Review of Selected Literature, 1980-1990
In a paper to the 1994 PMI Annual Seminar/Symposium, Verma and
Wideman adapted the concept to correlate with the natural progression
through the four generic phases of the project life cycle.
Figure 3 shows the concept with terminology
modified to suit the project environment. Given that the first two
phases of the four-phase project life cycle are concerned with planning
and the second two phases with execution, Verma and Wideman differentiated
between "leadership" and "managership", as they
defined them, and asserted that each is more appropriate to each
of the two sets of phases respectively. However, this does not take
into account the possibility of different types of project requiring
different approaches to be successful.
Figure 3: Stages of Leadership and Followership Development
In the 1980s, Keirsey and Bates revived interest in the Myers-Briggs
Type Indicator (MBTI, 1956) with their book "Please Understand
Me: Character and Temperament Types".
The MBTI is based on the work of Jung (and others, circa 1920) and,
as Keirsey and Bates show, bears a marked similarity to Hippocrates
ideas promulgated some twenty five centuries earlier.
Essentially, Jung disagreed with the twentieth century notion that
people are fundamentally alike. Rather, he suggested that people
are different in fundamental ways and therefore what is important
is their preference for how they "function". Hence, their
temperaments should be "typed" accordingly. By latching
on to the four temperaments of Hippocrates, the MBTI has developed
into a useful personnel tool and a lucrative consulting business.
For our purposes later on, it is worth describing the MBTI in a
little more detail. The MBTI postulates that the four "temperaments"
give rise to four separate but interrelated ranges of personal preferences,
or natural tendencies, in a given situation. These ranges may be
characterized as "information gathering", "focus',
"decision making", and "orientation". The combination
of these four give rise to sixteen possible "characteristic
Presentation is typically in the form of a 4x4 grid, each cell
containing descriptive text. Underlying this layout is a primary
X-Y cruciform formed by the first two ranges with each quadrant
containing a secondary x-y cruciform formed by the second two ranges.s
The two sets together, as shown in Figure 4,
give rise to the sixteen "types" just referred to. Since
the MBTI is intended to encompass every possible type of individual,
it is not unreasonable to suppose that it may be too detailed for
project management purposes.
Figure 4: The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator 4x4 Grid Structure
Turning to the "project context", Cleland, in his book
Project Management: Strategic Design and Implementation, discusses
project leadership and illustrates a continuum of leadership behavior.
This ranges from "Boss-centered leadership" to "Subordinate-centered
leadership". However, there is no discussion of how this might
be affected by the project environment, specifically, the phases
of the project life cycle. Indeed, in recent years much has been
written on leadership style, but mostly in the context of enterprise
management, not project management.
In 1992, Kezsbom and Donnelly reported on a survey to identify
practical qualities of effective project leadership.
Data was collected from 224 managers, project managers and specialists
working in a corporate environment. Interestingly, they chose to
report their findings under two major headings labeled "competencies"
and "know-how". The competencies or aptitudes, which encompassed
several sub-categories, was described as "Augmentable dimensions
of leadership which appear to be personality constructs, but are
capable of modification via skills awareness and development."
In the March 1996 issue of the PMI Journal, Kliem and Anderson
discuss the project manager's style or approach toward team-building
as a key variant in managing projects successfully.
They observe that "Only recently has the influence of the project
manager's personality on project performance received recognition."
They go on to discuss a tool known as "Decide-X" which
aids in identifying four primary styles in how a person approaches
relevant work situations. They then apply this to the project management
orientation criteria of planning, organizing, controlling and leading.
The four styles map closely to the four primary styles of the MBTI,
but unfortunately they use descriptors that are not terms familiar
to the project management community. However, Kliem and Anderson
do conclude that "Knowing the type of [project] environment
and the team-building style [required] of the project manager increases
the opportunities for selecting the right person for the position
For the sponsors and directors of projects, who must select project
managers for their projects, the issue is which of these concepts,
if any, are suited to aiding in making selection decisions.
Verma, V. K., & R. M. Wideman, Project Manager to Project Leader?
And the Rocky Road between..., PMI Annual Seminar/Symposium Proceedings,
Project Management Institute, PA, Oct 1994, pp627-633.
8. Keirsey, David and Marilyn Bates, Please Understand
Me: Character and Temperament Types, Prometheus Nemesis Book Company,
9. Cleland, D. I., Project Management: Strategic Design
and Implementation, TAB Professional and Reference Books, PA, 1989,
10. Kezsbom, D. S., & R. G. Donnelly, Managing
the Project Organization of the Nineties: A Survey of Practical Qualities
of Effective Project Leadership, PMI Annual Seminar/Symposium Proceedings,
Project Management Institute, PA, Sept 1992, pp415-421.
11. Ibid, p417.
12. Kliem, Ralph L. and Harris B. Anderson, Teambuilding
Styles and Their Impact on Project Management Results, PMI Journal
27(1), 1996, pp41-50.
13. Ibid, p41.
14. Ibid, p50.