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Information Flow Structure in Large-Scale Product Development Organizational Networks

  • Dan Braha

    (Ben-Gurion University)

  • Yaneer Bar-Yam

    (New England Complex Systems Institute & Harvard University)

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    In recent years, understanding the structure and function of complex networks has become the foundation for explaining many different real- world complex social, information, biological and technological phenomena. Techniques from statistical physics have been successfully applied to the analysis of these networks, and have uncovered surprising statistical structural properties that have also been shown to have a major effect on their functionality, dynamics, robustness, and fragility. This paper examines, for the first time, the statistical properties of strategically important complex organizational information-based networks -- networks of people engaged in distributed product development -- and discusses the significance of these properties in providing insight into ways of improving the strategic and operational decision-making of the organization. We show that the patterns of information flows that are at the heart of large-scale product development networks have properties that are like those displayed by information, biological and technological networks. We believe that our new analysis methodology and empirical results are also relevant to other organizational information-based human or nonhuman networks.

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    File URL: http://econwpa.repec.org/eps/io/papers/0407/0407012.pdf
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    Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Industrial Organization with number 0407012.

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    Length: 21 pages
    Date of creation: 28 Jul 2004
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpio:0407012
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 21
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://econwpa.repec.org

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    1. Kim B. Clark, 1989. "Project Scope and Project Performance: The Effect of Parts Strategy and Supplier Involvement on Product Development," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(10), pages 1247-1263, October.
    2. Herbert A. Simon, 1996. "The Sciences of the Artificial, 3rd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262691914, June.
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