Frontiers of Internal Marketing: How Cultures of Procrastination and Improvisation Drive Project Performance: An Abstract
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Decision-making literature heavily relies on the plan first execute second framework where project employees allocate time to plan and utilize time effectively to execute the plan (Wind and Mahayan 1997). More recent studies point out today’s time-based state of market competition where product life cycles are getting shorter and market demand is changing rapidly. Consequently, firms are faced with a diminishing amount of time that can be allocated to planning. When the time gap between planning and executing shortens, decision-making is forced to become more improvisational in nature (Moorman and Miner 1998). At the same time, the personal characteristics of project employees (e.g., procrastination and perfectionism) often forbid them from utilizing their time and workload effectively.
This manuscript explores how these deviations from the underlying decision-making framework influence project outcomes. Specifically, this study tests unintentional and intentional procrastination and its impact on performance. Also, improvisation is considered as a mediator of these relationships. Temporal Motivation Theory (TMT) is utilized to conceptualize the studied model. TMT recognizes time as the fundamental factor across motivational theories and the theory was designed to directly address procrastination in decision-making literature (Steel and König 2006).
A sample of managers from family owned businesses who have decision-making power and were part of recently finished project were considered here. Primary data was collected using a survey and adaptation of established measures. Mediation was tested with linear regression using PROCESS in SPSS.
Results indicate that intentional procrastination (vs. unintentional procrastination) has a positive impact on performance, while improvisation mediates these relationships. Moreover, perfectionism can positively affect the link between improvisation and project performance. These results offer both confirming and new insights to existing academic literature. Practitioners can benefit from these results as well. The negative stigma of procrastination and improvisation should be lifted and, instead, through corporate policy and culture, managers can unlock the potential of these seemingly negative employee attributes. Implications, future research, and limitations are offered in greater detail.