Globalization, the New Economy and Project Management: a Graph Theory Perspective
Satisfaction of human needs requires resources, tangible ones, metals, machineries and less tangible ones like human time and human capital. Specialization creates a distance between resources and needs. Industrialization and its successor, globalization, have kept increasing this distance, along its geographical dimension, but also along its organizational dimension. Specialization poses numerous challenges: information collection, coordination, communication, motivation, enforcement. Since early industrialization transformation of the artisan shop, firms are the main response to these challenges. Firms have devoted an increasing amount of human resources to management tasks over the last century. An avenue to account for the growing popularity of PM among firms under globalization is to show how PM approach can be, in some context, a more economical way to organize management tasks than traditional business management. The paper presents, first, the hypothesis in a historical perspective, using a concept of distance from theory of value and transaction cost analysis. This translates management tasks into costs but lacks preciseness. From another perspective, a structured set of management tasks is a graph connecting a pool of resources in some location(s) with things fulfilling needs elsewhere. The hypothesis becomes one about the properties of the graphs, such as the relative duration of the critical path, of the PM and other approaches to meeting some of the challenges, for instance coordination, raised by specialization. The paper then explores ways to bring preciseness with graph theory applications to management at operational and organizational levels, emphasizing PM.