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Managing Networks in Project-Based Organisations

ISBN: 978-1-118-92992-6
240 pages
September 2017, Wiley-Blackwell
Managing Networks in Project-Based Organisations (1118929926) cover image


The first book demonstrating how to apply the principles of social network analysis to managing complex projects

This groundbreaking book gets project managers and students up to speed on state-of-the-art applications of social network analysis (SNA) for observing, analysing, and managing complex projects. Written by an expert at the leading edge of the SNA project management movement, it clearly demonstrates how the principles of social network analysis can be used to provide a smarter, more efficient, holistic approach to managing complex projects.

Project managers, especially those tasked with managing large, complex construction and engineering projects, traditionally have relied upon analysis and decision-making based upon hierarchical structures and vaguely defined project systems, much of which is borrowed from historic scientific management approaches. However, it has become apparent that a more sophisticated methodology is required for observing project systems and managing relationships with today’s more knowledgeable and demanding clients. Social network analysis (SNA) provides just such an approach. Unfortunately, existing books on social network analysis are written primarily for sociologists and mathematicians, with little or no regard for the needs of project managers — until now. The first and only book of its kind, Managing Networks in Project-Based Organisations: 

  • Offers a framework and a fully-developed approach to applying SNA theory and methodologies to large, complex projects
  • Describes highly effective strategies and techniques for managing the iterative and transient relationships between network-defining actor roles involved in the delivery of complex projects
  • Uses numerous real-world examples and case studies of successful applications of SNA to large-scale construction and engineering projects around the world
  • Draws on its author’s decades of experience managing complex projects for demanding clients, as well as his extensive academic research in Project Management

Managing Networks in Project-Based Organisations is an important working resource for project management professionals and consultants, especially those serving the construction and engineering industries. It is also an excellent text/reference for postgraduate students of project management and supply chain management, as well as academic researchers of project management.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures xi

About the Author xiii

Preface xv

Acknowledgements xvii

1 Introduction 1

Structure of the Book 2

2 Theoretical Context 11

Management Context 11

Project Transitions 12

Project Management as Practice 12

Systems Theory and Networks 13

Transient Relationships 13

Dyadic Contractual Relationships and Structure 14

Permanent and Temporary Organising 15

Structure and Networks 16

Information Classification 16

Nodes and Linkages 17

Summary 18

3 Networks and Projects 21

Definition 22

Origins and History of the Concept of Social Networks and their Analysis 22

Problems with Projects 24

Actor Role Classification and Ritualistic Behaviour 25

Routines 26

Are Networks a Response to Uncertainty in Projects? 27

Temporary Project Systems and their Replication 28

Beyond the ‘Iron Triangle’ 28

Why Networks? 30

Individuals and Firms in Networks 32

Problems Associated with the Use of SNA in Project Research 32

Summary 33

4 Why Networks? 35

Definition 36

Why Choose Social Network Analysis? 36

Problems Associated with the Use of SNA in Project Research 37

Concepts and Terminology 38

Defining the Population for the Study 46

What is a Network? 46

Actor Characteristics 47

Network Characteristics 55

Some Final Thoughts 56

Conclusion 58

5 Self ]Organising Networks in Projects 61

Introduction 61

What Do Project Clients Want? 63

Dangerous Assumptions 66

Implications if these Assumptions are Incorrect 69

Networks and Uncertainty 70

Does it Matter How We Conceptualise the Project? 70

Procurement Through Markets and Hierarchies; Project Design and Delivery Through Networks 71

Summary and Conclusions 73

6 Game Theory and Networks 77

Introduction 77

To Begin: Some History 78

What is a Game? 79

Key Assumptions 83

Benefits of Applying Game Theory to Project Networks 85

Other Considerations in Applying Game Theory to Project Networks 85

Choices About Actions and Co ]Players 86

Nash Equilibrium 88

Anti ]Coordination Behaviour: ‘Hawk–Dove’ and ‘Chicken’ Games 89

Game Theory and Information Exchange Network Formation 89

Game Theory and the Five Dangerous Assumptions in Projects 90

Summary and Conclusions 93

7 Network Roles and Personality Types 95

Network Roles 98

Personality Traits 104

Humour and Behaviour in Networks 104

Profiling an Ideal Project Network Actor 109

Specific Personality Traits 109

Network Roles and Personality Traits 113

Summary 115

8 Network Enabling 117

What Do We Mean by Network Enabling? 117

Trust 119

Empathy 120

Reciprocity, Favours and Psychological Contracts 123

Implications of Violation of Psychological Contracts 124

Generosity 126

Characteristics of Individuals that are Destructive for Networks 128

Narcissism 129

Egotism 130

Summary 131

9 Project Networks and Building Information Modelling 133

BIM Origins 133

Building Information Modelling and Information Management 134

Information Management and Organisation Structure 135

BIM as an Artefact 135

Self ]Organising Networks in the Context of Design 137

BIM and Networks: A Research Agenda 139

10 Introduction to the Case Studies 143

Technical Overview of Case Studies 143

Research Funding 146

Summary 146

11 Case Study 1: Communities in Self ]Organising Project Networks 147

Data Collection 148

Data Analysis 150

Findings 150

Communities in Self ]Organising Project Networks 152

Summary 154

12 Case Study 2: Dysfunctional Prominence in Self ]Organising Project Networks 157

Data Collection 157

Data Analysis 158

Actor Prominence Measures 158

Organisational Networks 160

Summary 162

13 Case Study 3: Costing Networks 165

Conceptual Framework 165

Network Costs 166

Data Analysis 167

Summary 168

14 Summary and Conclusions 171

Introduction 171

Chapter Summaries 171

Conclusions 177

Appendix 181

References 183

Index 207

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Author Information

Stephen Pryke, FRICS, MSc, PhD, PGCertEd, DipS, MCMI, is Course Director of the MSc Project and Enterprise Management and Director of Postgraduate Teaching and Learning at University College London. He is also the Director of the Centre for Organisational Network Analysis (CONA@UCL). He has provided project management training and consultancy to a number of major European companies and has been a consultant with Durland Consulting in Chicago, a management consultant specialising in social network analysis.

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