Exploring project managers’ perception of stress when working in increasingly complex construction projects

Jacqueline Mary Jepson, Konstantinos Kirytopoulos, Kerry London

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Stress is a recognised feature of the project managers’ life. Projects are becoming more complex with the uncertainty in the system contributing to the lack of control and added stress. This study explores a microcosm of 25 project managers in the South Australian construction industry, their perceived level of uncertainty and stress. The project managers interviewed provide their views on what their key stressors were and the mechanisms they use to manage effectively their stress. The results showed that structural, technical and directional complexity of projects was high, but this did not always convert into more stress for the project managers. The results indicate that stressors like the lack of resources; lack of control and increasing accountability were project managers’ primary concerns. Coping strategies included optimism, applying emotional intelligence and active planning strategies. In addition, they reduced their stress by working with good teams, using theirs and their team’s experience, implementing sound systems and processes and effectively researching and gathering information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-67
Number of pages21
JournalConstruction Economics and Building
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Coping strategies
  • Project complexity
  • Project management
  • Stress


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