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Risk management, project success, and technological uncertainty

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Abstract:

In times of increased competition and globalization, project success becomes even more critical to business performance, and yet many projects still suffer delays, overruns, and even failure. Ironically, however, risk management tools and techniques, which have been developed to improve project success, are used too little, and many still wonder how helpful they are. In this paper we present the results of an empirical study devoted to this question. Based on data collected on over 100 projects performed in Israel in a variety of industries, we examine the extent of usage of some risk management practices, such as risk identification, probabilistic risk analysis, planning for uncertainty and trade-off analysis, the difference in application across different types of projects, and their impact on various project success dimensions. Our findings suggest that risk management practices are still not widely used. Only a limited number of projects in our study have used any kind of risk management practices and many have only used some, but not all the available tools. When used, risk management practices seem to be working, and appear to be related to project success. We also found that risk management practices were more applicable to higher risk projects. The impact of risk management is mainly on better meeting time and budget goals and less on product performance and specification. In this case, we also found some differences according levels of technological uncertainty. Our conclusion is that risk management is still at its infancy and that at this time, more awareness to the application, training, tool development, and research on risk management is needed.

Document Type: Original Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9310.00243

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Management, Tel Aviv University, Israel tzviraz@post.tau.ac.il 2: Stevens Institute of Technology, Wesley J. Howe School of Technology Management, USA ashenhar@stevens-tech.edu 3: School of Business Administration, Ben Gurion University, Israel dvird@nihul.bgu.ac.il

Publication date: March 1, 2002

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