Project Systemic Risk: Application Examples of a Network Model

Christos Ellinas, Neil Allan, Anders Johansson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
523 Downloads (Pure)


Projects are increasingly perceived as complex systems, yet little work has been done in developing methodologies that are theoretically grounded on complex systems theory. In response, this article argues the practical utility of a recently introduced model that draws on notions from Network Science (NS) – a prominent domain in the study of complexity. Its utility is exemplified in the context of Project Management (PM), tackling two specific challenges: risk and conflict management. In the case of the former (risk), shifts in the susceptibility of a project to systemic risk (in the form of inter-linked failures) are identified. In the case of the latter (conflict), the effect of (sub) contractor activity – in terms of variance and activity pattern – to project systemic risk is assessed. To do so, numerical methods are developed and applied on an empirical dataset of widely-captured data (Gantt charts). In the context of the two challenges proposed, it is shown that: (a) the exposure of a project to systemic risk varies in a non-trivial manner as it evolves, at both micro and macro level; (b) (sub) contractor activity substantially impacts the emergence of locally important tasks (i.e. tasks able to disrupt the operation of a (sub) contractor). From a theoretical perspective, this work initiates a dialogue between the two domains (PM and NS), potentially opening new ways of tackling long-lasting challenges of PM.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-62
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Production Economics
Early online date10 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


  • Project Management
  • Network Science
  • Systemic Risk
  • Conflict Management


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