Optimizing Multi-Team System Behaviours: Insights from Modelling Team Communication


European Journal of Operational Research

avril 2017, vol. 258, n°1, pp.264–278

Départements : Management et Ressources Humaines

Mots clés : Behavioural operations, Project management, Multi-team systems, Mixed integer linear optimization

To better manage behavioural operations in project management, we demonstrate the value of quantitative model-based approaches in examining behaviours and generating insights for managerial research and practice. We focus on organizational members’ behaviours and interactions on large-scale projects using multi-team systems (MTS). While MTS invoke different behaviours than simpler team systems, research insights have lagged on MTS due to the complexity and resource intensity of capturing the multitude of behaviours and interactions by human subjects in real-world situations. Thus, MTS provides an apt context to demonstrate the mechanics of mathematically modelling human behaviour and conducting virtual experiments via mixed-integer linear optimization to understand the way to meet operational objectives. Virtual experimentation is used to explore communication behaviours that unfold under different levels of project complexity and interdependence when time, cost, and quality operational objectives are considered independently or collectively. The results suggest that the type of communication plan set by project managers needs to change according to project attributes and objectives (maximize quality, minimize cost or minimize time). Moreover, this paper demonstrates the benefits of using operations research methods to assess behavioural patterns in an operational setting and establish propositions for targeted research in the field. In conclusion, benefits and limitations are put forth about the way Behavioural OR expands the traditional toolkit of human subject researchers in operations and beyond.