The management of complexity in project management – a qualitative and quantitative case study of certified project managers in Germany

Tresselt, Christian H. (2015) The management of complexity in project management – a qualitative and quantitative case study of certified project managers in Germany. DBA thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

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With the increased globalization and expansion of the markets worldwide, companies have to struggle with increased competition. Therefore, organisations have begun to offer advantages such as a personalisation of products to potential customers. Market conditions and legal policies can make it challenging to predict whether those ad-vantages can be realized. Project managers are often in the position of having to fulfil these requirements; in continuously changing influencing factors that make tasks diffi-cult to manage. These circumstances create complexity. Frequently, managers are una-ware that complexity has created problems in a specific project. Often, the traditional standards of project management no longer provide a sufficient support to managers of complex projects. This research investigates how current standards of project management address com-plexity, and whether a supplement is necessary. Complexity strengtheners are investi-gated. One standard Project Management Institute (PMI) is selected as an example to analyze the influence of strengtheners on PM-processes. A funnel model is developed based on these research findings. This is aimed to help managers in their daily practice and support them in categorizing the complexity of their projects. Based on this model, managers should be able to recognize the actual strengtheners of complexity and which processes of their project are affected. Finally, a possible adaption of the standard is re-searched. A proposition for a new comprehensive guide is designed to support manag-ers carrying out complex projects. The key managerial implication of this research is the development of a five-step model for handling complexity in projects: forming, storming, norming, performing, and ad-journing. Furthermore, the intent of this thesis is to make a valid contribution to the management literature. For handling complexity the new funnel model should close the gap between the recognition of complexity in a project and underlying causes. The new five-step model thus provides project managers helpful guidelines for handling complex projects. This research applies a mixed method, consisting of a survey (quantitative method) and focus interviews (qualitative method) with experts of project management (PMI) in Germany. There are approximately 4.900 PMI certified project managers in Germany; more than 170 participated in the survey (3.6%). This is considered sufficient to provide reliable results for this research. Further, three focus interviews deepen the knowledge and validate the results of the survey: Complexity is an actual problem in project man-agement. Existing standards are sufficient for project management, but complexity can-not be standardized. This thesis proposes to help project managers to resolve project complexity by providing guidelines for navigating through complex projects.

Item Type: Thesis (DBA)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Uncontrolled Keywords: Project management, Complex projects, Germany, Mixed methods,
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management > HD58 Organizational behavior, change and effectiveness. Corporate culture
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management > HD66 Work groups. Team work in industry. Quality circles
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Business, Computing and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2015 17:10
Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 08:21

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