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Don't Kill the Goose that Lays the Golden Eggs: Strategic Delay in Project Completion

Author

Listed:
  • Katolnik, Svetlana
  • Schöndube, Jens Robert

Abstract

It's puzzling that most projects fail to complete within the predetermined timeframe given that timing considerations rank among the major goals in project management. We argue that when managers can extract private benefits from working on a project, project delay becomes optimal. We introduce a continuous-time framework for project management activities that incorporates this feature. A manager's unobserved effort cumulatively increases the project's success probability, but decreases the expected duration of the project and with it the expected flow of on-the-job benefits. A strict deadline limits incentives for effort delay, but also decreases the probability that the project will be terminated in due time. In this trade-off, the optimal deadline balances the increase in expected project value against the expected increase in project duration and costs. Because the manager does not want to ``kill the golden goose'' prematurely, he always prefers a stricter deadline compared to the principal. As a result, project completion is threatened by both effort provision over time \textit{and} contractual agreements on time.

Suggested Citation

  • Katolnik, Svetlana & Schöndube, Jens Robert, 2015. "Don't Kill the Goose that Lays the Golden Eggs: Strategic Delay in Project Completion," VfS Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113046, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc15:113046
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects
    • M55 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Contracting Devices

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