Managers of IT projects (PMs) tend to "gloss over" the reality in their external reports including withholding bad news ("mum effect"). Reasons that have been suggested for this bias can be classified as personal-oriented and project-oriented. This paper is an initial study on the impact of positive psychology on IT project management. Prior studies have found that High Psychological Positive Capital (PsyCap) of individuals is positively correlated with their work satisfaction and higher performance. PsyCap comprises individual's positive capacities of optimism, hope, resilience and efficacy. Drawing from Beck's cognitive theory, we hypothesized that High PsyCap PMs, when required to report bad news to a client, are inclined to consider the project-oriented reasons rather than the personal-oriented ones. As a result, they are more willing to report bad news compared to Low PsyCap PMs. A questionnaire consisting of four cases of bad news in IT projects, together with PsyCap tests, was distributed to professional communities on the internet. Data was collected from 42 respondents. The results of the statistical analysis have shown some support for our hypotheses. The research encourages more research on PsyCap contribution to various aspects of project performance and success. Such research may also have practical implications for PM recruiting and training.


Project Manager, project reporting, Mum Effect, Positive Psychology, PsyCap


ISBN: [978-1-86435-644-1]; Full paper