Managing sequential task portfolios in the face of temporal atypicality and task complexity

Christopher Sterling, Virginie Lopez-Kidwell, Giuseppe (Joe) Labianca, Henry Moon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The authors use a portfolio of sequential tasks to investigate how accurately study participants stick to assigned deadlines when they need to transition from one task to another. Atypical deadlines, task complexity, and individual differences all affect transition error size, error correction, and task performance. In Experiment 1 (N = 108), larger task transition errors were related negatively to task performance and were associated with atypical deadlines (e.g., 4:53 or 4:57), complex tasks, and individuals lower in the general hurry characteristic. In Experiment 2 (N = 95), individuals facing atypical deadlines or lower in need for cognition were less likely to correct transition errors (i.e., getting back to the original schedule), which negatively affected performance. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-351
Number of pages25
JournalHuman Performance
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • General Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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