Project managers’ overconfidence: how is risk reflected in anticipated project success?

Projects tend to exceed planned timelines and budgets. One reason may be that potential project risks are insufficiently reflected in anticipations of project success. Furthermore, project managers’ overconfidence may lead them to assess risk in a biased manner. The present study examines how risk assessment relates to overall anticipated project success and how overconfidence on the part of project managers influences such assessments. We assume that project managers’ risk awareness serves as a mediator between overconfidence and risk assessment. To observe the planning behavior of 204 project managers, we used a standardized, case-based survey. The results show that overconfidence reduces risk awareness among project managers, leading them to assess risks more optimistically and come to more positive conclusions about anticipated project success. When judging project success, project managers only consider the probability of a risk occurring; they do not factor in the impact of said risks on project success should the risks arise. Risks thus seem to be insufficiently reflected in anticipations of project success which might be a reason for high failure rates of projects.

Length of Resource
25 pages
Golo Fabricius, Marion Büttgen
Date Published

ResourceID: 177854

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