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Modeling 21st Century Project Teams: Docking Workflow and Knowledge Network Computational Models

TitleModeling 21st Century Project Teams: Docking Workflow and Knowledge Network Computational Models
Publication TypeTechnical Report
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsGhate, A, Palazzolo, ET, Dandi, R, Mahalingam, A, Contractor, N, Levitt, RE
Date Published07/2002
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsActivity Modeling, Center for Integrated Facility Engineering, CIFE, Communication Networks, Computational Models, Exception Handling, Knowledge Networks, Stanford University, Workflow Modeling
AbstractThis paper reports on an attempt to integrate and extend two established computational organizational models-SimVision® and Blanche-to examine the co-evolution of workflow and knowledge networks in 21st century project teams. Traditionally, workflow in project teams has been modeled as sets of sequential and/or parallel activities each assigned to a responsible participant, organized in a fixed structure. In the spirit of Jay Galbraith's (1973) information processing view of organizations, exceptions-situations in which participants lack the required knowledge to complete a task-are referred up the hierarchy for resolution. However, recent developments in digital technologies have created the possibility to design project teams that are more flexible, self-organizing structures, in which exceptions can be resolved much more flexibly through knowledge networks that extend beyond the project or even the company boundaries. In addition to seeking resolution to exceptions up the hierarchy, members of project teams may be motivated to retrieve the necessary expertise from other knowledgeable members in the project team. Further, they may also retrieve information from non-human agents, such as knowledge repositories or databases, available to the project team. Theories, such as Transactive Memory, Public Goods, Social Exchange and Proximity may guide their choice of retrieving information from a specific project team member or database. This paper reports on a "docked" computational model that can be used to generate and test hypotheses about the co-evolution of workflow and knowledge networks of these 21st century project teams in terms of their knowledge distribution and performance. The two computational models being docked are SimVision (Jin & Levitt, 1999) which has sophisticated processes to model organizations executing project-oriented workflows, and Blanche (Hyatt, Contractor, & Jones, 1997), a multi-agent computational network environment, which models multitheoretical mechanisms for the retrieval and allocation of information in knowledge networks involving human and non-human agents.
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