Tactical implementation and Murphy's law: Factors affecting the severity of problems

  • Porter T
  • Smith D
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In this paper, we argue that effective implementation of tactical initiatives depends on the ability of managers to anticipate and minimize problems during execution. We conceptualize tactical implementation as a problem-sensing task and develop predictions regarding factors expected to affect a manager's ability to anticipate and respond to implementation problems. Our findings indicate that the severity of problems encountered during implementation increase as a result of higher levels of time pressure, affective conflict among implementers, and project novelty. Our findings also indicate that having more experienced managers, greater buy-in to the implementation plans and detailed implementation plans decreases problem severity. Finally, we found that the adverse effects of time pressure on implementation problem severity could be largely offset by the use of more detailed implementation plans. © 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Implementation effectiveness
  • Problem avoidance
  • Problem sensing
  • Tactical implementation

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  • Thomas W. Porter

  • Daniel C. Smith

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