Stories by Michael Gibbert, Martin Hoegl and Liisa Valikangas

In praise of resource constraints

“You get what you pay for” best summarises the traditional management orthodoxy that team performance is strongly linked to material resources. After all, it makes intuitive sense that a team’s access to money and equipment is a key determinant of good results. So when a project is lagging behind, a commonly observed reaction among managers is to drive it along by making more (rather than fewer) resources available. Resource constraints, on the other hand, are seen as having a fundamentally inhibiting effect.
But the problem with the resource-driven mindset is that managers can easily fall into the trap of giving free rein to team members - “throwing money at the problem” - in hopes of procuring innovative outcomes. When projects fail, rationalisations often start with excuses such as “We ran out of money” or “If only we had more time”. In such cases, the resource-driven mindset may well have backfired. Resource adequacy is in the eye of the beholder and if a team has the perception of inadequate resources, it may easily be stifled.

Written by Michael Gibbert, Martin Hoegl and Liisa Valikangas12 Aug. 07 22:00