Decision-making and behavior fluidity: How focus on completion and emphasis on safety changes over the course of projects

Stephen E. Humphrey, Henry Moon, Donald E. Conlon, David A. Hofmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present the results of two longitudinal studies that examine how the level of project completion affects decisions and worker outcomes. In a lab study, we find that as a project approaches completion, task completion is rated as increasingly more important and economic motives (e.g., finishing on budget) as increasingly less important. We also find that incremental resources dedicated to safety demonstrate a curvilinear relationship with level of completion, with the least resources dedicated to safety in the middle of projects. In an archival field study, we use data from the road construction industry to find additional support for the curvilinear relationship between safety and level of completion found in the lab study, with worker accidents peaking near the midpoint of projects. Our results demonstrate that attentional focus and behavior are fluid over the course of a project, specifically in response to the level of completion of that project.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-27
Number of pages14
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Volume93
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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