Modeling Human Behaviors in Project Management: Insights from the Literature Review

  • Lin Wang
  • Jianping Li
  • Chao Li


This chapter provides a literature review on how behavioral operational research (BOR) helps to improve project managers’ capabilities of tackling behavioral issues. To explore a broad scope of literature on behavioral decision-making with high relevance to project management, 117 articles are analyzed after three-stage sampling. Specific insights are presented in two parts. The first is related to the question of ‘What are the key behavioral issues for project decision-making’. The main research themes throughout the project are discussed in detail to well-locate the multitude of heuristics and biases, as well as to offer the context in which BOR can potentially be applied. The second part concerns how human behaviors have been modeled using OR methods. The state-of-the-art applications of the leading methods like Problem Structuring Methods and System Dynamics are discussed to connect the behavioral concepts with the BOR models. Considering the evolution of both BOR and project management theories and methods, project managers can increasingly rely on BOR approaches to develop their capabilities of recognizing, analyzing and dealing with behavioral issues.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lin Wang
    • 1
  • Jianping Li
    • 1
  • Chao Li
    • 2
  1. 1.Institutes of Science and DevelopmentChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Business SchoolShandong UniversityWeihaiChina

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