Project based tensions: complexity, uncertainty and equivocality

Thommie Burström, Tim Wilson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


The premise of this paper is that tension exists among participants and parties in projects. The uniqueness of development in projects virtually assures this. It is proposed that tensions are a product of the precursors of complexity, uncertainty and equivocality, and an attempt is made to characterize tension as it arises in projects – its genesis, its nature, its effects and (sometimes) its resolution. Within discussions on the strategy, decision making, intdra- and inter-project interdependencies, organization change projects and managing across development sites associated with a flagship project, 77 statements concerning tension were identified. These statements were analyzed for content to produce a model associating tension with its precursors and the literature on tension. It is felt that a contribution is made to project contingency theory where knowledge about project context is seen as essential in order to understand best practices for project execution and effectiveness.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of Northeast Decision Sciences Institute 2016 Annual Conference
EditorsPedro Reyes
Number of pages14
Publication date31.03.2016
Publication statusPublished - 31.03.2016
MoE publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings
EventNEDSI Annual Conference Alexandria, Virginia 2016 - Alexandria, United States
Duration: 31.03.201602.04.2016


  • 512 Business and Management
  • Tension
  • complexity
  • uncertainty
  • equivocality


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