To read this content please select one of the options below:

Critical variables and constructs in the context of project management: importance-performance analysis

Matti Haverila (Department of Marketing, Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, Canada)
Kai Christian Haverila (Department of Marketing, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada)
Jenny Carita Twyford (The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK)

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business

ISSN: 1753-8378

Article publication date: 7 October 2020

Issue publication date: 20 May 2021




Relying on the importance-performance theory first established by Martilla and James (1977), this research paper utilizes a unique statistical analysis instrument embedded into the SmartPLS software. It explores the importance and performance of key project management constructs and indicators with a purpose to make practical and actionable recommendations for project managers to identify and improve project management practices.


The data used were derived from 3,130 system delivery projects in the facilities management industry. The data was analyzed with Partial Least Squares Modelling (PLS) software SmartPLS, using its embedded importance-performance functionality.


The findings indicate the importance and performance of the project management constructs and their respective indicator variables in an importance-performance (IPMA) map. All three project management phases (constructs); proposal, installation and commissioning, were significantly related to satisfaction. The installation phase (construct) showed the highest potential for performance improvement in project management. With regard to the specific indicator variables, the variable “Coordinating their work with other contractors (or the owner's staff)” received a strong “Do better” recommendation.


The approach and results provide an easy to use and visual tool for project managers to assess the importance and performance of the various elements of project management. The instrument provides a project management direction for the identification of strategic enhancement areas as it is essential to recognize what facets of project management contribute most to the improvement of project management performance over a longer period of time (Cronin and Taylor, 1992; Palmer, 1998).



Haverila, M., Haverila, K.C. and Twyford, J.C. (2021), "Critical variables and constructs in the context of project management: importance-performance analysis", International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 14 No. 4, pp. 836-864.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles