In my talk at PNSQC, I told the story of a manager who knew that multitasking was sapping productivity, but chose to assign people to Multiple projects anyway. This manager had a bunch of different stakeholders to please –all with different interests and priorities. As long as he said “Yes” to all of them, he avoided conflicts and uncomfortable conversations.
Dale Emery writes a post along similar lines here Multitasking and Conflict.
Of course, choosing multitasking doesn’t avoid conflict — it merely postpones the conflict and shifts it to a different dynamic.