Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Simulating Project Work Processes and Organizations: Toward a Micro-Contingency Theory of Organizational Design

Contents:

Author Info

  • Raymond E. Levitt

    (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Center for Integrated Facility Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305-4020)

  • Jan Thomsen

    (Det Norske Veritas, Veritasveien 1, N-1322 Hovik, Norway)

  • Tore R. Christiansen

    (Det Norske Veritas, Veritasveien 1, N-1322 Hovik, Norway)

  • John C. Kunz

    (Center for Integrated Facility Engineering, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305-4020)

  • Yan Jin

    (Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Southern California, Denney Research Building, #10, Los Angeles, California 90089-1111)

  • Clifford Nass

    (Department of Communications, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305-2050)

Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    The Virtual Design Team (VDT) extends and operationalizes Galbraith's (1973) information-processing view of organizations. VDT simulates the micro-level information processing, communication, and coordination behavior of participants in a project organization and predicts several measures of participant and project-level performance. VDT-1 (Cohen 1991) and VDT-2 (Christiansen 1993) modeled project organizations containing actors with perfectly congruent goals engaged in complex but routine engineering design work within static organization structures. VDT-3 extends the VDT-2 work process representation to include measures of activity flexibility, complexity, uncertainty, and interdependence strength. It explicitly models the effects of goal incongruency between agents on their information processing and communication behavior while executing more flexible tasks. These extensions allow VDT to model more flexible organizations executing less routine work processes. VDT thus bridges rigorously between cognitive and social psychological micro-organization theory and sociological and economic macro-organization theory for project teams. VDT-3 has been used to model and simulate the design of two major subsystems of a complex satellite launch vehicle. This case study provides initial evidence that the micro-contingency theory embodied in VDT-3 can be used to predict organizational breakdowns, and to evaluate alternative organizational changes to mitigate identified risks. VDT thus supports true "organizational engineering" for project teams.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.45.11.1479
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 45 (1999)
    Issue (Month): 11 (November)
    Pages: 1479-1495

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:45:y:1999:i:11:p:1479-1495

    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: 7240 Parkway Drive, Suite 300, Hanover, MD 21076 USA
    Phone: +1-443-757-3500
    Fax: 443-757-3515
    Email:
    Web page: http://www.informs.org/
    More information through EDIRC

    Related research

    Keywords: agency theory; concurrent engineering; coordination theory; contingency theory; goal incongruency; interdependence; project management; project organizations; computational organizational design; information processing; new product development; organization design; professionals; semiroutine tasks;

    References

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as in new window

    Cited by:
    1. Andrew Chang & Chih-Chiang Tien, 2006. "Quantifying uncertainty and equivocality in engineering projects," Construction Management and Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(2), pages 171-184.
    2. Rauniar, Rupak & Rawski, Greg, 2012. "Organizational structuring and project team structuring in integrated product development project," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 135(2), pages 939-952.
    3. Muethel, Miriam & Hoegl, Martin, 2010. "Cultural and societal influences on shared leadership in globally dispersed teams," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 234-246, September.
    4. Nasrallah, Walid F. & Qawasmeh, Suleiman J., 2009. "Comparing multi-dimensional contingency fit to financial performance of organizations," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 194(3), pages 911-921, May.
    5. To, Chester K.M. & Fung, Hon-Kwok & Harwood, Raymond J. & Ho, K.C., 2009. "Coordinating dispersed product development processes: A contingency perspective of project design and modelling," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(2), pages 570-584, August.

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:45:y:1999:i:11:p:1479-1495. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mirko Janc).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.