Date of this Version


Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Details

Submitted Version.

Aitken, A. & Crawford, L. H. (2008). Senior management perceptions of effective project manager behavior: An exploration of a core set of behaviors for superior project managers. Paper presented at the Project Management Institute (PMI) research conference, Warsaw, Poland.

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© Copyright Project Management Institute, 2008

Reproduced with permission.


Successful project managers continually demonstrate a core set of behaviors that enable them to effectively lead project teams. This paper examines an exploratory study attempting to distinguish the core behaviors--as determined by senior managers--of effective project managers. In doing so, it defines the study's six interview questions that 41 senior managers were asked to answer in relation to 32 personality dimensions and 20 behavioral competencies. It overviews the key previous studies on the behavioral profiles of superior-performing project managers; it explains the authors' research methodology and reports the research findings, identifying the seven necessary personality characteristics common among successful project managers and five unnecessary personality characteristics not common among this group. It then discusses the behaviors reported as associated with superior-performing project managers and the two variables affecting these findings: Does organizational project maturity affect project manager behaviors? Does senior manager influence which behaviors they perceived among superior-performing project managers? It identifies several significant correlations among the variables; it compares this study's findings with the outcome of a 2005 study and two project management standards, noting the key relationships among variables and behaviors.



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