Auswirkungen von Komplexität im Projektmanagement auf die Beanspruchung und den Erfolg von Projektverantwortlichen

  • Effects of complexity in project management on the strain and the success of project managers

Harlacher, Markus; Mütze-Niewöhner, Susanne (Thesis advisor); Nitsch, Verena (Thesis advisor)

Düren : Shaker (2021)
Book, Dissertation / PhD Thesis

In: Schriftenreihe Industrial Engineering and Ergonomics 40
Page(s)/Article-Nr.: 284

Dissertation, RWTH Aachen University, 2021


In the context of the digital transformation of the work environment, both the phenomenon of complexity and the increasing psychological stress and strain on employees are gaining in importance. Project managers in particular often work in a (highly) complex work system and are exposed to high stress levels. The comparison of the complexity indicators of a project with stress factors substantiates the connection examined in this paper, that increasing complexity causes higher stress. It is also examined whether increasing stress results in a reduction of project management success. While the complexity of individual projects has been the subject of numerous preliminary studies in the literature, particularly in the form of descriptive approaches and individual measurement approaches, previous research has largely ignored the complexity of the management task (here: project management complexity) and its possible effects. This thesis addresses this gap by identifying and systematizing the complexity indicators of individual projects in a systematic literature analysis and by examining their practical relevance for project management complexity in an online survey of 50 project managers. In a further study with 523 project managers, a practice-oriented approach to measure project management complexity and its effects on the demands on project managers and project management success will be investigated by means of structural equation modeling. Even if the developed approach for project management complexity does not exhibit sufficient quality, single complexity indices point out the postulated influences on the demand of the project managers as well as the project management success: In the conventionial project management approach the complexity caused by the project teams has a strong influence on perceived stress. In the hybrid approach, stress rises with increasing complexity due to the general conditions in the company. In both management approaches, it decreases as the skills of the project managers increase. Furthermore, it has been shown that adequate digital support and increasing resources improve project management success. The quality of collaboration is proving to be a key factor in increasingly digitalized project management, which has a positive influence on project management success. In addition, differences can be seen at the level of the complexity indicators depending on the chosen management approach - both in the practical relevance and in the influence of the indicators.


  • Chair and Institute of Industrial Engineering and Ergonomics [417110]