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Communicative analysis – a methodical framework applied for mapping and improving collaborative processes in complex projects

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Paper accepted at EURAM 2010, Rome, Italy, May 19-22.


Communication is essential for all organisations to function properly. Organisations are built, maintained and activated through communication, and communication is the essential basis for all processes related to making decisions or carrying out tasks. Projects, unlike line organisations, do not have the privilege to fine-tune their processes and communication channels over time. Instead, projects depend upon the ability to swiftly establish and maintain a good collaborative environment and a communicative situation that supports the collaboration between organisations constituting the project value chain. Projects often experience high complexity due to organisational form, geographical distribution, and in technological solution, and higher degree of complexity requires even better communication.

This paper will elaborate on this challenge, and will substantiate how a communicative analysis can be a useful instrument for project organisations that want to improve the conditions for collaboration and joint goal achievement. The research in this paper is based on case studies in four different offshore development and construction projects from the Norwegian continental shelf. The aim is both to show the communicative challenges facing the projects and to contribute to enhancing published knowledge with the lessons learned from these projects. In course of this research, a methodical framework for mapping and analysing the communicative situation in projects was developed. This methodical framework, its application and the results it provided will be presented.