Errors, Lies and Misunderstandings: Systematic Review on Behavioural Decision Making in Projects

Verena Stingl, Joana Geraldi

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This paper provides a systematic review of the literature on behavioural decision making in projects. The field is blooming, and given the relevance of decisions in projects and the strong theoretical foundations of behavioural decision making, it offers to contribute to practice and theory in projects and beyond. However, the literature is fragmented and draws only on a fraction of the recent, insightful, and relevant developments on behavioural decision making. This paper organises current research in a conceptual framework rooted in three schools of thinking – reductionist (on cognitive limitations - errors), pluralist (on political behaviour - lies), and contextualist (on social and organisational sensemaking - misunderstandings). Our review suggests avenues for future research with a wider coverage of theories in cognitive and social psychology and critical and mindful integration of findings and concepts across three schools.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Project Management
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)121-135
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Decision making
  • Behavioural decision making
  • Cognition
  • Sensemaking
  • Systematic review
  • Project studies

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