Date of Graduation

8-2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Information Systems

Advisor

Moez Limayem

Committee Member

Fred Davis

Second Committee Member

Pankaj Setia

Third Committee Member

Vikas Anand

Keywords

Social sciences; Applie sciences; Cognitive dissonance; Stress of IT workers; Temporary congruity; Temporal dissonance; Time management

Abstract

Despite considerable research interest, IT projects still fail at a higher rate than other projects. Primary causes for these failures are relational, motivational, and scheduling issues on the team. Using the concept of time as a lens, the four essays in this dissertation examine how the ways that individuals and teams structure time can help explain these failures. The essays formulate the concept of temporal dissonance at the individual and team level, and explore how temporal dissonance causes negative consequences for IT workers and IT teams.

Essay one synthesizes temporal dissonance from concepts of temporal congruity and cognitive dissonance. It proposes a model in which an interaction between salience and temporal congruity creates an affective reaction of discomfort, called temporal dissonance. Temporal dissonance provides a partial explanation for the mixed results for time management interventions.

Essay two extends the model and tests it empirically. The essay proposes that IT workers differ in several temporal characteristics from managers, resulting in IT workers feeling more temporal dissonance than managers. This difference results in greater stress and cynicism among IT workers, and results in reduced willingness to meet deadlines.

Essay three extends the theory of temporal dissonance to the team level, using group development processes, shared mental models, and cognitive dissonance as a framework. Conflicting temporal structures salient to the team create tension, called team temporal dissonance. Teams reduce temporal dissonance by engaging in affect and process conflict, which reduces the performance of the team.

Essay four empirically confirms team temporal dissonance in IT project teams. The study finds that the consequences of team temporal dissonance can vary. When internally generated, temporal dissonance causes the team to engage in process conflict, reducing its performance. Conversely, generated temporal dissonance causes a team to engage in affect conflict as a dissonance reduction measure. The reduction in dissonance improves team performance.

The four essays together triangulate on the concept of temporal dissonance, eliciting its existence from differing starting points. Together, they provide strong evidence of the existence and importance of temporal dissonance.

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