An investigation into the relationship between project managers' ambiguity tolerance and preferred project dimensions in healthcare: a quantitative exploratory study

Sullivan, Joanne Michelle, author
Folkestad, James E., advisor
Gloeckner, Gene W., committee member
Glick, Scott A., committee member
Timpson, William M., committee member
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With the advent of healthcare legislation beginning in 1996, information technology projects associated with the implementation of these regulatory projects were found to have ambiguous requirements, novel organizational relationships, and complex technology, requiring completion within stringent deadlines. Ambiguity tolerance is an emotional and perceptual personality variable (Frenkel-Brunswik, 1948) that reacts differently based on the situation including novel, complex, insoluble stimuli (Budner, 1962) and individuals may be attracted to or have an aversion of these stimuli (McLain, 1993). Healthcare project manager personality characteristics can be a critical success factor in the implementation of information technology projects. Performance resulting from ambiguity tolerance levels and preferred project dimensions, could contribute to the success or non-success of a project. Based on project manager to project (PM-P) fit theory (Malach-Pins et al., 2009), the purpose of this investigation was to test for a relationship between healthcare project managers' ambiguity tolerance (AT) levels and preferred project dimensions based on novelty, technology, and complexity (NTC). It was hypothesized that high AT would correlate to high levels of preferred project dimensions (NTC) and low AT would correlate to low levels of preferred project dimensions (NTC) and the results supported this hypothesis. Other variables tested, (such as years of experience and education level) along with others were not found to be predictor or moderator variables for AT or NTC. A quantitative, self-report measure was created using several demographic questions, McLain's (2009) MSTAT-II ambiguity tolerance measure, and Shenhar and Dvir's (2007) NTCP diamond framework model for preferred project dimensions. This study further extends project manager to project (PM-P) fit theory when a strong positive correlation was found, and possibly for the first time uses Shenhar and Dvir's (2007) NTCP (novelty, technology, complexity, and pace) diamond framework model as a quantitative measure. To increase the reliability coefficient for this measure to .78, the dimension of "pace" was withdrawn. A strong positive correlation with a large effect size (Morgan, G. A., Leech, N. L., Gloeckner, G. W., & Barrett, K. C., 2007, p. 94), was found for AT and NTC, r (22) = .49; p = .02 when p was found to be less than .05.
2020 Spring.
Includes bibliographical references.
Rights Access
healthcare legislation
NTCP diamond framework model
project management
ambiguity tolerance
PMP-Fit Theory
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