fbpx PM Graduate and Faculty Win ARCOM Emerald Research Methodology Award | University of Maryland Project Management

The UMD Project Management Center for Excellence is pleased to announce that a paper entitled “Happiness for Project Managers: Framework and Empirical Analysis” won the Emerald Research Methodology Award at the Annual Conference of the Association of Researchers in Construction Management (ARCOM) in September 2017 in Cambridge, U.K..  Authors of the paper include Clara Cheung PhD, Qingbin Cui PhD and Jocelyn Davis. Dr. Cheung is on faculty at the University of Manchester, U.K. and a May 2016 PhD graduate from the Project Management Center for Excellence at the University of Maryland.  Dr. Qingbin Cui is associate faculty and Jocelyn S. Davis is adjunct faculty both from the Project Management Center for Excellence here at the University of Maryland.  The team’s paper was recognized for the research methodology used to develop a conceptual framework for happiness at work, specific to the project management profession.

This paper is one of three presented since 2016 on the “Happy PM Initiative” which seeks to explore how the concept of happiness at work generally may be used to improve project outcomes by assessing key workplace factors which impact performance.  In this most recent paper, the team, using the Happiness@Work survey developed by Nic Marks and the new economics foundation, surveyed 227 project management professionals in the fall of 2014.  Analysis of these data indicated that work environment and meaningful work were strongly correlated with project managers’ (PM) happiness at work. Additionally, analysis indicated that the opportunity for personal growth, and positive work relationships enhanced PM happiness at work.

In 2016, Cui, Davis and Hongyi Huang, a graduate student at the University of Maryland Project Management Center for Excellence, developed a paper entitled “The Happy Project Manager: Meaning of Work Matters“ which was presented by Ms. Davis at the Engineering Project Organization Conference in Cle Elum, Washington.  Also in 2016, Dr. Cheung presented a paper at the ARCOM 2016 conference in Manchester entitled:  “Setting the Stage for Effective Safety Leadership in Construction: The Antecedents of Safety-Specific Transformational Leadership Behaviors.“ At the same conference Ms. Davis presented “How Happy Are Project Managers In Their Jobs.“ In late 2016, Dr. Cheung published her thesis entitled “ The antecedent of safety leadership“ which explored the enabling conditions for leadership safety behaviors in the construction field which included analysis of factors similar to those which underpin project managers’ happiness at work.

Drs. Cui and Cheung and Ms. Davis are continuing their research collaboration to explore how PM happiness at work can be assessed, what factors are key drivers of PM happiness at work, and to develop and test PM specific interventions for practitioner use to create and sustain PM workplaces where high performance teams consistently deliver successful, strategically important projects for their organizations irrespective of country, sector or industry.

John H. Cable, Director of UMD’s Project Management Center of Excellence congratulated the team for this ground-breaking research into the impact of the so-called “soft skills” on PM happiness at work.  Recognizing that happiness at work can sustainably enhance project performance is an important next step in the development of the PM profession globally.

The University of Maryland Project Management Center for Excellence is the only project management program that has offered positive psychology content to their graduate students through the innovative course, Managing Project Teams: Improving Individual and Team Performance, taught by Jocelyn Davis.  Ms. Davis also teaches Evolving as a Project Leader.

If you or your organization is interested in participating in this important research, please contact Jocelyn S. Davis at jocelyn@umd.edu.

About the Authors

Dr. Clara Cheung is a May 2016 PhD graduate from the Project Management Center for Excellence at the University of Maryland.  Dr. Cheng is now an Assistant Professor in Project Management in the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom. While at UMD, Dr. Cheng was a Teaching Assistant developing and teaching a wide variety of project management courses. Through the experience, she taught and tutored over 600 students from 22 countries. She received two Distinguished Teacher Awards from the UMD for her service.

Dr. Quingbin Cui a full time Professor for UMD’s Project Management Center for Excellence and a civil engineer specializing in infrastructure management and economics. He is an active researcher and has conducted research projects supported by state DOTs, CII, and the construction industry. His recent research focuses on project delivery and financing, front end planning, contract reliability, and carbon projects.

Jocelyn Davis is an adjunct Professor for UMD’s Project Management Center for Excellence.  Full time she is the president and co-founder of Nelson Hart LLC, a women-owned consulting firm, who with clients in all sectors to help them develop teams and workplaces where individuals flourish and the organizations thrive.


Posted by Kathy Frankle on September 15, 2017