Complexity, uncertainty-reduction strategies, and project performance

Serghei Floricel, John L. Michela, Sorin Piperca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Citations (Scopus)
446 Downloads (Pure)


This paper investigates how complexity influences projects and their performance. We develop a classification of project complexity by relying on fundamental theoretical insights about complexity and then use results from practice-oriented literature to assign concrete project complexity factors to the resulting categories. We also identify specific strategies for organizing and knowledge production that project planners use to address complexity-related uncertainties. We theorize about the way these strategies interact with various types of complexity to increase project performance. Anticipated influences are mostly corroborated using survey data on 81 complex projects from five continents and a diversity of sectors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1360-1383
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Project Management
Issue number7
Early online date8 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016


  • Complexity
  • Uncertainty
  • Planning
  • Knowledge
  • Organization


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