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The Silent Treatment in IT Projects: Gender Differences in Inclinations to Communicate Project Status Information Melinda Korzaan Nita Brooks CONISAR 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "The Silent Treatment in IT Projects: Gender Differences in Inclinations to Communicate Project Status Information Melinda Korzaan Nita Brooks CONISAR 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Silent Treatment in IT Projects: Gender Differences in Inclinations to Communicate Project Status Information Melinda Korzaan Nita Brooks CONISAR 2014 Baltimore, MD Under review: Journal of Information Systems Applied Research

2 Presentation Outline Introduction and Motivation Theory and Literature Review Proposed Model Results Discussion and Future Research

3 Introduction and Motivation Improving IT Project Performance by Preventing Failure – Ford Motor company spent $200 million on a new purchasing system...the project was terminated – The Federal government spent $4 billion for a new IRS system…the system was never used – 18% of IT projects fail to deliver desired results (PMSolutions, 2011)

4 Introduction and Motivation There are usually advanced warning signals of failure in Information Technology(IT) Projects Warning signals are often ignored or biased Reluctance to report information if it is negative Accurate project status reporting to upper management is vital

5 Theory and Literature Review IT Project status reporting has relied significantly on the theory of whistle-blowing –Whistle-blowers are described as “organization members who disclose information about dysfunctional organizational activities to either people or organizations who may be able to address the problems.” (Keil et al, 2004, p.66).

6 Theory and Literature Review “The pitfalls of project status reporting” Keil et al., 2014 –Executives can’t rely on staff to accurately report projects –An audit team cannot offset the effects of misreporting and withholding project information –Causes for misreporting and withholding project status information include personal traits work climate culture

7 Theory and Literature Review Individual Factors –The increased confidence in assessing information, which comes with increased experience and education, will likely lead to being willing to report that information (Keil et al., 2004) –Individuals who feel responsible for the outcome of the project are more likely to talk about project status (Keil et al, 2003) –Individuals who are optimistic about project success are more likely to talk about project information. The optimism may be used to deflect negative consequences of relaying bad news (Lee, 1993) –Gender Differences: Women more inclined to delay projects in the face of negative information (Cuellar et al., 2006)

8 Theory and Literature Review Work Climate / Project Factors –Warning signals that occur early in the development cycle are often ignored (Keil et al., 2014) –According to the “mum” effect, when individuals are faced with bad news they are more likely to remain silent (Lee, 1993) –When the organizational climate is one that “shoots the messenger” people are more likely to remain silent (Keil et al, 2004)

9 Proposed Model Years at Org. Years in IT Age Education Responsibility for Project Optimism Development Phase Negative Information Negative Consequences Inclination to Report Project Information Individual Factors Work Climate/Project Factors

10 Results Sample survey of individuals working on IT Projects (Snow & Keil, 2002) Survey items from existing measures Proposed Model was run to test direct effects for – Full sample (n=222) – Males (n=135) – Females (n=87)

11 Results – All Data *** P<.001 ** P<.01 * P<.05 Years at Org. Years in IT Age Education Responsibility for Project Optimism Development Phase Negative Information Negative Consequences Inclination to Report Project Information Individual Factors Work Climate/Project Factors R 2 =.22 β=.22* β=. -20*

12 Results – Male and Female Samples Males Females

13 Discussion and Future Research Extends current knowledge of factors influencing project status reporting Gender differences in status reporting Project team diversity Further support for organizations to promote open communication– don’t shoot the messenger Implications for promoting project management as a career

14 Discussion and Future Research Continue to expand research gender differences and diversity in IT project teams – Shortage of women technology workers - 20% technology jobs are held by women (Fisher, 2013) Include cultural diversity in future research Why was there a gender difference in the inclination to report project information? Whistle-blowing theory The influence of IT Project team diversity (gender, culture, field of expertise, academic and practitioner collaboration, etc…) on early warning sign detection, IT project risk management, and project performance. – Key risk factors such as understanding requirements, focusing on business information needs over technology, and stakeholder involvement haven’t changed much since the 1960’s (Rosenhauer and Korzaan, 2014) – Significant evidence that what we are learning in academic project risk management research is not being applied to project management in practice (Taylor et al., 2012)


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