Haksever A M
A model to predict the occurrence of information overload of project managers
Abstract: "This paper investigates information overload of construction project managers. The aim is to identify its occurrence pattern and predict the occurrence probabilities in a given circumstance, as a project manager’s information load is inconstant in nature, fluctuating over time, changing character and source. First, a conceptual definition of information overload is developed, using time as the criterion to describe information load. Information overload for a project manager is taken as occurring when the demands on information processing time exceed the supply of time. Second, the variation of information load throughout the project is structured using the interaction of a project manager with project members through the stages of a project. These two elements are combined in a matrix format where values for information overload are ascribed to cells representing the interaction with each member during each stage of the project. Six key project members, and four project stages are defined. To allow the subjective quantification of information overload, five practical situations of real life information overload are described, of which one must be chosen for each of the twenty four stage-member cells.
To test the model and calculate the probabilities of information overload, data were collected using a questionnaire survey of 140 project managers in the UK. Respondents were asked to select the relevant situation for each cell in the matrix. The resulting matrices had a weighting system applied and a mean calculated for each circumstance to create an Information Load Point (ILP), presented in an Information Load Matrix (ILM). The application of ‘Ordinal Logistic Regression’ into the ILP scores provides a predictive outcome, which gives the probabilities of a project manager being in any of the predetermined five information overload situations at any stage with any member. The detailed account of the calculations and the outcome of the analysis are presented.
The results revealed that the extent and sources of information overload of construction project managers vary throughout the stages of a project. The construction stage has the highest probability of information overload, followed by the design stage. The main sources of information overload are the project participants contributing the key expertise in each stage. In the design stage, the key contributors are architects and consultants, and in the construction stage, contractors and sub-contractors. Architects’ and consultants’ contributions to information overload show a similar pattern through the project duration, as do those of contractors and sub-contractors.
This is the first of its kind in construction project management and provides an invaluable source of reference and guidance on the probabilities of the occurrence of information overload in a construction project. The model predicts the situations where information overload is high, moderate, low or non-existent. It is then possible to concentrate on those overloaded areas by using the appropriate means or strategies."
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Permission to reproduce these documents have been graciously provided by Icelandic Building Research Institute. The assistance of the editor, Mr. Gudni Gudnason, is gratefully appreciated