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30th Nov 2021
Bashir Tijani, Western Sydney University – Dr. Robert Osei-Kyei, Western Sydney University – Prof. Xiaohua Jin, Western Sydney University
Despite the urgent need for mental health management practices during the COVID-19 era, it is surprising that there is an absence of mental health studies in AEC project organisations to tackle psychosocial risks triggering poor mental health. This has hampered the ability of AEC firms to adopt project management practices to reduce the recent COVID-19 psychosocial risks, therefore, it is up to practitioners, government institutions and researchers to challenge existing studies to uncover ways to improve mental health management for project managers.
Some of the psychosocial risks triggering poor mental health among project managers in the construction industry include:
On top of this, COVID-19 has introduced a range of additional psychosocial risks, including:
For over 20 years mental health research in the construction industry has perceived psychosocial risks as generic factors without considering the project context. Emergent COVID-19 related psychosocial risks in AEC project organisations has meant mental health management practices for project managers has needed to evolve with innovative solutions required.
AEC firms seeking to promote positive mental health among project managers must take into account their project organisation design and identify project management practices that will promote positive mental health.
Lets draw inspiration from the McKinsey 7S Model to identify mental health management practices for reducing psychosocial risks during COVID-19. The McKinsey 7S Model comprises seven elements: structure, systems, style, staff, skills, strategy, and shared values, which can underpin the design of mental health management practices in AEC project organisations.
Source: McKinsey 7S Model. Extracted from Waterman, Peters and Philips, 1980, p.18
Given the link between organisational design and mental health, interactive relationships between the seven organisational elements in the 7S Mckinsey model can underlay the development of mental health management practices in AEC project organisations. Practitioners should take into consideration these seven organisational elements influencing psychosocial risk, which can cause poor mental health.
This article appeared in the Spring 2021 edition of Paradigm Shift magazine. Find out more about the AIPM digital magazine and take a look at the full edition.
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