High-status project managers perform worse and fail more often than the average employee

18 January 2017

Doctoral research carried out by Amsterdam Business School assistant professor Balazs Szatmari (Entrepreneurship & Innovation section) concluded that projects carried out by high-status project managers were more likely to fail than those of their low and middle-status counterparts, and that overall, employees with medium status performed better.

Szatmari, who specialises in innovation management, carried out his doctoral research at Erasmus University Rotterdam in 2016. He found there were a number of factors that play a role in his conclusion. For example, high-status project managers are often given the benefit of doubt and are able to convince others to follow their lead. Due to their high status they aren’t subject to critical review of their ideas by others in their work environment.
On the other hand, management often carefully reviews the project plans of project managers with medium status and they receive more feedback or relevant criticism than a high-status project manager. Because of their lower status they also have more time to work on a project. These factors led to a better end result in their projects.

More background information on Szatmari’s research and possible applications for his findings can be found in an article in the daily Algemeen Dagblad (in Dutch).

Published by  Economics and Business