The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction


Managing Networks in Project-Based Organisations: new book on social network analysis for projects

16 January 2018

A new book by CPM’s Professor Stephen Pryke demonstrates how social network analysis can be used to understand project organisations.

Social network analysis for excellence in project management

A new book by Professor Stephen Pryke, the School of Construction and Project Management’s Professor of Supply Chain and Project Networks, shows how complex project organisations can be understood using social and organisational network analysis. Managing Networks in Project-based Organisations demonstrates how the principles of social network analysis can be used to provide a smarter, more efficient, and holistic approach to managing complex projects.

Project managers, especially those managing complex construction and engineering projects, have traditionally relied on relatively crude organisational structures and roles allocated through contractual conditions to articulate what has to be done and how it has to be done.

The application of social network analysis to the systems that comprise the main project functions for the construction project presents a much more sophisticated means of observing, analysing and managing organisations, including temporary project organisations.

Managing Networks in Project-based Organisations by Prof Pryke introduces a number of innovative ways of achieving excellence in project management:

  • A method for the observation and analysis of project relationships refined over a large number of case studies in the UK, China and France
  • Effective strategies and techniques for managing the iterative and transient relationships between network actor roles involved in complex projects
  • Real-world examples and illustrations taken from case studies led by the author in various construction sectors world wide
  • A combination of extensive project management experience in industry and academic innovation developed while working at one of the world’s top-ranked universities

Prof Pryke says:

"This book builds a network theory of project management which reveals the secrets behind the self-organising aspects of project systems."

The book examines the transient network of relationships that are self-organising in a complex project context. Prof Pryke reviews previous work in the area and explores some dangerous assumptions that are made about the nature and delivery of projects, and considers the importance of the way in which we conceptualise projects.  Applying game theory to project networks, he proposes some conditions which enable networks to grow and thrive within a project organisation.

Find out more:

Contact Professor Stephen Pryke: s.pryke@ucl.ac.uk