Project overload: An exploratory study of work and management in multi-project settings. Zika-Viktorsson, A.; Sundström, P.; and Engwall, M. International Journal of Project Management, 24(5):385--394, July, 2006.
Project overload: An exploratory study of work and management in multi-project settings [link]Paper  doi  abstract   bibtex   
This study investigates psychosocial aspects of work in multi-project settings and how project members and project managers at operational level perceive their work situation. Work in a multi-project setting entails a complicated situation characterized by tight schedules, multi-tasking, increased coordination expenditures, and a large amount of set-up time when alternating between tasks. The study addresses the issue of project overload, a construct that in this study reflects perceived fragmentation, disruption and inefficiency, caused by switching between assignments for separate but simultaneous projects. An explorative approach was adopted for the study, and new models were created and investigated. The primary source of data was a web-based questionnaire. The questionnaire was administered to project co-workers (n=392) in nine companies in Sweden (response rate: 81%). The companies represented manufacturing, pharmaceutical and construction industries, and all occupied a leading position on their respective markets. The results show that almost one-third of the respondents were under perceived project overload, and that 21% (p⩽.001) of the variance on this variable could be explained by four factors. In order of magnitude, these factors were: (1) lack of opportunities for recuperation, (2) inadequate routines, (3) scarce time resources, and (4) a large number of simultaneous projects. Further, the study indicated that there are associations between high level of project overload and (a) high levels of psychological stress reactions, (b) decreased competence development, and (c) deviations from time schedules.
@article{zika-viktorsson_project_2006,
	title = {Project overload: {An} exploratory study of work and management in multi-project settings},
	volume = {24},
	issn = {0263-7863},
	shorttitle = {Project overload},
	url = {http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0263786306000329},
	doi = {10.1016/j.ijproman.2006.02.010},
	abstract = {This study investigates psychosocial aspects of work in multi-project settings and how project members and project managers at operational level perceive their work situation. Work in a multi-project setting entails a complicated situation characterized by tight schedules, multi-tasking, increased coordination expenditures, and a large amount of set-up time when alternating between tasks. The study addresses the issue of project overload, a construct that in this study reflects perceived fragmentation, disruption and inefficiency, caused by switching between assignments for separate but simultaneous projects. An explorative approach was adopted for the study, and new models were created and investigated. The primary source of data was a web-based questionnaire. The questionnaire was administered to project co-workers (n=392) in nine companies in Sweden (response rate: 81\%). The companies represented manufacturing, pharmaceutical and construction industries, and all occupied a leading position on their respective markets. The results show that almost one-third of the respondents were under perceived project overload, and that 21\% (p⩽.001) of the variance on this variable could be explained by four factors. In order of magnitude, these factors were: (1) lack of opportunities for recuperation, (2) inadequate routines, (3) scarce time resources, and (4) a large number of simultaneous projects. Further, the study indicated that there are associations between high level of project overload and (a) high levels of psychological stress reactions, (b) decreased competence development, and (c) deviations from time schedules.},
	number = {5},
	urldate = {2017-11-09TZ},
	journal = {International Journal of Project Management},
	author = {Zika-Viktorsson, Annika and Sundström, Per and Engwall, Mats},
	month = jul,
	year = {2006},
	keywords = {Individuals, Managing projects, Multi-project, Workload},
	pages = {385--394}
}
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