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The authors explore several aspects of communications theory to identify their relevance to managing a project-based productivity improvement intervention. The literature…
The authors explore several aspects of communications theory to identify their relevance to managing a project-based productivity improvement intervention. The literature on communication accommodation theory, groupthink and trust appear to have important implications for improvements. The purpose of this paper is to develop a research methodology used in conducting empirical data collection in the field to test the developed conceptual framework. The authors emphasize the importance of management theory to project-based interventions. The focus of this work is summarized by the research question: “what facets of communication impact on the success of a project-based improvement intervention?”.
Following a focused literature review, learnings from specific research were used to identify a series of propositions. The scope of the work was established to limit the range of issues under review. Next, a conceptual framework was designed that allowed a case study to be tested with regard to validity of the propositions. Further testing will be undertaken in a single company.
There is clear evidence showing the relevance of effective communication when executing an intervention to seek performance improvement. In particular, understanding the need of stakeholders’ is paramount that allows the design of a communications strategy. Each phase in a project-based intervention requires different styles of communication. There is also a need to have varying degrees of trust. Total unchallenged trust invariably leads to groupthink that hinders critical decision making.
The work contributes to the understanding of the application of communication theory to project-based interventions – that invariably aim at performance improvement initiatives. While currently the work is in the early stages of research, it does nevertheless show some useful early findings. Clearly further work is needed in international projects in the context of multi-cultural teams and external stakeholders.
With many interventions failing to meet their planned objectives there is a need to isolate possible reasons and to rectify or mitigate the causes. Project management and change management training should include a comprehensive understanding of management theories. This research will contribute to this knowledge base.
Project-based activities are used in most walks of life; the need for excellent management is therefore important. Invariably interventions involve considerable capital investment and their success advances productivity of nations. Understanding and integrating communication theories to their management, therefore, has significant social benefits.
The importance of communications is identified in the project management literature and adjunct disciplines. Professional associations and leading bodies in performance and project management, while emphasizing the need for excellent communication, have not adequately addressed underpinning theories. There is little research focusing on communication accommodation theory, groupthink and risk in the context of project management. The authors’ have not been able to identify any research on an integrated framework that combines these theories with managing a project-based performance improvement intervention.