Does flexibility in project management in early project phases contribute positively to end-project performance?

Afshin Jalali Sohi*, Marian Bosch-Rekveldt, Marcel Hertogh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
58 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to study the effect of project management flexibility in early project phases on end-project performance including its mediating role on the effect of complexity over project performance. Design/methodology/approach: Out of 13 hypotheses, 6 hypotheses regarding the relationships between areas of flexibility and project performance, 1 regarding the effect of complexity on performance and 6 other hypotheses regarding the mediating effect of six areas of flexibility were formulated. Statistical analysis was performed using partial least squares–structural equation modeling on data gathered from 111 surveys. Findings: Research results revealed that flexibility of “how-attitude” and “how-organization” has positive significant effects on project performance. “How-attitude” contributes to the flexibility of project management processes by having an “open attitude,” “wide approach” and “proactive attitude” while “how-organization” put the emphasis of flexibility on “facilitate planning,” “outer organization” and “inner organization.” Moreover, this research confirmed that complexity has a negative effect on project performance. Among the six areas of flexibility, flexibility of “how-organization” mediates the effect of complexity on project performance. Originality/value: The increased project complexity requires some degree of flexibility in project management to deal with project dynamics. However, whether such flexibility in early project phases has an effect on end-project performance has not been empirically investigated. This research contributes to filling the gap in literature about the relationship between project management flexibility and project performance. Such effect was investigated by studying the direct effect of flexibility on project performance and the mediating role of flexibility on the negative effect of project complexity on project performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)665-694
Number of pages30
JournalInternational Journal of Managing Projects in Business
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project

Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Flexibility
  • Front-end loading
  • Project complexity
  • Project management
  • Project performance


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