Planning Intentionality and its Implications for Project Planned Time

  • Farhad Eizak Shiri

Student thesis: Phd


Within the construction industry, proximity of actual to scheduled completion time is a primary performance measure, and deviations from planned schedules remain a popular concern in the field of construction management. Prevailing research assumes that delays arise either from flawed execution of the plan or from failure to plan effectively. Thus, solutions suggested include improving execution and developing ever more sophisticated planning techniques. In spite of these efforts, accuracy in scheduling construction projects has shown little or no improvement, and clients continue to incur the significant costs associated with the failure to more accurately plan.Eschewing this traditional techno-rational view, the current research turned to critical management studies for solutions and investigated planning intentionality, the intentional and unintentional roles planners play in project delays. Thus, it sought to explore the following with respect to the project planner role: optimism bias, where a planner unintentionally mitigates negative information in decision-making; strategic misrepresentation, where a planner intentionally mitigates negative information; and group dynamics in time estimation. The latter is relevant because a team rather than an individual typically embodies the planner function within a construction project.To perform this research, two mixed-methods studies, preceded by a pilot study, and seven interviews with project planners were conducted. The first mixed-methods study investigated how intended and unintended actions of participants affected underestimation of time during task performance; and the second investigated the creation of collective intentionality, the transmutation of individual preferences into a group consensus in time estimation.Results of the first mixed-methods study identified the key situational variables differentiating intended and unintended actions of planners and indicated how these can influence the quality of time estimation. Results of the second study showed that group performance in time estimation was inferior to that of individuals and that group member interaction appeared detrimental to good decision-making. Reasons found were sense of power, commitment, confidence level, cultural diversity, conflicts, and groupthink. The findings were compared and contrasted with those obtained from interviews with project planners to enhance the scope of the study.
Date of Award1 Aug 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorMargaret Emsley (Supervisor) & Paul Chan (Supervisor)



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