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Article
Publication date: 8 November 2018

Michelle Turner, Christina Scott-Young and Sarah Holdsworth

Resilience development during university can increase the likelihood of positive employment outcomes for project management graduates in what is known as a stressful…

Abstract

Purpose

Resilience development during university can increase the likelihood of positive employment outcomes for project management graduates in what is known as a stressful profession where the prevalence of project failure, job insecurity, and burnout is high. However, a focus on student resilience in project management education is scarce. The purpose of this paper is to address this gap by establishing a baseline profile of resilience for project management students, identifying priority areas of resilience development and exploring the relationship between resilience and well-being.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 292 Australian students undertaking project management studies completed a survey comprising of the Resilience at University scale, the Short Warwick–Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale and an item assessing sleep adequacy.

Findings

A resilience profile for undergraduate, postgraduate, male and female project management students was calculated. The resilience profile identified differences according to gender, and between undergraduate and postgraduate students. Mental well-being and adequate sleep were found to be significantly related to resilience.

Practical implications

Findings support the call for a greater emphasis on resilience development in the project management curriculum for undergraduates and postgraduates. One priority area likely to facilitate resilience is the ability to maintain perspective. As well as supporting academic achievement, it will assist graduates to navigate through complex, uncertain and challenging project environments.

Originality/value

This is the first known study of resilience for students undertaking project management studies in higher education.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 12 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 8 June 2021

Guinevere Gilbert, Michelle Turner and Sarah Holdsworth

In Australia, it is estimated that volunteers provide over $14.6 billion of unpaid labour to not-for-profit organisations. Much of the work that volunteers undertake is…

Abstract

Purpose

In Australia, it is estimated that volunteers provide over $14.6 billion of unpaid labour to not-for-profit organisations. Much of the work that volunteers undertake is within a project context, yet the impact of a project and its environment on volunteer commitment is unknown. A conceptual model proposes three categories of factors that impact volunteer commitment to a project: purposeful, emotional and contextual. The purpose of this research is to empirically explore the conceptual model of volunteer commitment with volunteers working on projects in order to seek support for, and refine, the model.

Design/methodology/approach

The research design was exploratory and Q methodology was used as a framework to collect and analyse data. Forty-one Australian volunteers engaged in project-based tasks participated in the study.

Findings

Refinement of the initial conceptual model of volunteer commitment is required. The three categories that influence volunteer commitment to a project should be labelled “my contribution”, “relationships” and “the project”. The revised model shows early evidence that the project itself is the main commitment building factor.

Originality/value

Whilst volunteer retention is not a new field of knowledge, research such as this further informs not-for-profit organisations in their volunteer recruitment and retention practices.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 14 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 5 September 2016

Michelle Turner

The Rethinking Project Management (RPM) research agenda has been influential in multiple domains. These include industry, education and research. In response to the call…

Abstract

Purpose

The Rethinking Project Management (RPM) research agenda has been influential in multiple domains. These include industry, education and research. In response to the call for papers for this special issue, the purpose of this paper is to consider RPM with a particular focus on the human side of project management.

Design/methodology/approach

Prior to joining academia, the author worked as a project manager for 15 years. This provided an opportunity for the author to consider the influence of RPM from three viewpoints: project practitioner; project educator; and researcher in project management.

Findings

Resources originating from project management bodies of knowledge and professional associations relating to the human side of project management are limited. This serves to emphasize the importance of the RPM-inspired research and its influence on the teaching and education of project professionals. The RPM agenda has also served to endorse a research agenda which is wide ranging and one that seeks to better understand and support the human element of project management.

Originality/value

RPM has encouraged researchers to consider project management beyond classical project management and the iron triangle of time, cost and quality. In doing so, there has emerged a rich and diverse body of knowledge which underpins the human element of project management and positively impacts the skills development of project professionals and the practice of project management.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 9 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 6 September 2013

Michelle Turner

The purpose of this paper is to summarize the scope, methodology and main findings of a doctoral thesis about the demand‐resource experience of workers in the Australian…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to summarize the scope, methodology and main findings of a doctoral thesis about the demand‐resource experience of workers in the Australian construction industry.

Design/methodology/approach

A mixed methods approach was used to explore workers’ experience of demands and resources, which incorporated Q Methodology and survey research. The research was embedded within a constructivist epistemology, and Q Methodology was used to explore the subjective experience of demands. Survey research was used to explore resources, and individual characteristics and preferences of workers.

Findings

The research suggests that Australian construction workers can be classified into four broad groups according to their work, family and community demand profiles. Results indicate that the construction workforce is not a homogeneous workforce. Instead, the demands and resources associated with each of the four groups emphasises the heterogeneous nature of the construction workforce.

Research limitations/implications

Extension of the work‐life fit model recognises the subjective nature of experience, and introduces a new methodology to both the work‐life and construction management domains.

Practical implications

An understanding of the demands and resources of workers will better enable organizations to support effective role performance of a dynamic workforce.

Originality/value

The findings of the research form the basis of a new work‐life fit model which applies a demands‐resources approach.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 6 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 6 June 2016

Michelle Turner and Helen Lingard

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of health promotion interventions in Queensland, Australia. During the research period, the workers’ employing…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of health promotion interventions in Queensland, Australia. During the research period, the workers’ employing organization, a large contracting organization, was engaged in a competitive tender to renew their service contract. The research therefore provided an opportunity to examine the impact of health promotion interventions in project-based work environments under conditions of job insecurity.

Design/methodology/approach

The sample comprised of workers contracted to provide facility maintenance and management services for a power station. Data were collected using a longitudinal survey of workers’ health, weekly logs recording health behaviour, and a post-intervention evaluation workshop. Health interventions implemented sought to encourage workers to eat more fruit and participate in a physical exercise programme.

Findings

Findings revealed that workers’ health was generally lower than the Queensland male population when measured using a standardized norm-based tool. The log data revealed that health behaviour fluctuated over time but did not show significant or sustained improvement with the introduction of the health interventions. The evaluation workshop revealed that workers’ concerns about their job security during the research period impacted their health behaviours.

Originality/value

The need to address the structural and organizational factors that influence the health of project-based workers is highlighted. In particular, concerns about continuity of work may otherwise reduce the beneficial effect of health promotion programmes.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 9 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 4 April 2016

Michelle Turner and Anthony Mariani

The purpose of this paper is to explore the work-family experience of projects managers working in the construction industry, and identify how they manage their…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the work-family experience of projects managers working in the construction industry, and identify how they manage their work-family interface.

Design/methodology/approach

Structured interviews were conducted with nine construction project managers working in the commercial sector, and data were subject to thematic analysis.

Findings

Role conditions were found to impact on participants’ work-family interface, identified as working hours, accountability, and the stress arising from accountability. Participants identified four key strategies used to manage their work-family interface: managing work-based stress, having a supportive partner, prioritising non-work time for family, and trading off activities. Despite having to limit time with family and trade off social and leisure activities, participants did not report negative work-to-family spillover. All participants shared a passion for their work. Findings can be explained using the heavy worker investment model, which proposes that job devotion is linked to psychological well-being, decreases in work-family conflict (WFC), and work satisfaction.

Originality/value

Contrary to previous research, findings suggest that construction project managers did not experience inter-role conflict between their work and family domains. It is recommended that further research explore these findings using the heavy work investment (HWI) framework which considers how internal and external predictors shape workers’ behaviour, and whether HWI typologies moderate the experience of WFC.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 9 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 23 January 2009

Michelle Turner, Helen Lingard and Valerie Francis

The purpose of this paper is to explore employees' perceptions of work‐life balance (WLB) in an Australian infrastructure construction project, using semi‐structured focus groups.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore employees' perceptions of work‐life balance (WLB) in an Australian infrastructure construction project, using semi‐structured focus groups.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 43 employees participated in the focus groups, representing 50 per cent of the project workforce at the time. Focus groups explored employees' experiences of WLB during the planning and design stage of the project, as well as their expectations for the management of WLB during the construction phase.

Findings

Project culture, project resourcing and the schedule demands of the construction stage of the project were identified as barriers for WLB, while participants believed that the “project alliance” delivery model, flexibility of working hours and the project management team's support for WLB would facilitate WLB in the project.

Research limitations/implications

Data were collected from one case study project which utilised an alliance delivery model. Therefore, the results cannot be generalised to the construction industry as a whole or to construction projects utilising an alliance delivery model. Data were collected from professional and white collar workers therefore the results cannot be generalised to blue collar workers. The research findings suggest new directions for future research in WLB related to project settings.

Practical implications

The study will provide project managers with a better understanding of work‐life experiences of project teams and highlight the barriers and facilitating factors for WLB.

Originality/value

WLB has been widely investigated in static work settings, however it is not well understood how research findings translate to project settings as little research has been conducted in this area.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 2 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 9 November 2012

Helen Lingard, Valerie Francis and Michelle Turner

This research aims to explore the relationship between work time demands, work time control and supervisor support in the Australian construction industry.

Abstract

Purpose

This research aims to explore the relationship between work time demands, work time control and supervisor support in the Australian construction industry.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey was undertaken with waged and salaried construction workers in two construction organizations (n=261).

Findings

Work time demands were positively correlated with time‐ and strain‐based work interference with family life (WIF) but inversely correlated with time‐ and strain‐based family interference with work (FIW). Work‐family enrichment was inversely correlated with work time demands and positively correlated with both work time control and social support from one's supervisor. Respondents with high work time demands and low work time control (or low supervisor support) reported the highest levels of time‐ and strain‐based WIF. The lowest levels of WIF were reported by respondents in low work time demands and high work time control (or high supervisor support) jobs classifications. However, jobs high in both work time demands and work time control reported the highest levels of work‐to‐family enrichment.

Research limitations/implications

The results suggest that work‐family conflict and work‐family enrichment should be treated as two distinct concepts in work‐family research and that the job demands‐control theory is helpful in explaining work‐family conflict but that alternative theories are needed to explain positive work‐family interactions.

Practical implications

The practical implication of the research is that reducing work time demands may be helpful in reducing work‐family conflict but that the provision of work domain resources is probably required to enable positive work‐family interactions.

Originality/value

Previous work‐family research has focused on job demands and resources separately, while the job strain literature has focused on the impact of job demands and the key resources of social support. The originality of this research is that it examines the extent to which different configurations of job demand and resource can explain experiences at the work‐family interface.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 19 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 18 May 2015

Helen Lingard, Michelle Turner and Sara Charlesworth

The purpose of this paper is to compare the quality of work-life experiences of workers in construction firms of differing sizes and explored the work conditions and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to compare the quality of work-life experiences of workers in construction firms of differing sizes and explored the work conditions and circumstances that impact upon the work-life experiences of workers in small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Australian construction industry.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected in two stages. First, data from a sub-set of construction industry workers were extracted from a large scale survey of workers in Victoria, Australia (the VicWAL survey). The survey measured work-life interference using the Australian Work and Life Index (AWALI). Next a subset of survey respondents was identified and interviewed to gain more detailed explanatory information and insight into work-life experiences.

Findings

The survey results indicated that respondents who reported working for a construction firm with between 16 and 99 employees reported significantly higher AWALI scores (indicating high work-life interference) than workers in organisations employing 15 or less or more than 100 workers. The follow-up interviews revealed that workers in small construction organisations were managed directly and personally by the business owner/manager and able to access informal work-life supports that were provided on an “as needs” basis. In comparison workers in medium-sized firms perceived higher levels of work pressure and an expectation that work would be prioritised over family life.

Research limitations/implications

The research shows that the findings of work-life balance research undertaken in large construction organisations cannot be generalised to SMEs. Organisation size should also be treated as an important variable in work-life balance research in construction.

Practical implications

The research suggests that a better understanding of how workers in SME construction firms experience work-life balance is important in the design and development of work-life balance programs. In particular the challenges faced by workers as companies grow from SMEs require careful consideration and management.

Originality/value

Previous research has focused on the work-life balance experiences of employees in large construction firms. Little was previously known about the experiences of workers in SME construction firms. The research provides new insight into the work-life experiences of construction workers in organisations of varying sizes.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 22 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 4 April 2016

Derek H. T. Walker

Abstract

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 9 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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