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Article
Publication date: 17 September 2008

Ludovic‐Alexandre Vidal and Franck Marle

The purpose of this paper is to better identify, define and model complexity within the field of project management in order to manage better under conditions of complexity

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to better identify, define and model complexity within the field of project management in order to manage better under conditions of complexity (and manage better complexity‐induced risks).

Design/methodology/approach

An extensive literature review enlightens the lack of consensus on project complexity and thus provides a broad view and a critical analysis of the underlying concepts. A project complexity framework and definition are then proposed. After underlining the stakes of project complexity in accordance with these proposals, a project complexity model is then built notably due to systems analysis.

Findings

Proposal of standard project complexity framework and definition. Proposal of a synthesis of the relationships between the concepts of project uncertainty and project complexity. Proposal of a project complexity model (and validation due to industrial application).

Research limitations/implications

The literature review and project complexity framework tries to be exhaustive even though it is likely to be completed. The final version of the model is still to be computed and tested.

Practical implications

Avoiding confusion when defining and managing a complex project, particularly between project team members (and as a consequence improving communication and information sharing), improves the assessment of the propagation of a change within the project.

Originality/value

The paper proposes an original framework and a definition of project complexity. The complexity model permits the navigation from any element of the project to any other (when detail is needed) and is, as a consequence, original and complementary with traditional project management models and tools.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 37 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

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Article
Publication date: 10 April 2019

Esra Ekinci and Adil Baykasoğlu

The purpose of this paper is to present how complexity on retail supply chains should be recognized and its relationship with the performance. Different supply chain…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present how complexity on retail supply chains should be recognized and its relationship with the performance. Different supply chain structures and planning horizons have been analyzed to support practitioners taking action on the short, mid and long terms. Confronted complexity in the supply chain has been categorized as system, perceived and value adding. This would also help practitioners to understand the sources of the complexity and if the complexity is useful for the system or not.

Design/methodology/approach

Three different retail supply chain scenarios – each concentrating on different planning horizons – have been simulated on system dynamics software STELLA. Using the new classification scheme for complexity and suggested performance metrics, a multi-perspective analysis has been performed on the STELLA output.

Findings

The results and the methodology can be easily applicable in practice to support decision-making process and to answer “what-if” type scenario analysis on systems design and configuration. Using the selected complexity metrics, complexity of the system considering time factor – static and dynamic – and different information levels – system, perceived and value adding – has been evaluated. Used complexity metrics indicate the problematic areas in the systems to be distinguished.

Originality/value

This paper uses system dynamics modeling in retail supply chains to derive insight about dynamic behavior and to represent the complex interactions and a new classification scheme for system complexity.

Details

Industrial Management & Data Systems, vol. 119 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-5577

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Article
Publication date: 4 April 2017

Asbjørn Rolstadås and Per Morten Schiefloe

The purpose of this paper is to enhance the understanding of what project complexity is, what drivers and factors that influence complexity and how consequences for…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to enhance the understanding of what project complexity is, what drivers and factors that influence complexity and how consequences for organizational performance can be assessed.

Design/methodology/approach

The research is explanatory and based on literature review, model development, interviews and case studies. The model is validated through a case study.

Findings

The findings are a model for identifying and analyzing complexity drivers and complexity factors. The model starts with generic complexity drivers such as ambiguity, uncertainty, unpredictability and pace. These drivers are in each project influenced by nature and by socio-political, economic and technological surroundings to result in complexity factors that are specific to the project analyzed. The model can be used to analyze project complexity and to define requirements for the organization of the project and guidelines for the execution.

Research limitations/implications

The research is limited to large projects with a technical delivery of some kind of facilities.

Practical implications

The model can be used to assess the required capability of the organization for successful project execution.

Originality/value

The contribution of the research is a new model for understanding project complexity. The distinction between project complexity drivers and factors is essential as well as the taxonomy for the factors building on and adding to already published research.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 10 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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Article
Publication date: 9 November 2018

Nasser Javid, Kaveh Khalili-Damghani, Ahmad Makui and Farshid Abdi

This paper aims to propose a multi-dimensional model on the basis of the key factors of the flexibility and the complexity through structural equation modeling (SEM)…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to propose a multi-dimensional model on the basis of the key factors of the flexibility and the complexity through structural equation modeling (SEM). Dimensions of the flexibilities and complexity, including 16 main factors and 34 sub-factors, are investigated. The sampling of the research is accomplished using both academic and industrial experts.

Design/methodology/approach

A huge electronic questionnaire analysis, including 1,250 samples from which 1,036 were returned, was accomplished in various universities and manufacturing companies throughout the USA, Europe and Asia. Partial least square-SEM (PLS-SEM) is used to test the hypotheses through confirmatory factor analysis.

Findings

The results reveal insightful information about the impacts of different dimensions of flexibility on each other and also the effect of the flexibility on the complexity. Finally, system of linear mathematical equations for flexibility-complexity trade-off is proposed. This can be applied to realize the trade-off among dimensions of flexibility and complexity.

Originality/value

Flexible manufacturing systems are formed to meet the needs of the customers. Such systems try to produce products in appropriate quality at the right time and at the specified quantity. These, in turn, require flexibility and will cause complexity. Although flexibility and complexity are both important, there is no comprehensive framework in which the multi-dimensional relationships of the manufacturing flexibility and complexity, as well as their dimensions, are demonstrated.

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Article
Publication date: 4 January 2018

Varinder Singh and Pravin M. Singru

The purpose of this paper is to propose the use of graph theoretic structural modeling for assessing the possible reduction in complexity of the work flow procedures in an…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose the use of graph theoretic structural modeling for assessing the possible reduction in complexity of the work flow procedures in an organization due to lean initiatives. A tool to assess the impact of lean initiative on complexity of the system at an early stage of decision making is proposed.

Design/methodology/approach

First, the permanent function-based graph theoretic structural model has been applied to understand the complex structure of a manufacturing system under consideration. The model helps by systematically breaking it into different sub-graphs that identify all the cycles of interactions among the subsystems in the organization in a systematic manner. The physical interpretation of the existing quantitative methods linked to graph theoretic methodology, namely two types of coefficients of dissimilarity, has been used to evolve the new measures of organizational complexity. The new methods have been deployed for studying the impact of different lean initiatives on complexity reduction in a case industrial organization.

Findings

The usefulness and the application of new proposed measures of complexity have been demonstrated with the help of three cases of lean initiatives in an industrial organization. The new measures of complexity have been proposed as a credible tool for studying the lean initiatives and their implications.

Research limitations/implications

The paper may lead many researchers to use the proposed tool to model different cases of lean manufacturing and pave a new direction for future research in lean manufacturing.

Practical implications

The paper demonstrates the application of new tools through cases and the tool may be used by practitioners of lean philosophy or total quality management to model and investigate their decisions.

Originality/value

The proposed measures of complexity are absolutely new addition to the tool box of graph theoretic structural modeling and have a potential to be adopted by practical decision makers to steer their organizations though such decisions before the costly interruptions in manufacturing systems are tried on ground.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 29 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 2006

Amir M. Sharif and Zahir Irani

Noting the scarcity of complexity techniques applied to modelling social systems, this paper attempts to formulate a conceptual model of decision‐making behaviour within…

Abstract

Purpose

Noting the scarcity of complexity techniques applied to modelling social systems, this paper attempts to formulate a conceptual model of decision‐making behaviour within the information systems evaluation (ISE) task, against the backdrop of complexity theory.

Design/methodology/approach

Complexity theory places an emphasis on addressing how dynamic non‐linear systems can be represented and modelled utilising computational tools and techniques to draw out inherent system dynamics. In doing so, the use of fuzzy cognitive mapping (FCM) and morphological analysis (MA) (hence a fuzzy‐morphological approach), is applied to empirical case study data, to elucidate the inherent behavioural and systems issues involved in ISE decision making within a British manufacturing organisation.

Findings

The paper presents results of applying a combined FCM and MA approach to modelling complexity within management decision making in the ISE task: both in terms of a cognitive map of the key decision criteria; a matrix of constraint criteria; and a synthesised model that provides an indication of the linkages between technology management factors and organisational imperatives and goals. These findings show the usefulness of viewing the topic in complexity science terms (emergent behaviour, non‐linearity and chaotic response).

Research limitations/implications

This research is limited in applying the given technique to a single case study organisation in the UK manufacturing sector, where the sample size is limited. Since this is the first time that such a combined MA‐FCM technique has been used in this field known to the authors, future research needs to validate and explore the implications of this approach in a wider context (multiple organisations and viewpoints).

Practical implications

The paper highlights the need for those involved in analysing managerial decision making to include aspects of complexity theory in their evaluations – namely uncovering inherent inter‐relationships that may exist between stakeholders, processes and systems. In doing so, expanding the manager's understanding of how to achieve congruence between driving forces and factors, which may exhibit non‐linear, chaotic or feedback behaviour.

Originality/value

The given research brings together both artificial intelligence and operational research techniques, applied in the socio‐technical milieu of information systems evaluation, within the context of complexity theory, in order to describe the rich detail within the ISE decision‐making task.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 44 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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Article
Publication date: 31 July 2020

Mogens Frank Mikkelsen

Project complexity has been comprehensively investigated over the last two decades, resulting in many descriptive frameworks and models. The common layout is a…

Abstract

Purpose

Project complexity has been comprehensively investigated over the last two decades, resulting in many descriptive frameworks and models. The common layout is a multidimensional construct. While the perception of the complexity of projects is essential for a managerial approach, only scant research has been conducted into how practitioners perceive project complexity. The purpose of the paper is to fill this gap.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is a quantitative study based on a large survey among managers of projects with more than 1,000 participants. The questionnaire is designed based on a review of research literature on project complexity.

Findings

The findings indicate that practitioners' mental models are concentrated on only a few dimensions of the many found in descriptive models. Further, the findings indicate that the mental models are much influenced by the project role of the perceiver and less so by the type of project and sector.

Originality/value

This paper discusses the differentiation of concepts of perceived project complexity and provides a framework for a survey of the topic. The contribution of the paper is an increased understanding of practitioners' perceptions of project complexity as a concept very different from the descriptive frameworks that have been the focal point for research in project complexity thus far. The project complexity might be in the eye of the beholder; however, the findings indicate that the eyes are very much influenced by the project role of the beholder.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 14 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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Book part
Publication date: 30 November 2016

Robert L. Axtell

Certain elements of Hayek’s work are prominent precursors to the modern field of complex adaptive systems, including his ideas on spontaneous order, his focus on market…

Abstract

Certain elements of Hayek’s work are prominent precursors to the modern field of complex adaptive systems, including his ideas on spontaneous order, his focus on market processes, his contrast between designing and gardening, and his own framing of complex systems. Conceptually, he was well ahead of his time, prescient in his formulation of novel ways to think about economies and societies. Technically, the fact that he did not mathematically formalize most of the notions he developed makes his insights hard to incorporate unambiguously into models. However, because so much of his work is divorced from the simplistic models proffered by early mathematical economics, it stands as fertile ground for complex systems researchers today. I suggest that Austrian economists can create a progressive research program by building models of these Hayekian ideas, and thereby gain traction within the economics profession. Instead of mathematical models the suite of techniques and tools known as agent-based computing seems particularly well-suited to addressing traditional Austrian topics like money, business cycles, coordination, market processes, and so on, while staying faithful to the methodological individualism and bottom-up perspective that underpin the entire school of thought.

Details

Revisiting Hayek’s Political Economy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-988-6

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Article
Publication date: 17 April 2018

Budi Hartono

The purpose of this paper is to provide a systematic classification for frameworks, methods, and models of in-project quantitative risk analysis (IQRA) for the last 30 years.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a systematic classification for frameworks, methods, and models of in-project quantitative risk analysis (IQRA) for the last 30 years.

Design/methodology/approach

An extensive literature review is conducted to identify pertinent IQRA works. Identified IQRA frameworks/methods/models are then classified on the basis of commonalities in key attributes and assumptions. Linkages between each category of IQRAs and dimensions of complexity are also observed.

Findings

Around 70 key publications on IQRAs are identified. Major attributes for each work are described. Five distinct categories of IQRAs emerge with unique linkages to complexity dimensions. An analytical framework in the form of a matrix is presented to illuminate evolution on modeling characteristics and to indicate a relationship between respective category and dimensions of project complexity.

Research limitations/implications

The research coverage is intended to be comprehensive but it is by no means exhaustive. This study highlights research opportunities in IQRAs and the possible extension toward in-project quantitative complexity analysis (IQCA).

Practical implications

The proposed matrix provides guidance to practitioners to select the appropriate category of IQRAs for a specific project complexity type in a contingency fashion. The study highlights lessons from development and utilization of IQRAs. Outstanding issues from IQRAs are discussed to avoid similar drawbacks for IQCAs.

Originality/value

This study provides an original framework/matrix to classify extant works in IQRAs. It also establishes an association between IQRAs and the emerging conceptual works of complexity.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 11 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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Book part
Publication date: 17 October 2014

Philip Z. Maymin

Economic models based on simple rules can result in complex and unpredictable deterministic dynamics with emergent features similar to those of actual economies. I present…

Abstract

Economic models based on simple rules can result in complex and unpredictable deterministic dynamics with emergent features similar to those of actual economies. I present several such models ranging from cellular automaton and register machines to quantum computation. The additional benefit of such models is displayed by extending them to model political entanglement to determine the impact of allowing majority redistributive voting. In general, the insights obtained from simulating the computations of simple rules can serve as an additional way to study economics, complementing equilibrium, literary, experimental, and empirical approaches. I culminate by presenting a minimal model of economic complexity that generates complex economic growth and diminishing poverty without any parameter fitting, and which, when modified to incorporate political entanglement, generates volatile stagnation and greater poverty.

Details

Entangled Political Economy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-102-2

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