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Self-organising Networks in Complex Projects

Pryke, S; Badi, SM; Soundararaj, B; Watson, E; Addyman, S; (2015) Self-organising Networks in Complex Projects. In: RICS COBRA AUBEA 2015: The Construction, Building and Real Estate Research Conference of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors / The Australasian Universities’ Building Educators Association Conference. Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS): London, UK.

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Complex infrastructure projects are characterized by the collaboration of a large number of multidisciplinary individuals and organisations. This collaboration often takes place through networks of informal relations rather than channels strictly dictated by formal contractual agreements or reporting structures. While significant importance is given to the establishment of formal organisational and contractual hierarchies, existing project management techniques neglect the management of these informal networks. The application of Social Network Analysis (SNA) can help fill this gap by contributing an in-depth analysis of the informal project function focused relationships between individuals and organisations. In this paper, we describe the use of SNA in a pilot study of a large infrastructure project: the Bank Station Capacity Upgrade Programme. We use SNA to capture, visualise and analyse the informal communication networks involved in resolving issues during the conceptual design stages of the project. Based on quantitative network data, we identify the existence of a hidden ‘community’ structure with actors joined together in densely connected groups with looser connections to other parts of the network. These communities followed themes of decision, design and implementation moving beyond the borders of organisation and functional disciplines. By making visible the organisation ‘behind the chart’, SNA may facilitate a better understanding of the functioning of infrastructure project networks and provide valuable information to project managers. In particular, it will reveal ‘dysfunctions’ in the project network and allow for the development of network-based interventions to design team structures that facilitate successful collaboration.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: Self-organising Networks in Complex Projects
Location: Sydney, Australia
Dates: 2015-07-08 - 2015-07-10
ISBN-13: 9781783210718
Publisher version: http://www.rics.org/uk/
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © RICS 2015.
Keywords: Infrastructure projects, social network analysis (SNA), team collaboration
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > The Bartlett Sch of Const and Proj Mgt
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1463547
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