Review on Using System Dynamics in Designing Work Systems of Project Organizations: Product Development Process Case Study

Review on Using System Dynamics in Designing Work Systems of Project Organizations: Product Development Process Case Study

Reem Al-Kadeem, Soheir Backar, Mohamed Eldardiry, Heba Haddad
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/IJSDA.2017040103
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System dynamics research has been introduced to some management fields including operations management, organizational behavior, project management, and market uncertainties research. This paper highlights the use of system dynamics in modeling work system design of projects' organizations seeking better projects behavior. This paper provides a review on system dynamics in product development projects exploring managerial and organizational factors influencing projects' behavior and probability of success. The review includes three different yet intermingling fields; organization's work system design, project management in projects' organizations, along with system dynamics. This paper proposes guiding method to explore how to use system dynamics in projects' work system design and development.
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Delivering projects on time and at the required cost and quality has become critical to success in project organizations. This has made the performance of PDP project an increasingly important for organizations’ survival. However, during the past two decades, dynamic complexity of PDP projects has increased in a dramatic manner. But the mental model used by team and mangers to achieve a successful PDP project have not generally improved to include dynamic influences on performance. The lack of understanding has contributed to the frequent failure in PDP projects. Therefore, managing a complex system such as PDP project, where feedback effects, long time delays, and nonlinear responses is unavoidable, requires methods to develop systems thinking by representing and assessing dynamic complexity. Owing to the dynamic complexity nature of the PDP work system, the analysis of such complicated system requires an effective approach. This approach should take into consideration the interactions among work system elements and the surrounding environment.

Product development project (PDP) is a unique and mostly irreproducible then, it became an organized and collective activity involving division of labor, cross functions, standardization and rationalization of work so, it converted into a complex project (Tapiero, 1995). These projects consist of a collection of related activities targeted to convert a new idea, concept, or market opportunity, into a marketed product (Karniel and Reich, 2007). Progressively, academic researchers and new product developers has pointed that, most organizations are counting heavily on product development project for growth and profitability (Cooper, 1990). Alike, business managers and marketing academics agree that an essential element of an organization's long-term survival is the success in PDP projects (Zhang, 1998). Thus, an PDP management approach is recognized as a cornerstone of competition in a variety of markets (Rodrigues and Dharmaraj, 2004; Sarin and Kapur, 1990). Nowadays, the successful management of PDP projects has become increasingly central to any strategy for achieving high levels of profitability, market share and, in the long run, gaining a significant leverage of competitive advantage (Cooper, 1990; Lebcir and Choudrie, 2011; McCarthy et al., 2006; Ulrich and Eppinger, 1995). Therefore, management of PDP projects directed research attention in response to considerable industrial concern for achieving a successful PDP project.

Many studies revealed that there is widespread disappointment with many of the new products that firms develop. One of these studies, the study conducted by Hopkins which found sixty-three percent of managers were felling that their new product failure rate was unacceptably high (Cooper, 1990). Many conducted conferences showed that the PDP project failure rate remain high and highlighted on the significant influence of management of PDP project on project success (Cooper, 1983). Therefore, many PDP management practices were proposed in order to reduce time to market and to enhance the likelihood of a successful PDP project (Barczak et al., 2009). Some of these managerial practices are; establishment of cross-functional teams “a group of people who apply different skills with a high degree of interdependencies to ensure the effective delivery of a common organizational objective”, the early and frequent involvement of prospective of customers and suppliers, the greater commitment of financial and human resources to the project, enhanced communication and teamwork, and a more detailed planning (Vandenbosch and Clift, 2002).

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