure project management operation, all of the people on the project team are directly under the command of the Project Manager. He not only has the authority of a manager, but also the legitimate power of reward and punishment.

In a weak matrix organization, the Project Manager is the focal point of control, but the focal point of direction as well. Project size and the most essential elements of the project are directly under him within the matrix project management. The Project Manager picks his people from the functional departments and returns them to that location at the end of the project. In a loose or an influence project management team the Project Manager is merely a focal point for communications and he has no authority to direct people other than by persuading, coercing and reporting to his superiors. This is strictly a monitoring authority type of project management with the Project Manager using expert and referent power.

Building an effective project management team, the Project Manager must discover and understand the interacting elements which are necessary to restructure the existing organizational patterns. He must provide an environment conducive to his teams motivational needs. The manager's location on the organizational chart readily identifies him by activity, status, and location. Although the organization must be considered as an interactive network, each position consists of a pattern of expectations from which roles, activities and beliefs are generated. The Project Manager must override almost everybody's self-interest to establish and accomplish the goals set forth by his project. Project orientation is not at all consistent with the formal organization or with personal stability and security. The goal of most organizations is survival, yet the very nature of project management is a project to be accomplished within a given period of time and the self-destruction of the project team at its completion. Thus, the Project Manager is involved in making up a new group of people, establishing new perspectives and maintaining order. Project atmosphere can prove quite unpredictable interfacing with the existing corporations. Short terms project aims may not be necessarily compatible or consistent with other long range goals. Personal motivations of taking part in the project or the challenge of the sense of accomplishments, however, if not constructively channeled can cause uneven performance, finger pointing and even in the end real bitterness and dissention against project personnel.

The Project Manager must frequently ask the functional manager to share resources and employ them in a fashion that is risky in the eyes of the functional manager who is evaluated on his own use of those resources. As his project grows in size, the Project Manager is faced with the additional problem of social subsystems or cliques which can develop and this intergroup combination must then also be dealt with as well as the formal project organization. The Project Manager can help in determining these social subsystems by raising such questions as what members of the project team will have to spend the most time together in getting the project done and which portion of the team are involved in greater contact during business hours. In this way the Project Manager can aid in the relationships within the organization by attempting to prescribe what subsystems and social systems might be developed. However, these relationships are looked upon by the individual and it is his perception which will generally dictate success or failure. Vroom (9) noted in his study on perception of organizational goals that the more positive a person's attitude toward an organization the greater the tendency for him to perceive a similarity between the organizational goals and his own goals for that organization. Also, a person will accurately perceive organizational goals with which he agrees to the extent that he has positive attitudes towards that organization. Finally, a person will accurately perceive organizational goals with which he does not agree to the extent that he has negative attitudes towards the organization.

One of the major essentials of the project team organization is the flow of communications and depending on the perception of the people within the team, communications can be delayed and feed-back distorted. Carzo (10) noted that information which is passed on to the manager can be distorted if the subordinate may not wish data to go to the manager which would discredit the person or he may pass on what he learns or what he feels the manager wants to hear. Again, he may try to impress his boss and therefore distorts the information. Distortion can also occur and delays result in information which is being passed both to the functional and project managers. Reliability and accuracy become important on the distribution of communication data. Steps can be taken to increase reliability but these must be weighed against the costs of not getting the data. When time is of the essence, multiple channel communications which may be sufficient for the formal organization may not be swift enough for the project organization.

March (11) reflected that the stronger an individual's identification with the group, more likely that his perception of the group goals will conform to his own, group pressure being the main stimulant. If we succumb to letting our goals and our values color what we are observing, chances are that our diagnosis will stop short of the level of good and bad types of evaluations instead of at the level of understanding how interdependent forces relate to each other. Lewin (12) noted that the success and failure does not depend upon achievement of a given goal but rather upon the relationship between the achievement and the person's expectation in the business or project management operation.

Indik (13) also noted that where many individuals are placed in one location, the more non-sickness absenteeism would grow, thus smaller work groups should be more satisfactory and tend to produce greater motivation to accomplish work.

Conflict may arise between the Project Manager and his top management. If there is conflict of interest between the Project Manager and the Functional Manager which top managers must decide, conflict can result when the Project Manager feels the decision was contrary to his important interest. Normally, top management should attempt to review and approve long range decisions in favor of the Functional Manager. If top management is indifferent to the project, the attitude may leave a general impression of indifference throughout the company which will lose support for the Project Manager. A firm position with judicial intervention when required is more appropriate but more difficult to fix and maintain.

Lawrence (14) placed three dimensions to the changing of behavior of individuals within an organization. They are the achievement of the organizational purpose, the maintaining of self-maintenance and growth and the achievement of social satisfaction. Any attempt at behavioral change which does not to some extent include all of these dimensions will ultimately fail. An organization can successfully initiate change in such a way that progress is made on all three dimensions simultaneously. An effective Project Manager must constantly seek multidimensional solutions and in so doing is forced into many paradoxical situations. He must strive to maintain a consistency in his own behavior while accepting the fact that his behavior may appear inconsistent from any simple one dimensional frame of reference. He must constantly seek for solutions that resolve conflict between the interest of several dimensions but accept the fact that such conflicts are inevitable and never ending. He must constantly seek to change behavior of the social system he is a part of, but never break up or destroy the systems as a viable entity until the project objectives are reached.

Project Manager

Leadership, situation and the interaction of the two have long been the crucial catalysts required to the success of any organization or project team. The project environment in which the leader finds himself is becoming larger, more costly, as more complex and more and more unpredictable elements are being added. They are all under constant rapid change.

The Project Manager and the Functional Manager work in two different environments. Steinmetz (15) noted the strategic differences in that the typical Functional Manager has been taught to standardize all operations while the Project Manager must learn that adaption and implement change to control over the work. The manager must be able to understand, utilize and manage the technicological complexities of the project systems. He must also be able to think in terms of integrating various disciplines and even innovation in a cross fertilization and exposure of his personnel to different disciplines. Such activity will in itself foster and promote continuous ability on the part of his personnel to adapt to the continuing changing work involvement. Thus the Project Manager is faced with a critical problem of integrating a variety of disciplines into his project team.

The Project Manager must, therefore, think in terms of living with constant change rather than existing on standard methods. He must think in terms of effective utilization of several subsystems within his total system rather than demanding that his employees comply with established principles, guidelines, rules and techniques. He must think about individual persons, their feelings, emotions and drives rather than viewing them as warm bodies, or mere machines. Finally, he must be result orientated rather than overly concerned with the method and techniques which technical personnel use in accomplishing this work. Although this can result in some problems, the Project Manager must be willing to break up his work organization into subsystems or subgroups and he must be able to fit effectively into the overall system. As previously mentioned, the individual is himself a subsystem and cliques have to be coped with by the Project Manager.

In dealing with leadership, we would have to explore the leader, his influence, his power, his authority, the type of group he is leading and the situation in which he finds himself. Within the functional organization the authority and power of the leader is usually closely tied to the position and the expectations and roles that are perceived by the position. Within the project management environment, the location of the Project Manager does in many respects give the same type of perceived power and authority. The full scope of this authority and power can be seen by reviewing where in the organization the Project Manager reports, the scope of commitment which he is allowed to make, the level at which these orders can be countermanded and the area in which he can give rewards and punishments.

The Project Manager may throughout the life of the project find himself in a variety of leadership positions depending on which phase of concept, definition, design, production (or construction) or operations. In addition, during the complete cycle he may find his reporting levels, his authority and his legitimate power varying. He must, therefore, be aware of the ramifications of the different types of management leadership styles which are available to him and the expected results that each could produce for him. His leadership is not wholly an individual matter nor are there any set answers or rules of thumb which dictate given A, B will result. The variables are human and dynamic and relate to one another in a complex fashion and results are not always completely predictable. McMurry (16) pointed out that understanding the research findings, together with empirical observations will largely satisfy the scientific prerequisite for achievement. The science of leadership provides the valuable basis, success will not be realized without practice of leadership skills such as appraising the significant variables and displaying the appropriate overt behavior. With the experimental results now available, it is obvious that leadership is something more than a science, it is and will remain in the immediate years ahead, both an art and a science.

Leadership is a supervision style whereby the superior furnishes services that obligates subordinances to him. These services take the form of training and advising, being readily available, supplying critical needs, supporting the work group and intergroup conflicts, helping with personnel problems, adjusting schedules to fit preferences of the workers. Effective leadership is promoted by maintaining some social distance and independence from subordinates, emotional detachment and degree of independence from superiors and consistency, according to Law and Scott (17).

It is necessary for leaders to possess those skills which comprise an ability to lead in a particular situation. Three different styles of leadership have been categorized by the behavioral scientists. First, there is the dictatorship which is characterized by control being centralized and a dominant decision maker who is the undisputed boss. Normally, freedom of individual members is highly restricted, morale is low, agreement and commitment are of little importance, creativity is curtailed, innovations are resisted, participation is low, communications limited, delgation of authority is rare. The dictator sees himself as a blunt, no nonsense boss. His job is to make the decisions for those under him. He imposes discipline on his subordinates matched by his own obedience and he therefore considers himself a strong advocate of company teamwork. He fancies himself as a put-up or shut-up type, compromise annoys him. Privately he believes in the rule of the strong. The strong and the able succeed, others must take the consequences of their personal limitations. The dictatorial obedience system of the manager is the only one he respects. He makes the rules, criticizes violators and personally tries to follow up on every aspect of the operation. He is a great believer in systems and paperwork and has control of his employees. He does the planning and tells others what must be done. McMurry (16) points out that the group's own development or improvement is slow. The leader ignores personal needs and interests of members. He avoids being a peer or a member of the group. In his absence the members’ production efforts deteriorate. As far as actual productivity is concerned quality is apt to be poor or at its best mediocre. The quantity of production, however, may be quite high.

This kind of leadership is more likely to be tolerated in large groups because the members value the patriarchs upward influence as essential. In small informal groups, however, they realize that in addition to exerting influence on his superior, he has time to be considerate and member like in the immediate situation.

Dictatorial decisions are made quickly but the implementation of the decisions may require considerable time. Some researchers have concluded that dictatorial supervision is best suited in situations if an emergency or crisis is being experienced. The dictatorial leadership leads to more productivity than does democratic leadership over a short period of time. However, in the long run democratic leadership seems to tend toward higher productivity. It has also been noted that when the dictatorial leadership is characterized either by the greatest instant of hostility and aggression among members or the greatest apathy, depending upon the group. On the other hand, dictatorial lead groups have the least “talk back” to leaders.

In the democratic or participatory style of leadership, the group has a high participation on the parts of the members. Members share in the decision making process and are thus committed to the goals and tasks of the group. Because consultation and participation required time, democratic decisions take longer to make, however, the decisions are implemented quickly because of commitment and involvement. The actual elapse time from recognition of a problem to implementation of a decision may be no longer than that required by the dictatorial group. Participation has certain benefits which may be worth pursuing. Creativity is at a high level, group improvement is rapid, communication is open, delegation and planning are effective, morale is good and the quality of work is high. After a group becomes use to this kind of leadership, the quantity of production will normally stabilize out at a high level. One of the major problems with democratic leadership is that it is more difficult for the leader. It is difficult to install this kind of leadership abruptly in a situation where members expect and have experienced only dictatorial supervision. The democratic leader also believes in teamwork. He feels that it is important to understand the personal needs, the wants and goals of his employees. He strives for excellence and aims at a highest results which are compatible with genuine concern for people and their needs. He emphasizes participation. He would like his subordinates to enjoy their work. He believes that they will work better and produce more when they think well of their boss. He expects there will be strong disagreement amongst his men but he encourages them to find areas of agreement. He helps them find points on which they can get together so they can work for further agreement, so instead of surpressing conflict he gets all people involved in it in order to work it through. Whenever possible, he brings his men to a new situation from the beginning. He shares his plans with them and encourages them to participate with him in solving problems on making decisions. He depends on the mutual trust and confidence. Members of the democratic group are more satisfied than members of the other groups. The democratic leadership also produces better quality and better quantity over a long period of time.

At the other extreme, is the laissez-faire or compromiser leadership style. He is normally considered an easy boss compared to the dominator or dictator. He does not push people. He often finds himself making accommodations. He has a desire to avoid conflict, even though he believes his position is the right one. He sees himself as a practical executive. He avoids setting high goals and takes the middle-of-the-road position. He overlooks mistakes if they don't occur too often. He does the planning, but nullifies his proposals if they are challenged. He believes one thing in common with the others, he believes firmly in teamwork. However, he will give no suggestions unless they are directly asked and neither praises nor punishes the group or his members. The group's effort may result in chaos with no leadership. This kind of group is rarely found and not much is known about the consequences of the type of power distribution. There is some evidence, however, which indicates that in some groups, depending on the nature of the task, an effective, informal organization will naturally emerge.

The leader should set and communicate a high level of expectations. His expectations should be reasonable but at the same time should require his subordinates to stretch. His expectations are not so unrealistic that the group members see no chance for fulfilling them. Little improvement will be realized. His expectations will constitute a fairly effective floor but not a ceiling on the group's performance.

The Project Manager must keep in mind both distinctions in the idea of leadership. The personal quality and leadership as an organizational function. First refers to a special combination of personal characteristics: the second refers to the distribution throughout an organization of decision making powers. Depending on his situation, his project and his environment, the Project Manager can mold his style of leadership to obtain the results consistent with his objectives.

Project Team

One of the major tasks of the Project Manager is the assembling and putting together of the project team into a cohesive group. Cohesiveness may be thought of as the average results of the forces acting on the group members to remain in the group; the determination of the “we's” as opposed to the “I” feeling within the group. Factors which give rise to group cohesiveness may be classified as those relating to the group itself and those relating to the individual needs within the group. The group itself may act as a source of attractiveness through the nature of its goal, its activities, its program, composition and its objective. The esteem gained by belonging to the group might satisfy the individual needs. Most of these factors must be considered when the group is being created and is being continued. A cohesive group tends to be composed of individuals with similar interests and backgrounds that are able to communicate with each other. They will tend to be more cohesive if they are formed in the higher status group. Informal grouping tends to be composed of people who work near each other and exhibit some similar characteristics, having common interest, values and close working relationships.

How can you build a winning cohesive team? There is no single magical formula in this combination of techniques. It is based partly on effective communications, partly on sincere interest in the team members, and partly on personal enthusiasm for the future. McMurry (16) summarized a number of the team members’ ramifications by noting that the behavior of a subordinate is influenced by the degree to which he identifies with a cohesive group with a team spirit. A Project Manager should realize that a cohesive group is a powerful force which can work for the good or detriment of the organization. Group cohesiveness results in greater productivity when the organization is seen as supportive rather than threatening to the member's sense of personal worth and status. Pressure usually results in higher productivity and morale is the highest under moderate pressure within the group. Group members are more likely to accept goals as their own and to work towards those goals when they have participated in setting them. Productivity within the group also depends to a large extent upon the level of the leader's expectations.

The group has certain needs which if frustrated tends to disrupt its effectiveness. Groups have needs which may or may not be apparent on the surface. The members themselves may not realize the importance they ascribe to certain functions, these being catagorized as need for accomplishing the task, need for maintaining the status quo and need for development. The group requires certain functions to be performed, encouraging, standard setting, following, compromising, conforming, deviating, initiating, information gathering, information sharing, clarifying, summarizing. These functions may not be performed by the leader himself. He should, however, feel an obligation to provide for them. The group also tends to look to the leader to exhibit certain functions himself, such as orientating and facilitating new ideas and procedures, resisting some changes, interacting informally with the members, defending against outside pressure, representing the group as its spokesman, exerting influence on higher echelons, reducing conflict, facilitating individual adaptation to the group, defining work, restricting freedom, communicating, using rewards and sanctions, stimulating group progress and assisting in problem solving.

These needs and expectations are generally present in all groups but the degree of importance of each need is highly variable depending upon the severity of the group's frustration, conflict and anxieties will result if these needs are thrwarted. It is just a short step from saying that effective membership performance is synonomous with effective leadership.

Likert (18) noted that the form of organization which will make the greatest use of the human capacity consists of highly effective work teams linked together to an overlapping pattern by other similar effective groups. Groups have value, attitudes and norms. There is nothing implicitly good or bad, weak or strong about a group. Loyalty to the group produces pressure towards conformity. A group may demand conformity to the ideals of supporting, encouraging and giving recognition for the individual creativity or it may value rigidity of behavior with seriously narrowing and dwarfing consequences. Of course, as we expressed the notation of group or team, we mean members of the group. Dorwin Cartwright put it this way: “The relationship between the individual members and the team is analogous to the distinction made of mathematics between the properties of a set of elements and the properties of the elements within the set. Every set is composed of elements but the sets have properties which are not identical with the properties of the elements of the sets.”

In many instances in describing an organization, the ideal is not set forth but rather the symptoms which would show poor organization are described. Likert (19) has set forth those properties and performance characteristics of an ideal, highly effective team to include the situation, the leader, the group, the members, their values and goals and their interactions and relationships.

All the interaction, problem-solving, decision making activities of the group occur in a supportive situation. Suggestions, ideas, information, criticisms are all offered with a helpful orientation. This also aids in stimulating creativity, for the group does not demand narrow conformity as do the work groups under authoritarian leaders. No one has to “yes the boss” nor is he rewarded for such an attempt. The group attaches high value to new, creative approaches and solutions to its problems and to the problems of the organization of which it is a part.

The leader of a highly effective group is selected carefully, however, his leadership ability is so evident that he would probably emerge as a leader in any unstructured situation. The leader exerts a major influence in establishing the tone and situation of the work group by his leadership principles and practices striving for a cooperative rather than a competitive relationship among the members. The members and the leader have a high degree of confidence and trust in each other and believe that each member can accomplish the impossible. These expectations stretch each member to the maximum and accelerate his growth. Likewise, the group, when necessary, will temper the expectation level so that a member is not broken by a feeling of failure or rejection.

The group has been in existence sufficiently long to have developed a well established, relaxed working relationship among all of its members. The group is eager to help each member develop to his full potential, yet when necessary or advisable, will give help to any member to aid in accomplishing the goals set for him. Mutual help is a characteristic of highly effective groups. There is high motivation in the group to use communication process so that it best serves the interest and goals of the group. The group knows the value of “constructive” conformity and knows when to use it and for what purposes. Although it does not permit conformity to affect adversely the creative efforts of its members, it does expect conformity on mechanical and administrative matter to save time of members to facilitate the group's activities.

The members of the group are highly motivated to abide by the major values and to achieve the important goals of the group. The values and goals of the group are a satisfactory integration and expression of the relevant values and needs of its members. They have helped shape these values and goals and are satisfied with them. The more important a value seems to the group, the greater the likelihood that the individual member will accept it. Insofar as members of the group are performing linking functions, they endeavor to have the values and goals of the group which they link in harmony, one with the other. Each member accepts willingly and without resentment the goals and expectations that he and his group establish for themselves. The anxieties, fears, and emotional stresses produced by direct pressure for high performance from a boss in a hierarchical situation is not present.

The members of the group are skilled in all the various leadership and membership roles and functions required for interaction between leaders and members and between members and other members. Each member is attracted to the group and is loyal to its members, including the leader. There are strong motivations to try to influence other members as well as to be receptive to influence by them. This applies to all the group's activities: technical matters, methods, organizational problems, interpersonal relationships and group pressures and processes. This influence ability contributes to the flexibility and adaptability of the group. Ideas, goals, and attitudes do not become frozen if members are able to influence each other continuously, the members are able to exert more influence on the leader and to communicate far more information to him, including suggestions as to what needs to be done and how he could do his job better.

There is strong motivation on the part of each member of the group to communicate fully and frankly to the group all the information which is relevant and of value to the groups activity. This stems directly from the members desire to be valued by the group and to complete the project. Just as there is high motivation to communicate, there is correspondingly strong motivation to receive communications. Each member is genuinely interested in any information on any relevant matter that any member of the group can provide.

In the highly effective group, individual members feel secure in making decisions which seem appropriate to them because the goals and philosophy of operation are clearly understood by each member and provide him with a solid base for his decision. This unleashes initiative and pushes decisions down while still maintaining a coordinated and directed effort. The important aspect of the highly effective group is its extensive use of the principle of supportive relationships. An examination of the above material reveals that virtually every statement involves an application of this principle.

The Project Manager is constantly striving to have quality people working at peak efficiency in a cohesive group. This is another way of saying the integration of people from many disciplines into an effective work team. The manager must be able to understand, utilize and manage technological complexities of the project system. He must also be able to think in terms of integrating various disciplines and even innovating a cross fertilization and exposure of his personnel to different disciplines. Such activity will in itself foster and promote continued ability on the part of personnel to adapt to a continuously changing work environment. In many instances lacking real line authority the Project Manager must constantly lead, persuade and coerce his peers and his team through a trying period of change. Knowing the ideal for a cohesive work group and faced with an increasing challenge from a changing environment, the Project Manager can successfully put together an efficient, effective, problem solving team.

The Individual

The Project Manager works with constant change imposed upon him from his environment and in many cases from his own organization and the phase of his project. He must in forming his cohesive group keep in constant mind the individuals that make up the group, the team, the organization and the total project. We are in an age where advancement of technology has been astronomical. Unfortunately, these changes have not been accomplished with the necessary revisions in the individual values, customs, attitudes and loyalties. For as technology changes the material aspects of our civilization, so does it change the people involved with those material things.

It is the function of the Project Manager to design and adjust the work relationships, according to Webber (20), of the individual so that disturbances do not interfere with their effective performances. The manager must do this by personal transfers, appropriate personal behavior such as maintaining communications and his project team organizational structure.

One of the most difficult responsibilities of the Project Manager is to mediate between the demands of the organization and the environment which means internal adaptation and goal modifications in response to external conditions. The traditional view of the manager's job was that all outside contacts flow through the manager who feeds them into the firm and the team. The behavioral view reflects the Project Manager's decision making function diluted by specialist activities. The power and the ability to mediate between internal and external worlds no longer are so conveniently concentrated in one position. Actually, most information flow by-passes to management. Specialized subordinates respond directly to outside forces, thus circumventing the hierarchy control system. Functional analysis looks at an organization as composed of parts and the whole adapting to an external environment thereby maintaining the interrelated states of the parts.

The Project Manager utilizes the desires, knowledge and aspirations of his team members by allowing them the freedom to express them by en-couraging their participation in planning, organizing and controlling the team objectives. The manager will utilize the human system factors in a manner which will benefit the organization and the employee. When they have participated in planning and organizing of the work to the extent that they perceive that it is self-involving and enhancing, the work goes more smoothly and efficiently. Understanding what motivates a particular individual to work requires an analysis of many factors. Bass (7) has pointed these out as being the most important, what is the team member capable of doing, what is he interested in doing, and how involved is he in his work and the goals towards to which he strives. The establishment of realistic goals both for the team and for the individual is one of the key ways in which management can contribute to the positive motivation of the worker.

It should be understood that each individual carries into the project team a set of attitudes about authority figures including a set of expectations about what the authority figures should be like and a bunch of hopes and fears stemming from his previous experiences with authorities. In reality no Project Manager could hope to live up to these ideal expectations.

It is man which must adapt to his physical environment, his social environment and the unknown. For the most part human behavior is not a simple reflex, but is a function of a complex series of causes and stimuli. Any definition of behavior must be included in the existence of stimulus and responses between the active stimuli and the resulting responses. Human behavior does not result solely from the whims of the moment, neither is it the result of the individual being more than a passive blob with tissue to be punched and tossed around in an environmental stimuli. On the contrary, the human organism contains many innate and learned dispositions to behave in a certain manner when stimulated.

Governmental and many management control systems rely for the strength of their motivation on the attitude and actions management takes in response to reporting performance. Whatever standard of good performance is used, it is likely to be effective as a means of control only if the person being judged agrees that it is an equitable standard. If he does not agree, he is likely to pay no attention to comparisons between his performance and the standard. He is likely to resent and if possible reject an attempt by anyone else to make such a comparison. The best way to secure this agreement is to ask the person whose performance is being measured to participate in the process of establishing this standard. Many times a system is started with loud fanfares, works ‘well for a while and then gradually withers away in effectiveness as the initial stimulus disappears. In some cases, however, it may be too strong a motivation unless the standards are very carefully worked out. Incessant arguments can be created about the justice and equity of the reported results. The method which is most successful is where a general agreement on what basis of measurement is fair. A system should be adopted by the manager to the personalities of the individuals whom he is supervising. If the people in the organization are not motivated, all reports could just as well be sent to the dead letter file. One other thing is known, first, the fact that the worker knows that the reports are being made is in itself motivation. The essence of this motivation is the recognition of the dignity of man and his functional importance to the enterprise. Honesty and sincerity are the building blocks of good employment motivation.

The words to characterize the major aspects of behavior which are the most influential in the management process, according to Scofield (21), are: (1) learning, (2) perception, (3) motivation, (4) communications and (5) attitude formation and change. Formation or changing new attitudes within the individual is dependent upon the learning process. These attitudes will develop in any event. It would be beneficial if the environmental stimulant situation to be managed is done in such a way that a favorable attitude towards work, colleagues, and self would be formed. To do this means that the work for each individual must be established in such a way that their attainment is to some degree assured. The Project Manager will need to provide the employees with a more pleasant self-rewarding interaction as well as an interesting and self-fulfilling work experience. Each Project Manager must become familiar with the needs, attitudes and desires of those immediate under him if he is to produce the quality product which his team effort has been organized to accomplish.

To most employees, the manager is simply a part of his overall environment and not necessarily the most important part. The employee will make concessions to the manager to the extent that he thinks he must, but he will not necessarily consider it advantageous to do more than that unless it appears that doing so will lead to a lasting significant gain. That gain is not necessarily monetary, it often has more to do with a change in the role that the individual can play than with the money itself. All people are motivated and most of the management's actions have motivational effects. The problem is that too often people are motivated to act in unproductive ways. This is usually because they see no advantage to increasing their productivity or because they are actually motivated to thwart the organization if they can.

Today we have a number of motivation theorists who have reported over the last few years many and very different ways of employees motivation. Maslow with the hierarchy of needs and Herzberg with his satisfiers and dissatisfiers are but two. Maslow (22) noted an ascending order of needs which had to be fulfilled by the individual starting from the bottom with the physiology body needs, ascending to safety-security needs, to social relationship needs, to esteem needs, to self-actuation needs. These would indicate that when a person is at a level of a particular need his behavior and personality are shaped by the drive to put down that need. He is little affected by needs higher up on that scale and once the need is fulfilled, it no longer remains as a need.

Herzberg (23) reflected that those items which gave good feelings and motivations have little power to dissatisfy. The dissatisfiers had little power to motivate when removed as a source of dissatisfaction. The motivators are those factors intimately associated with the work itself and are classified as follows: (1) achievement, succeed in solving a problem, seeing good results of work performed, completing a challenging job, having one's judgment vindicated (2) recognition, receiving earned praise or acknowledgement from superiors, subordinates, peers, the public, the company or anywhere the work is performed (3) advancement, getting an upward change in status or promotion (4) responsibility, being given a new job, being permitted to work without close supervision, being responsible for one's own work and for the work of others and (5) work itself, like the work being performed, doing challenging or creative work, turning out a complete piece of work. Herzberg also noted that there were a group of maintenance and hygiene items which were dissatisfiers and have to do with the work situation and the fringe area of the job itself. These were included, such items as: (1) company policy, administration, supervision (2) interpersonal relationships (3) supervision and technical relationships, superior's ability to provide technical guidance, with competence, fairness and willingness to train (4) salary, all the things involved in compensating, fairness of the wage system whether increases are given begrudgingly or late and whether differentials are fair and (5) working conditions, light, space, ventilation, tools, shop, office location, etc. Hezberg concluded that individuals tend to be hygiene minded or motivation minded, responding more readily to one type of factor. This phenomenon appears to be related to the individual's personality rather than to the nature of factor itself. The motivation seekers are relatively insensitive to unsavory factors in the environment. The hygience seekers are preoccupied with the non-job factors, benefit plans, working conditions, pay status, etc. They are normally dissatisfied and show only slight interest at the quality of their work.

Maintenance factors must be kept at an adequate level so they don't surge up as dissatisfiers. Motivation is found in things close to the job and its performance. It is cheaper to achieve the hygiene in terms of dollars but it is much dearer in terms of supervisory and management skills required. Organizations and jobs within the organization must be restructured to provide challenge and opportunity for growth. The engineer will find achievement, recognition, advancement, responsibility and work itself as the big positive motivators.


Acting as a catalyst, the Project Manager with his single point of responsibility and centralized planning and control can more efficiently and effectively respond to the constant rapid changes in his external and internal environments, molding his individuals into a team to obtain his project objectives. The very nature of the project management organization often produces conflict with the functional organizational setup and in many instances the Project Manager must coerce people into getting the work done since he may not have the legitimate authoritarian power to direct the work.

He must set the objectives and expectations for the team and the individuals and should keep in mind those motivators which will aid in obtaining results in the most efficient manner. The behavioral aspect would indicate that as a democratic leader with participation from his team members he can accomplish the most over the longest period of time. Give people a sense of achievement in their work and opportunity as group members to participate in making decisions and a chance to satisfy their need for recognition. Most people work because they want to. It fulfills the important need of our adult society. Working as a source of fulfillment calls for ego satisfaction, self-esteem and simply pride.

In controlling his operations he should not be involved in how the work is done but should see that it is done. This in many cases would involve management by exception since in a complex organization he is unable to control or do all elements that affect his objective. The Project Manager through coercion, by setting of objectives, by including participation of his members and by controlling by exception, can cope with his project and complete it on time, within budget and of the technical quality required.


1. D. McGregor, The Human Side of Enterprise, McGraw-Hill, New York, (1960).

2. Eric Jenett, “Guidelines for Successful Project Management,” Chemical Engineering, pp. 70-82, (July 9, 1973).

3. E. Alderman, S.S. Dublin, H.L. Marlow, “What Bosses Think They Should Know,” Guidelines for Better Management, H.P.I. Vol. II, pp. 108-112, (1969).

4. Bruce N. Baker, Dalmar Fisher, David C. Murphy, “Factors Affecting Success of Project Management,” P.M.I. Fifth International Seminar Symposium, pp. 681-684, (1973).

5. “People Management,” Industry Week, pp. 52-69, (January 5, 1970).

6. R. H. Gorden, “Project Management for Maximum Controls,” AACE Bulletin, (April 1972).

7. Bernard M. Bass, Organizational Psychology, Allyn and Bacon, Inc., Boston, (1965).

8. Bertrom M. Gross, Organizations and Their Management. Free Press, New York, (1968).

9. Victor H. Vroom, “The Effects of Attitudes on Perception of Organizational Goals,” Human Relations, pp. 229-239, (1960).

10. Rocco Carzo, Jr., John N. Yanouzas, Formal Organizations, A Systems Approach, R. D. Irwin, Homewood, 111. (1967).

11. James G. March, Herbert A. Simon, Organizations, Wiley, New York, (1958).

12. Kurt Lewin, Dynamic Theory of Personality, McGraw-Hill, New York, (1935).

13. Bernard Indik, “Some Effects of Organization Size on Members’ Attitudes and Behaviors,” People, Groups and Organizations, Teachers College Press, New York, (1968).

14. Paul R. Lawrence, The Changing of Organizational Behavior Patterns, Harvard University Press, (1958).

15. Lawrence L. Steinmetz, “Systems Approach — Better Management,” Guidelines for Better Management, H.P.I. Vol. II, pp. 32-36, (1969).

16. Fred D. McMurry, “The Art and Science of Leadership,” Guidelines for Better Management, H.P.I. Vol. I, pp. 134-142, (1968).

17. Peter M. Blau, Richard W. Scott, “The Role of the Supervisor,” Formal Organizations, pp. 140-164, Chandler Publishing Co., San Francisco, (1962).

18. Renis Likert, New Patterns of Management, McGraw-Hill, New York, (1961).

19. Renis Likert, The Human Organization, McGraw-Hill, New York, (1967).

20. Ross A. Webber, David R. Hampton, Charles E. Summer, Organizational Behavior, and the Practice of Management, Scott Foreman & Co., Glenview, Ind., (1968).

21. Robert W. Scofield, Dodd H. Bogart, Donald R. Domm, Human Behavior and Administration, pre-publication Edition, University of Houston, Houston, (1968).

22. A.H. Maslow, Motivation and Personality, Harper and Row, New York, (1954).

23. Frederick Herzberg, Work and the Nature of Man, World Publishing Co., Cleveland, (1966).



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